College Basketball Best Bets: Will No. 13 Ohio State Prolong Indiana’s Struggles?

Written By Eli Hershkovich on January 6, 2022
College Basketball Best Bets

Despite the norm, Thursday’s college basketball schedule is filled with intriguing matchups. Here’s a breakdown of my college basketball best bets for a Big Ten battle between No. 13 Ohio State and Indiana.

Click on the odds below to place a bet now. You can continue the discussion in our Discord betting community, as we dissect all of the games throughout the week.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Indiana Hoosiers

Chris Holtmann’s squad has delivered five consecutive outright wins, including a home victory over Duke on Nov. 22. The Buckeyes are now as low as +1000 to win the title while positioned at No. 12 in my college basketball power rankings.

On the flip side, the Hoosiers haven’t lived up to the hype that went along with hiring Mike Woodson to coach his alma mater. Indiana most recently lost as a five-point favorite at Penn State, which was coming off a three-week COVID layoff, dipping to No. 35 in my ratings as a result.

But we’ve reached a prime sell-high spot with Ohio State, as Woodson’s bunch will be motivated in a packed Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers boast a pair of key matchup advantages — highlighted by their size edge.

How Indiana’s Bigs Can Excel

Indiana possesses a top-30 defensive rebounding rate and holds its own at the other end. Considering Holtmann’s group is about average in each category, the Hoosiers should have an opportunity to dictate the tempo. Indiana plays at a much quicker pace than Ohio State, which the Buckeyes have struggled matching up against this season.

Moreover, OSU forward Kyle Young (non-COVID illness) is listed as questionable after missing Sunday’s overtime win at Nebraska. Young’s absence would leave Holtmann without his top defensive rebounder.

Offensively, Indiana is tallying the 40th-highest near-proximity field goal percentage (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins via Haslametrics) — a byproduct of forwards Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and its transition attack. That will likely continue against an Ohio State team that’s displayed concerns with its interior defense, surrendering an above-average near-proximity field goal attempt rate.

Nevertheless, the Hoosiers’ pack-line defense could be an issue versus an offense that plays through Wooden Award candidate E.J. Liddell () and its long-range shooters. Expect Indiana’s strengths to win out, though.

As long as you’re backing the Hoosiers as close to a pick’em as possible, there’s value in the home team to rebound from its latest loss.

Eli’s Bet: Indiana -2 (placed on Thursday morning at FanDuel Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Indiana -2.5 or better
Best Available Line: Indiana

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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