Ohio Is Our NCAA Basketball Pick To Continue Winning Streak vs. Ball St.

Willie Bee

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 1:10 PM GMT

The race in the MAC is heating up with just three weeks to go, and we're taking a look at one of the contenders on our Tuesday free NCAA basketball picks slate as Ball State hosts Ohio.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Ohio +3
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

With very few exceptions, conferences all across the college basketball landscape are enjoying great races, and now that the Needs Full Lobotomy champion has been decided, it's high time you started paying attention.

One of the tight races is taking place in the Mid-American Conference where five teams split across the two divisions are within two games of each other. One of the co-leaders in the MAC West will be looking to stay atop the ranks on Tuesday night when the Ball State Cardinals host the Ohio Bobcats in a 7 PM (ET) clash on ESPN3. Ball State is -3 at a few shops such as Bookmaker, -2½ at others like 5Dimes; 140½ is the total that bettors are faced with.

Ball State is joined at the top of the West by Central Michigan, each sporting 6-4 MAC records heading into action tonight. Ohio presently sits fourth in the East with a level 5-5 mark, but can at least play spoiler for the Cardinals which has been something the Bobcats have been doing regularly.

 

'Cats Eye 6th-Straight Win In Rivalry
This has not been a very fun series for Ball State recently, and it wasn't much fun when the Cardinals traveled to Athens a month ago for the first meeting of the regular season. The Cards did enjoy themselves the first 20 minutes when they rallied from an early 5-point deficit to take a 39-33 lead into halftime, and James Whitford's bunch was still duking it out with the Bobcats with the game knotted at 51-all seven minutes into the final stanza.

But it was pretty much all Ohio after that, the Cardinals using a 10-3 stretch to take control on their way to a 79-63 triumph. Antonio Campbell (27 pts, 13 reb) and Jaaron Simmons (21-11) each recorded double-doubles for the Bobcats, though it wasn't enough to cover an 8 point spread on the NCAA basketball odds.

The January 9 win was Ohio's 6th-straight in the series, and gave the Bobcats at 45-33 advantage in the rivalry that started in 1970 and has been contested at least once each year since 1973. The Bobcats have covered three of the last five meetings, and the January contest gave 'over' bettors a 3-game run with winning tickets. Three of the last four games played in Muncie never made it to the totals.

 

'Over' Has Been Biggest Winner In Recent BSU Contests
It was a slow start to the MAC schedule for Saul Phillips and Ohio (14-8 straight up, 11-7 against the spread), the Bobcats losing three of their first four conference affairs and failing to cover any of those games. They have since won four of six, beating the spread in each victory, and are coming off one of those dubyas this past Saturday with an impressive 80-69 decision vs. Northern Illinois to avenge an earlier loss at the Huskies by the same score.

Trouble is, the Bobcats have not shown much on the road so far, dropping three of four on the MAC highway and failing to cover any of the defeats. Campbell leads Ohio in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg) while Simmons is second in scoring (14.4 ppg) and dishing eight assists per game.

Ball State (15-8 SU, 7-10 ATS) has proven to be a bit vulnerable at home lately, dropping two of its last three in Worthen Arena. Three Cardinals are scoring in double-digits, led by senior guard Ryan Weber (11.5 ppg), and the best way to play Ball State games in recent weeks is taking the 'over' (5-0-1 last 6).

That home vulnerability and Ohio's win streak in this series makes my free NCAA basketball pick an easy one; take the points and the visitors.

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