Despite there being very few games on the schedule, the college basketball slate is packed with action today. Premier teams like Duke, Michigan, Ohio State, Kentucky, Auburn, Maryland, Michigan State, and Penn State will all play today. For our daily betting pick, we will focus on the game between Ohio State and Michigan in a Big 10 battle.
- Ohio State Buckeyes (14-7) at Michigan Wolverines (13-8)
- Crisler Center, Ann Arbor
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN 2
The Michigan Wolverines will look to keep up their recent momentum, that saw them win two straight Big 10 games, tonight when they host their archrivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Wolverines have struggled in Big 10 play as they started out just 2-6, but after winning two straight games, they look poised to get things turned around in league play.
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) February 4, 2020
For Ohio State, the Buckeyes have had similar struggles in league play as they too started out the season 2-6 in league play before winning their last two conference games. The full body of work for Ohio State is a strong one, but they need to find a way to win tough games on the road in the Big 10 like this one if they want to finish the season with a winning record in the best conference in the country. The Buckeyes are 1-5 on the road in the Big 10 this season.
When the Michigan Wolverines won the Battle 4 Atlantics tournament earlier this year, they looked like they just might be the best team in the country. They left the Bahamas ranked at number four in the AP Poll, and they looked like a Final Four caliber team. But that non-conference success has not translated into much success in the Big 10 for Big Blue.
But when you look back at who they have played, it isn’t hard at all to understand why they have struggled. Losses to Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Iowa all came on the road, and all of those teams are locks to be playing meaningful games in March.
They do have home wins against Iowa, Purdue, and Nebraska, and picked up a huge neutral floor win over Rutgers at MSG in their last game. Looking forward on the schedule, the Wolverines have a brutal schedule still left to play. They must find a way to continue defending their home floor against quality opposition if they want to punch their dance card to the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday.
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes season has been basically a carbon copy of Michigan’s this year. They shot to the top pf all of the national rankings early in the season with wins over Cincinnati, North Carolina, Villanova, and Kentucky. But the Big 10 has humbled this Ohio State team, as the losses are really starting to pile up.
Ohio State only has three wins in league play, and two of those came against Northwestern and Nebraska, the only two “bad” team in the Big 10 this year. They did manage to knock off Indiana in their last game, at home, and they are hoping to build on that momentum tonight in this one.
Who Do I Like?
I have gone to the Big 10 home team well so many times this season, I am almost bored with it. It’s not that I ever really get all that bored of collecting free money, but when you have a bet that wins over 90% of the time, it kind of takes the excitement out of the bet. I am certainly not an action junkie, but at this point, betting on home teams in the Big 10 is like going to the ATM. Yeah, it’s great to get cash at the end, but it isn’t all that entertaining!
This line opened up at Michigan -3-points, and I felt that was a fairly sharp number. I liked the home team, but this game rates out as being a very competitive one, and I didn’t want to lay many points, so I was likely going to make a small play on Michigan or lay off altogether. But the public came in and saved the day for me, as they have mostly backed the Buckeyes, and that has driven this down to a more manageable number, at Michigan -2-points.
Leave it to the public to provide us with all of the value we need. Last week, I bet home teams in the Big 10 several times, like I have every day of the conference play season so far, and I won every bet. Whether it was Wisconsin over Michigan State or Rutgers over Purdue, the home teams won and covered for me, in all of my bets.
And the one thing that was the same in each of those bets? The public was on the road team, and we got a much better number than we deserved. And once again, the public is backing the road team, and I am going to take advantage of it.
The game will be tightly contested, but Ohio State’s only road win in league play this year came against Northwestern. That doesn’t prove to me that they can go into Ann Arbor and beat a much better than their record might show you Michigan team.
It wouldn’t shock me at all if this Michigan team is turning a corner right now. They looked great in New York City against a very talented Rutgers team, and after this game, they host their other major rival, Michigan State.
If they can win these games back to back, that would be a four-game winning streak with three big wins. That would be enough to get them right back into the national conversation as a team that could be a threat in March Madness. Those are mighty big what ifs, but I think this Wolverines team is about to surprise a bunch of people. Give me the Michigan Wolverines -2-points tonight at home in a close one!