Big Ten Thursday Night College Basketball Picks

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Big Ten Thursday Night College Basketball Picks

Thursday night in the Big Ten offers two college basketball matchups with plenty of betting value. The fourth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes play host to an Indiana team looking to gain a quality win for their NCAA tournament resume. But first, Rutgers travels to Penn State with hopes of avoiding a bad loss on its resume while preventing the Nittany Lions from picking up their first conference win. (All odds are courtesy of Bovada unless otherwise noted).

7:00 p.m. ET – Rutgers (-2½) at Penn State O/U: 145½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Rutgers -2½ (-115) -157 O 145½ (-115)
Penn State +2½ (-105) +137 U 145½
-105

Penn State (3-6 overall but still winless at 0-5 in the conference) welcomes 7-5 (3-5 in Big Ten) Rutgers to Happy Valley in what should be a close game. Penn State is making up games previously postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the program. Therefore, this will be its third game in five nights. The Nittany Lions lost 79-65 to No. 22 Illinois on Tuesday night when they were outmatched from the opening tip.

Rutgers has its own issues, having lost four straight games, most recently dropping a close 60-54 loss at home to No. 10 Wisconsin. The Scarlet Knights were thought to be a NCAA tournament lock back in December before their current slide took hold. Now they desperately need this win to keep those hopes alive. Ron Harper Jr., the son of former NBA standout Ron Harper, has been phenomenal this season, averaging 18.6 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds.

Coach Steve Pikell has taken the right steps to turn the Rutgers program around, and despite the Scarlett Knights’ recent struggles, Penn State does not appear to pose much of a threat to derail their NCAA Tournament hopes. The Scarlet Knights are the more talented team and the better-coached basketball team. With six days off in between their last game and this one, they also are the significantly more rested team. Rutgers will take a positive step toward proving it can be the team it was in December with a blowout win over inferior Penn State.

The Bets
Rutgers -2½
-115

9:00 p.m. ET – Indiana at No.4 Iowa (-9½) O/U: 151½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Indiana +9½ (-110) +395 O 151½ (+105)
Iowa -9½ (-110) -500 U 151½ (-125)

The 12-2 Hawkeyes welcome the 8-6 Hoosiers into Iowa City, where Iowa is 9-0 this season. Iowa has won three in a row, each by more than 15 points. Indiana is looking to bounce back from a tough 81-69 loss to in-state rival Purdue. The Hawkeyes are led by the Big Ten’s preseason Player of the Year choice in  Luka Garza. So far Garza is living up to the preseason hype while averaging 26.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Indiana has a talented big man of its own in Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is averaging 21.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. The Over/Under total has gone Over in 10 of Iowa’s 14 contests. The main reason for that is that the Hawkeyes make every team they play run up and down the floor with them, whether their opponents want to or not.

In turn, that points to why the Hawkeyes are also 10-4 against the spread this season. Iowa scores enough points every night to where a 10.5-point spread is not that difficult to cover. Iowa has shown the public how to make money off of them this season, and there is no reason to overthink it. Parlay Iowa and the Over, as in seven of the 10 games Iowa has covered this season, the game has also gone Over.

The Bets
Parlay Iowa -9½
-110
OVER 151½
+105
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.