Ohio State vs. Minnesota NCAA Basketball Odds, Preview and Prediction

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E.J. Liddell #32 of the Ohio State Buckeyes dunks against Penn State. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images/AFP

It’s Thursday and the No. 16 Ohio State is on possible upset alert tonight when the Buckeyes visit Minnesota in Big Ten action.

Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks? Let’s take a look!

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers 

Thursday, January 27, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Williams Arena 

ESPN has this Big Ten telecast between the No. 16 Buckeyes and unranked Gophers from Minneapolis, which is always a tough place to win – in part perhaps because of that weird raised floor at Williams Arena. The teams will play again on February 15 in Columbus. 

Last season, they split with Minnesota winning 77-60 at home in the regular season and Ohio State prevailing 79-75 in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 88-60. When OSU is ranked in the series and Minnesota isn’t, the Buckeyes are 31-6.  

The teams have split the past 10 meetings against the spread at betting online sites

Buckeyes’ Liddell May Be Big Ten’s Best 

Ohio State (12-4, 5-2 Big Ten) hasn’t played a Big Ten game since beating Penn State 61-56 in Columbus on January 16 and hasn’t played overall since an 83-37 home destruction of IUPUI on January 18. The Buckeyes allowed their fewest points since giving up 35 to Marquette on November 16, 2013, and tied for the fewest for any Chris Holtmann coached team.

OSU was to host Nebraska on Saturday but that was postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Huskers. The Buckeyes are 9-0 at home this season, the only team in the Big Ten without a home defeat.  

Junior forward E.J. Liddell is a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, as he’s averaging 19.4 points (fourth in the conference) on 51.2 percent shooting and 7.3 rebounds. The last Ohio State player to average 20 points per game was Evan Turner during his National Player of the Year season in 2009-10. 

Liddell has scored at least 10 points in 27 straight games dating to last season and is 12 points from 1,000 career points, which would make him the 60th Buckeye to reach that number. The only other Buckeye averaging double-digit points is freshman Malaki Branham at 10.0 ppg. 

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Holtmann hasn’t had his full potential roster this season. Forward Seth Towns has yet to play due to a back injury and isn’t close. Fellow forward Justice Sueing played in two early-season games and averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds but not since, and he’s not close to a return due to an abdominal issue.  

Guards Meechie Johnson and Jamari Wheeler are both game-time decisions Thursday. Wheeler, who has started all 16 games at point guard in his first season with OSU after transferring from Penn State, is averaging 7.1 points and a team-high 3.8 assists in 29.8 minutes per night – the minutes second only Liddell.

Wheeler has yet to miss a game in his entire NCAA career, spanning 143 games. Johnson, a freshman, is averaging 6.6 points off the bench. He will have to wear a protective mask if he does play. 

The Buckeyes have played three games this season that have been decided by a shot in the final seconds. They beat Akron and Seton Hall but lost to Florida. To win the Big Ten, Ohio State is +600 on the NCAAB odds.  

Gophers Might Be Short-Handed Again 

Minnesota (11-5, 2-5 Big Ten) isn’t winning the Big Ten as it’s a +30000 long shot, but the team is much improved under first-year coach Ben Johnson, who brought in a ton of transfers. I doubt that UM gets an NCAA Tournament bid, though. Maybe NIT.  

The Gophers snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday with a 68-65 home win over Rutgers. Payton Willis, a transfer from the College of Charleston, scored a career-high 32 points and tied a school record with eight made three-pointers. Luke Loewe recorded a season-high 19 points for the Gophers. True freshman Treyton Thompson made his first start and had career highs of 10 points and six rebounds. 

Willis, who was named the Co-Big Ten Player of the Week, was the clear No. 1 option because Minnesota was without starters Jamison Battle, E.J. Stephens, and Eric Curry. They were out "due to either illness, COVID-19 health and safety protocols or injury", according to the school.  

Battle leads the team in scoring (18.0 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.3 rpg). Stephens is third in scoring (12.0 ppg), and Curry is fourth in scoring (8.7) and first in rebounding (6.8 rpg).

It was Curry’s second game in a row missed due to an ankle injury so we can presume the other two have illness issues. It sounds as if Battle and Curry will be game-time calls, but that Stephens has a good chance of playing Thursday. 

The Pick

Minnesota is 8-0 this season and 18-3 over the past two when holding opponents to less than 70 points and it is 10-1 when making more three-pointers than their opponents this year. 

Simulations I have run have OSU winning slightly so we’ll take the points for our NCAAB pick and hope those Minnesota guys are back. The Buckeyes are 1-4 ATS away from home. 

NCAAB Pick: Minnesota +6.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit BetOnline Review)

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