Road Dogs Penn State. Michigan Worth Backing in Big Ten Action Thursday

Charles Stark

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 11:19 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 11:19 PM UTC

For Thursday's NCAAB picks we head to the Big Ten for the Penn State-Ohio State and Michigan-Purdue matchups. The visitors are double-digit underdogs, but can they stay within the number?

Thursday College Basketball: Penn State vs. Ohio StateFree NCAAB Pick: Penn State +10.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Penn State has struggled in their last two games, with consecutive losses SU, while Ohio State has been one of the hottest teams in the country. It makes sense for Ohio State to be a big favorite on the NCAAB odds board, but with my NCAA picks I will take Penn State plus the points. Although the Buckeyes have been playing tremendous basketball, statistically speaking Penn State matches up with them very well, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Although OSU is shooting at a nice 48.7 percent clip, ranking 24th in the country, Penn State has been solid, allowing opponents to shoot just 41.3 percent from the floor. As well, where Penn State thrives is shooting from distance at a 37.4-percent clip, and although Ohio State is not terrible in defending from beyond the arc, it is their worst defensive category with opponents shooting 33 percent. I believe this Penn State team is underrated, and although they have lost four of their last six games, they were competitive in each one. Ohio State has been playing great, but look for Penn State to give them a little bit of trouble Thursday night.

Thursday College Basketball: Michigan vs. PurdueFree NCAAB Pick: Michigan +11.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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A couple of weeks ago Michigan gave Purdue all it wanted but lost 70-69. On Thursday night, because Purdue is at home, the Boilermakers opened as solid 11.5-point favorites on the NCAAB odds board. Although I do expect them to win this game -- and they are arguably the best team in the country -- I think Michigan can definitely hang within the number. Michigan is already well road tested, beating a very good Michigan State team away, and I look for them to give Purdue some trouble. Surprisingly they also were very bad losing at Nebraska, but I will give them a pass because that can simply be a difficult place to play at times.

Statistically speaking, both teams have been very solid defensively, with Purdue allowing opponents to shoot just 37.7 percent, and Michigan 43.3 percent. The key will be if Michigan can control the tempo. They like to move the ball and keep teams limited in their attempts, allowing 52.5 per game to rank 14th in the country. With a second shot at Purdue, I like for the Wolverines to go in and play some exceptional basketball. Purdue has been excellent this season but, for my NCAAB picks, Michigan should be able to stay within single digits.

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