NCAAB Pick: Purdue -12.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)
The best sportsbooks have released their betting odds for today’s college basketball action, and three games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in:
- Ohio State vs. Purdue
- North Carolina vs. NC State
- Iowa vs. Northwestern
For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for the first game, the total for the second, and the moneyline for the third.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Sunday, February 19, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at Mackey Arena
Ohio State's Slump
Every year, Ohio State shows promise in the early part of the season before experiencing a slump during Big Ten play. The Buckeyes are experiencing an extreme slump right now: they are suffering 0-7 SU and ATS runs.
They could have easily lost their second straight game by over 20 points, but their last opponent, Iowa, took the foot off the pedal with a 28-point lead three-quarters into the second half.
Purdue at Home
Ohio State runs into a Purdue team that will be extra focused after losing two straight games. Purdue's rut is confined to its road games – away from home, the Boilermakers have lost three in a row.
But Purdue is regularly dominant at home, where almost all of its wins have come by double digits.
While the Boilermakers are not invincible at home, the two road teams that really gave them trouble featured highly-ranked defenses – Rutgers has the Big Ten's most efficient defense while Maryland has the fourth, which is relevant to note because Ohio State does not have such a defense, ranking 11th in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency after getting blown out by Iowa.
The Scarlet Knights are unusually physical while Maryland was actually down big but employed a 2-3 zone and had its prayers of a bad shooting performance from Purdue answered.
Ohio State's porous defense is not redeemed by any meaningful extent of size or physicality.
Ohio State's Vulnerable Defense
Specifically in its home games, Purdue has been extremely efficient from behind the arc. This productivity will continue against a Buckeyes defense that is easy to generate open looks from deep against.
Michigan State, for example, struggled to score many points against Ohio State merely because almost all of its players shot the ball poorly from deep.
But Joey Hauser was on point. Spartans ball handlers induced Ohio State's defense to collapse inside before kicking it out to a wide-open Hauser, who made six threes for Michigan State.
Ohio State's inability to recover back to the three-point line is reflective of the uniquely high rate of three-point attempts that it allows.
The Spartans won that game by 21 because it held Ohio State to 41 points, showing just how inefficient the Buckeye offense can be.
Purdue is particularly difficult to score upon with its monstrous seven-footer Zach Edey patrolling the basket and using his high-level rim protection to encourage his teammates to become more aggressive in guarding the three-point line.
The Buckeyes are anyhow allergic to attempting three-pointers, which is problematic given Edey's presence inside.
NCAAB Pick: Purdue -12.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack
Sunday, February 19, 2023 - 01:00 PM EST at PNC Arena
North Carolina's Ball-Screen Defense
North Carolina's struggle against ball-screen attacks has been costly in key moments, such as those achieved by Virginia's Reece Beekman and Duke's Jeremy Roach in late-game situations.
The Tar Heels have also struggled in general against ball screens, which is largely why high-usage point guard Tyree Appleby scored 35 points against them for Wake Forest in its high-scoring win, and, most recently, Miami point guard Nijel Pack scored 23 points as part of Miami's 80-point output against North Carolina.
The Wolfpack, too, have a high-usage guard around whose success around much of the team's offensive outlook revolves. Terquavion Smith is prolific as a shot-creator for himself and as a distributor for his teammates.
NC State runs just the offense – a spread ball-screen offense – with which to hurt North Carolina's defense, and Smith is the star of this show.
North Carolina's Star Power on Offense
But key Tar Heels scorers will also thrive. NC State is vulnerable to quick guards – for example, Virginia's Beekman and Syracuse guard Judah Mintz are known for their quickness off the bounce.
North Carolina guard RJ Davis is also extremely quick and will use his quickness to have another great game against the Wolfpack.
Tar Heels center Armando Bacot is also particularly dangerous today. One of the ACC's most skilled centers, he has the finesse and polish in the low post to score a lot against NC State center DJ Burns, a much bigger but also slower-footed center who lacks the footwork to keep up with Bacot.
NCAAB Pick: Over 151.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Sunday, February 19, 2023 - 06:30 PM EST at Welsh-Ryan Arena
With both teams' respective head coaches in place, Iowa dominates its recent series history against the Wildcats.
Most recently, Iowa is 4-0 against Northwestern, with an average margin of victory exceeding 20 points.
Hawkeye Perimeter Defense
Iowa is one of the best teams in the nation at limiting opposing three-point attempts. Hawkeyes defenders will guard their opponents well behind the three-point line.
They will recover hard to the perimeter even to a fault, perhaps giving into a simple pump fake. As a result, they are likeliest to give up points inside.
Fittingly, Iowa's losses tend to come to teams that are not bothered by the attentiveness of Iowa's perimeter defense.
Whereas the teams that beat Iowa tend to attempt a low rate of threes, Northwestern attempts one of the highest rates of threes in the nation.
The Wildcats' offense will be uncomfortable given the three-point-stopping focus of Iowa's defense.
It is impossible to dislike Iowa when we like the Hawkeyes' defense. Iowa has the nation's third-most efficient offense thanks to the good looks generated by its ball movement, which will be creative and fluid enough to overcome Northwestern's frequently aggressive defense.
Northwestern struggles against efficient frontcourts, as evident in its earlier 86-70 loss in Iowa.
Not only does Iowa have an efficient frontcourt, but it has one that is much better about taking care of the ball than Purdue center Zach Edey is.
NCAAB Pick: Iowa ML (-130) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)
For your best betting picks, expect Purdue to prolong Ohio State's misery, North Carolina and NC State to rely on their top scorers, and Iowa to use perimeter defense and ball movement to defeat Northwestern.
And if you're planning in placing your wagers from the state of Indiana, don't forget to check out our guide on the best Indiana betting sites!
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.