Ohio State's Home Defense Results in Valuable Total Line vs. Illinois

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, February 4, 2018 1:33 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 1:33 PM UTC

There's basketball going on during the Super Bowl Sunday today, and there happens to be good wagering value in this lopsided Big 10 matchup between Illinois and Ohio State.

Sunday College Basketball: Illinois vs. Ohio StateFree NCAAB Pick: Under 145Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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I’ve gone in full fade city mode with my written picks lately, having gone 4-12 ATS over my last 16 games broken down with my sweet prose. Nearly a full season’s worth of profit is gone, but there is a ton of games left to make up the previous balance. For this game I’m going to switch the strategy up a bit, as I’ve found a game with a team that should dominate. But instead of eating the chalk I’m going to focus on the total with my NCAAB picks.

The Illinois Fighting Illini travel to Ohio State today for the first time in three years on , with that game three years ago not ending well for them and this game not looking to end well either. The Illini have been placed as decided 12-point underdogs, which is not surprising given their 1-8 SU record on the road this year. Illinois is also just 2-8 in conference this year with wins over Indiana and Rutgers at home in their last two games. I’m not going to put too much stock into wins over the bottom feeders of the conference though.

Ohio State comes into this game 10-1 SU in conference play, with their one loss against Penn State an absolute fluke. The Nittany Lions hit 11 of 14 3-point attempts in that game, while the Buckeyes went 7-for-15. Ohio State led Penn State in most other statistical categories in the game, just like they have for most of the year in all game. Ohio State has the No. 1 defense according to KenPom in the Big 10, and also the top 2-point percentage. This will be at odds with the Illini's 2-point defense here, which is the worst in the conference.

The Ohio State defense has played its part in 7 of 11 conference games going under their listed total. They also enjoy a 3-10 O/U split on their home court. With the discrepancy in 2-point offense and defense as outline above the game plan for the Buckeyes should be clear – pound the ball inside. Ohio State has one of the slower offensive tempos in the country as well, so deliberate pace should be expected. For their part, Illinois is faster, but also can’t shoot away from their home court in putting up 67.9 points per game. If all of the averages play out the Illini will find themselves having a hard time breaking 60 here.

I believe this total line is based on averages and not taking into account the mismatch for the Illini on the road here. I fully expect the Buckeyes to win this game going away, but based on the college basketball odds will wager on this game going "under" the 145 total.

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