Ohio State Buckeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes NCAAM Pick – February 20, 2020

The North Dakota State Bison made a huge statement last night when they picked up the win at South Dakota, setting themselves up for a shot at the outright Summit League regular-season title. The game was a tight one throughout, but the Bison took care of business and held on for the win. With the win, they keep pace with South Dakota State for first place in the Summit League title.

For South Dakota, the loss all but eliminated them from contention for the Summit League title, and they will now have to find a way to win the Summit League conference tournament if they want to go dancing in March. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 10, where Iowa plays Ohio State.

Today’s Game

  • Ohio State Buckeyes (17-8) at Iowa Hawkeyes (18-8)
  • Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: ESPN

The Iowa Hawkeyes host the Ohio State Buckeyes tonight in a matchup of Big 10 rivals. The Hawkeyes have won eleven out of their last fourteen games, with all three of those losses coming on the road. While the Hawkeyes likely won’t catch Maryland for the Big 10 regular-season title, they are competing for a top seed into the NCAA tournament and have their sites set on a trip to the Final Four.

For Ohio State, the Buckeyes are in a similar position, as a Big 10 title is out of reach, but they are locks to be dancing in March, and they expect to make a deep run in the tournament. The Buckeyes have won five out of their last six games and have road wins in conference play over Michigan and Northwestern. Ohio State needs to win tonight to stay above .500 in league play.

Spread:

  • Ohio State +2.5 (-110)
  • Iowa -2.5 (-110)
Money line:

  • Ohio State +125
  • Iowa -145
Total Points:

  • Over 143.5 (-113)
  • Under 143.5 (-107)

Iowa Hawkeyes

If the Iowa Hawkeyes never had to play outside of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, they just might be the best team in the nation. At home this season, Iowa has been absolutely dominant. They lost a fluky home game early in the season to DePaul, but since then, they are 12-0 at home with wins over the likes of Illinois, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland, and Minnesota. And it’s not just that they are winning at home against quality competition, it is how they are winning.

They beat Nebraska by twenty-four. They beat Maryland by eighteen. They beat Minnesota by twenty. All of their other Big 10 home wins have come by at least five points. This Iowa team is led by one of the nation’s top players, Luka Garza. Garza is a beast in the paint, and if you can’t slow him down, he can torch you.

Garza has scored at least twenty points twenty times already this year, including his last eleven games. He has eclipsed the thirty-point margin five times and dropped forty-four against Michigan earlier this year. And he isn’t just a scoring machine, this kid can grab boards as well, as he averages nearly ten rebounds a game and has thirteen double-doubles this season.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes got off to a slow start in conference play as they lost six out of their first eight league games. But since then, they have won five out of their last six games and are establishing themselves as one of the best teams in the Big 10. Similar to Iowa, the Buckeyes have been elite at home and shaky on the road.

Ohio State is just 2-5 on the road in league play, that includes some bad losses to Minnesota and Indiana, who look to be teams that won’t be getting bids into the NCAA tournament. Winning on the road in the Big 10 has been a tall task for just about every team this season, and Ohio State will need to play their A-game tonight if they want to pull off the upset.

Who Do I Like?

It is hard not to love Iowa at home this season. Particularly in league play, where they are undefeated and have won all of their games fairly easily. And it hasn’t just been outright success at home for the Hawkeyes, they own one of the best ATS home records of any team in the nation at 11-4. And when you look at Ohio State, their road struggles have also resulted in struggles against the number, as they are just 3-5 ATS on the road overall, and 2-5 in the Big 10.

I think Iowa wins this game, and while I would be shocked if it wasn’t at least somewhat competitive, I don’t think we are going to sweat this number all that much. I see Iowa pulling away in the second half, behind a big game from Luka Garza, and winning this one by eight or nine points.

The Bet

This line has somewhat surprisingly stayed put. It opened at Iowa -2.5-points and hasn’t moved in either direction, despite some significant action. The ticket count seems to be on Iowa, and the bigger money is coming in on Ohio State, which would normally tell me that I should follow the money and back the Buckeyes, but the sharps get games wrong too, and I am backing Iowa.

The Buckeyes just haven’t proven to be consistent enough on the road to want to back against a team as talented as Iowa. We already talked about Iowa winning most of their home games by solid margins, and when you look at Ohio State, they have gotten easily handled on the road several times.

They lost at Minnesota by thirteen, at Maryland by twelve, at Indiana by twelve, at Penn State by fourteen, and at Wisconsin by thirteen. Every single road loss in Big 10 play for Ohio State has come by double-digits, and I just don’t think they are going to find a way to keep this one close enough for a cover tonight. Give me the Iowa Hawkeyes -2.5-points tonight at home!

The Bet: Iowa Hawkeyes -2.5

My Pick
Iowa Hawkeyes -2.5
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL