The Northwestern Wildcats hit the road, looking to get back into the win column, as they face the Ohio State Buckeyes. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) and will air on the Big Ten Network.
WHERE TO BET NORTHWESTERN-OHIO STATE
Northwestern-Ohio State Betting Odds
Odds Subject to Change
Ohio State is the home favorite, given an -8-point spread against the reeling Wildcats. The two schools are a combined 11-9-1 on the ATS this season, a near split. Oddsmakers are leaning a bit heavy on the Buckeyes at home, despite dropping the first game against Northwestern this season.
The point total is set at 143.5, which the schools are a combined 11-10 on. Much like the point spread market, the point total market is tough to gauge based on the near split trends.
Betting Analysis – Northwestern Wildcats
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
Northwestern is on a current three-game losing streak after winning six of its first seven games of the season. The Wildcats beat Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State before dropping three straight - two played on the road.
Quite literally the road doesn't get any easier, as Northwestern is now heading to Columbus to face a solid Ohio State team. Can the Wildcats pull off another upset against Ohio State like they did the day after Christmas? It'll be tough, but they can cover the spread.
Despite a three-game losing streak that has seen Northwestern outscored 253-194, the Wildcats still hold the 46th-most efficient offense in the entire nation. The school has four players average a double-digit point total, beginning with Miller Kopp. It was actually Pete Nance who played a large role in the three-game run Northwestern saw last month.
Despite losing to Iowa, Nance saw 21 points in the game, but his rebounding is starting to dwindle. Chase Audige is the name that needs to step up though, averaging the second-most points per game for Northwestern but only scoring nine or fewer points in four of his last six games.
The Wildcats are a great passing team, averaging 18.1 per game which is 17th-best in the country. They also make 9.2 three-pointers per game, which ranks 44th in the nation. If Northwestern can produce on the glass with Nance (and Boo Buie who averages 6.1 per game), while finding the open man for three, then they should cover the spread.
If hypothetically all of the above occurs, and Northwestern gets a productive game from Audige, then the recipe for a SU upset is within reach. Don't be fooled by the three-game losing streak, as Northwestern's offense is still lethal - their top four players are just a bit too inconsistent going up against the best conference's top three teams outside Wisconsin (Iowa, Michigan, Illinois).
Betting Analysis – Ohio State Buckeyes
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
Chris Holtmann is often forgotten as one of the better coaches in college basketball, and the leadership ability for this team is real.
Duane Washington and Justice Sueing are two juniors who average a double-digit point total, while Sueing averages five boards a game. CJ Walker and Kyle Young are two productive seniors that average about eight or more points a game, Young with 6.3 boards and Walker 4.2 dimes.
E.J. Liddell rounds out this club, a sophomore surrounded by experience and productive play. There is a lot to like about this Ohio State team, and might be worth a solid futures bet if they can play with more consistency on the road.
The only three losses for Ohio State have come in conference and on the road. When looking at Big Ten teams to wager on during March, look for the ones that win big games on the road. Not many have done so in the Big Ten outside Maryland and Iowa.
That doesn't really matter in this game with Ohio State playing at home, where they have won six straight this season (seven including win in Cleveland against UCLA). If looking at Ohio State in the futures market though, be patient because there are still some road concerns.
How can they win this game at home? Well, the Buckeyes average the 78th-most rebounds per game in the nation and the 59th-most defensive rebounds per game. They feature three players who average five or more boards per game, so expect a battle on the glass - which should point to the winner of this game. What makes Ohio State lethal when rebounding are their free throw stats.
The Buckeyes make 18.2 free throws per game, which is the 11th-highest in the country. They also attempt the 25th-most free throws (23.9) and hold the 34th-best percentage from the line (76%). If Ohio State wins the battle on the glass, it should lead to the free throws which should lead them to victory at home. Looking through both teams, it seems the winner of this game will be the winner on the glass.
Inside the Stats – Northwestern Wildcats
Inside the Stats – Ohio State Buckeyes
Key Players to Watch
Northwestern-Ohio State Predictions
Northwestern's passing ability and finding the open man for three goes up against Ohio State's free throw shooting. How do both teams utilize their strengths to win? Rebounding. That's what this comes down to, as the conviction lies with Ohio State at home.
Northwestern has lost its last three games by a double-digit total, and only beat Ohio State by one at home earlier this season. Ohio State is playing better ball, and has the edge to win the rebounding game. Eight points is a lot though, so if you want to half bet then that's probably the better play.
The point total is tough to gauge, as Northwestern has failed to score more than 72 points in four straight games. Northwestern shouldn't touch 80, and 75 would be a good game from the Wildcats. Ohio State has gone UNDER the given 143.5 in three of its last four games - so using those two as measuring sticks the UNDER seems to be slightly more justified in taking than the OVER.
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