Yesterday, I was shocked to see that the Utah Utes attracted so much public action. I am always tough on the betting public, and deservedly so, as they do get it wrong almost always. But this one was even worse than normal.
The Utes opened up as one-point underdogs at Cal, and that was a reasonable number. But Joe public decided that they couldn’t get enough of Utah, a team that was 0-8 on the road in Pac-12 play, and hammered the Utes. Before all the dust settled, the line moved two and a half points and closed out with Utah as -1.5-point road favorites. Did I mention that Cal, while being awful on the road, was 11-5 at home and coming off of a home floor win over a good Colorado team?
WIN IT FOR OUR FAMILY‼️ #OurHaas defended: Bears win & send our seniors off in style!
Final: Cal 86, Utah 79 pic.twitter.com/qbytDXMUia
— Cal Basketball (@CalMBBall) March 1, 2020
I laughed at the public’s collective ignorance and backed the Bears, knowing that I was certainly on the right side and appreciated all of the extra value. And not at all shockingly, the public once again got it wrong, as Cal led throughout and won 86-79.
Cal blew a six-point lead with under a minute left to play in regulation to send it to overtime, which made us sweat a little bit, but the Bears dominated the extra period, leading by as many as ten points, and we cashed yet another ticket.
In a game that didn’t really matter in terms of March Madness or postseason play, it mattered to us, as we continue to find value day in and day out betting on college basketball. For today’s daily betting pick, we will stay on the grind for value as we head to Ohio State, where the Buckeyes host the Michigan Wolverines.
- Michigan Wolverines (18-10) at Ohio State Buckeyes (19-9)
- Value City Arena, Columbus
- 1:00 PM PST
- TV: CBS
The Ohio State Buckeyes are looking to keep up their late-season surge today, as they host their bitter rivals, the Wolverines of Michigan in Big 10 action. The Buckeyes have had an up and down season, but they have things moving in the right direction as we head into March, as they have won seven out of their last nine games. That includes signature wins over Maryland, Rutgers, and Michigan.
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) March 1, 2020
For Michigan, the Wolverines are also hitting their stride in the second half of the season as they have too won seven out of their last nine games. After starting league play by losing six out of their first eight games, the Wolverines have climbed out of the hole and now have a winning record in the Big 10, at 9-8. Surprisingly enough, the Wolverines last four losses have all come at home, and they have won four straight road games.
Earlier this season, it looked like the Michigan Wolverines just might be the best team in the country. They started the season out by winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, picking up wins over North Carolina and Gonzaga along the way, and rocketed into the top five nationally. But then they completely fell apart, as they lost eight out of twelve games to come crashing back to earth.
But the Wolverines have turned things right back around here in the second half of conference play, and once again they are ranked nationally, currently coming in at eighteenth in the latest AP Poll, and are playing good basketball as Selection Sunday approaches. But when you take a closer look at who the Wolverines have played, and who they have beaten, there are some red flags.
During this recent winning streak, Big Blue has wins over Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue (twice), Rutgers (twice), and Nebraska. Of those teams, only Rutgers currently projects as a tournament team, and none of those teams are in the top half of the Big 10 standings. The only team that Michigan has beaten in league play during this stretch that has a winning record in the Big 10, is Michigan State.
Ohio State Buckeyes
While it is somewhat easy to poke holes in the Wolverines resume, Ohio State has some rock-solid wins this year. They beat Kentucky, Cincinnati, Villanova, North Carolina, Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland. And while the Buckeyes aren’t going to win the Big 10 regular-season title, I could see them getting a very nice seed in the NCAA tournament, especially if they can win out in the regular season, with games still left on the schedule against Illinois and Michigan State.
The Buckeyes use a stingy defense, a very efficient offense, and a slow pace, to grind teams down and beat them. Ohio State is led by national player of the year candidate Kaleb Wesson, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and is a threat for a double-double every night. When these two teams matched up in Ann Arbor a couple of weeks ago, Wesson went for twenty-three points and twelve rebounds, in the Buckeyes win.
Who Do I Like?
Backing home teams in the Big 10 has been my favorite honey hole play this year. And while the trend of home teams winning and covering at an absurd pace has slowed down some in recent weeks, you don’t want to find yourself on the side of a road team with a big number to cover in the Big 10. It has been a home team dominated league all season long, and I expect that trend to continue tonight.
When these two teams matched up at Michigan in early February, the Buckeyes went into Ann Arbor and stole a victory. They trailed in the game with less than thirty seconds left on the clock and took advantage of some late Michigan mishaps to win on the road. I think they finish off the season sweep of the Wolverines tonight at home.
Normally books are pretty consistent with their betting lines. If one book has a number at let’s say, two points, it is very rare to see any other major book have a number more than a point different in either direction. But this game is attracting some strange to track action. The opening line was Ohio State -2.5-points, and several books are still offering that price. But I see several threes and a couple of three and a halfs, and now I am even seeing some fours out there.
It seems that this game, and how people think it will play out, is a bit all over the place. So, make sure you shop around to find the best number and extract the most value before making your play. The one common factor in most of these line moves seems to be that it is moving towards Ohio State, so if you like the home team, and you should, I would lock it in now and two and a half, as it likely won’t drop from there. Give me the Ohio State Buckeyes laying -2.5-points tonight at home!