Wagner at St. Francis (-3)
St. Francis Brooklyn opened at -1, but this spread ballooned to -3, and no one wants to get caught chasing. Instead, let us focus on the Over/Under total of 139.
Wagner is 2-5 on the season and coming off a 76-74 win versus LIU after losing to them by 11 the game prior. Wagner has played three back-to-back sets, going 1-2 SU in the first set. Wagner lost by 14 to Bryant and 11 to LIU. Wagner did beat Sacred Heart 74-46 but lost 86-85 in OT the next night. St. Francis Brooklyn has played three sets as well, going 2-1 SU in the first game with wins over Central Connecticut (91-86) and Mount St. Mary's (70-55).
The loss was to Bryant in the season-opener (101-82), which I can overlook being the first game of the year and Bryant being 10-3 up until two weeks ago. St. Francis Brooklyn also beat Bryant the next night 93-91. St. Francis Brooklyn is coming off a 102-88 loss to LIU, and the main discrepancy I see between Wagner and St. Francis Brooklyn is scoring, but recently, that could change.
Wagner has only topped 70 points three-of-seven games this season, but all three have come in the last four games. In those four games, Wagner has averaged 75.2 points per game and 72.7 in regulation, with one game going to OT. In the last three games, Wagner has allowed 75.3 points per game in regulation, 74 or more in all three. The Over is 4-1 in the last five games overall for Wagner.
St. Francis Brooklyn scored 80 points in four-of-eight games and has increased scoring during the current six-game homestand, with this being the fifth contest. They are 2-2 SU scoring 64, 70, 67 and 88 points in that order the last four games - 72.2 points per game average.
St. Francis Brooklyn has won two of the last three home games versus Wagner, losing last season in OT (75-71). St. Francis Brooklyn has won three of the previous four meetings (OT loss) and four of the last six. Wagner led at half the previous season 37-31 before St. Francis Brooklyn sent it into OT, storming back in the second half. If we see a quick start similar to the last meeting, the Over will look promising.
Wagner's offense appears to be more than capable of scoring 70 points lately. The defense allows opponents to score at 16.1 seconds per possession, the 16th quickest mark in the country - St. Francis is right behind ranked 17th.
Wagner has posted atrocious offensive numbers on the season but has shot at least 46% from the field in six straight games and attempted 19 or more three-pointers in every game this season. St. Francis Brooklyn allows opponents to make 42.5% of their triples, 346th in the nation.
Wagner's offense has caught strides recently, and while I lean St. Francis Brooklyn to win based on recent history, take the Over as both teams have shown the ability to score and disregard to play defense.
Game Pick: Over 138.5 (1.5u)
Ohio State at Iowa (-5.5)
Iowa and Ohio State will be pound-for-pound, the most entertaining game of the slate and the most sought-after for betting. Iowa survived a scare from Michigan State (84-78) in the last outing, and Ohio State had the same, then finished handily beating Sparty 79-62. The Spartans tied its season-high with 12 made 3-pointers, making the first six attempts, and if Ohio State wants to win, they will need a similar recipe.
Ohio State's Head Coach Chris Holtmann is 3-3 versus Iowa but will have his hands full here. The Hawkeyes have won nine straight home games against AP ranked opponents. That is the longest such streak in program history. Iowa has also won 23 of its last 25 games inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, dating back to last season, including the 85-76 win over Ohio State.
Iowa, who has led the Big Ten in scoring each of the last two seasons, ranks second in the country, averaging 89.4 points per game. They hoped to receive more of a boost from Guard CJ Fredrick. He returned to the lineup after missing time the last two games with a lower leg injury. He only played 12 minutes, so it is unclear how much he will play, but any minutes are positive minutes from him.
The all-time series between Iowa and Ohio State is even, 81-81. The two teams have split the last 10 meetings, dating back to 2014 -- evenly matched. However, the home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four games and the favorite is 6-0 ATS, both point to Iowa.
Ohio State has won three straight contests and six of its last seven this season, while Iowa won five straight before going 1-2 in the last three. Ohio State is 9-1 at home but 4-3 in games away from Columbus, including a 3-3 record in Big Ten road games. The Buckeyes are 2-2 in games decided by five points or fewer, and Iowa is 2-0 at home in single-digit games. If this one comes down to the wire, I am backing the Hawkeyes.
There was some major value in live betting Iowa versus Michigan State as the Spartans came out on fire. Iowa's live spread was down to -2.5 at one point, and to lead at the half got as juicy as +250, which they did come back and cover our -4.5 bet, hitting two free-throws in the final moments to lead 48-43. I will wait until Ohio State grabs a lead and back Iowa to win the game. Ideal odds to live bet are +100 to -120 range, but waiting closer to halftime before making a decision is wise.
Both teams have shown the ability to pull away, and Ohio State has been riding high, but this is more than likely where the winning streak ends. The spread seems more like a trap as Ohio State is more than capable of a backdoor cover versus Iowa's subpar defense.
As far as the Over/Under of 156.5, Ohio State has been far better defensively the last eight games than the first 10. Both teams rank top four in the country in offensive adjusted efficiency and could put up points on each other.
This number seems slightly inflated and while it is more than possible, I don't see much value in the Over. Stepping in front of Iowa and taking an Under takes a good-looking into the mirror, but with Ohio State limiting three of their last four opponents to 65 points or less, I lean the Under.
If the game starts out slow, you could more than likely grab 150 early or wait until closer to half-time and see what the game flow is if you like the Over but there might not be a better value than the current value of 156.5 for Under bettors. Iowa with a lead can be a bettors dream for the Over and both squads shoot free-throws well with Ohio State ranked 28th in the country as a team (76.7%).
The final two minutes of this game could make the Over/Under a close call if both teams are hitting free-throws and fouling to extend the game. I have more comfort in enjoying the first 10-20 minutes of the game and making a decision live with better odds/lines.
I love this spot for Iowa to get hot and start stringing wins together after the battle with Michigan State, but I need to see how Iowa comes out defensively versus Ohio State before taking the -5.5. I would take Iowa at -3 live if the Moneyline value never appears with any true value if picking sides. All bets for this game would be 1u or less.
Game Pick: Live Bet Iowa ML or Iowa -3
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