The hallowed start of the March Madness betting season won’t roll around until March 14th, but that only means that there’s more time for players to familiarize themselves with all the sportsbook favorites in order to fill out the winning bracket. There are plenty of top teams taking to the court this Thursday, and one particular matchup that looks promising is the pairing between the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Thursday night, the Buckeyes will be playing host to the Badgers at the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. This contest will mark the second and final time these two Big Ten rivals face each other during the regular season, with the Badgers emerging triumphant in the first game 89-66. Furthermore, since the Buckeyes rank near the bottom of the conference, sportsbook fans can expect the bookies to boldly come out in favor of the nationally-ranked school. Let’s take a look.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL BETTING ODDS – REGULAR SEASON – February 23rd
Wisconsin Badgers -5 (-110) 131 (-110) -220
Ohio State Buckeyes +5 (-110) 131 (-110) +180
As expected, the Badgers have indeed been painted as the favorites Thursday night. Wisconsin enters this contest with an 11-3 record that puts the Badgers just a half-game short of conference-leaders No. 14 Purdue. Wisconsin is coming off a season that saw them post a winning 22-13 record, but lose longtime head Coach Bo Ryan. Greg Gard was able to step in as interim after Ryan led the Badgers through 12-games. Gard did an excellent job of leading the program last season and has continued his success in his second year. Wisconsin advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in last year’s college basketball betting tournament and Gard will be looking for a deeper push in this year’s tournament.
The sportsbook favorites will be led in Thursday night’s contest against the Buckeyes by Ethan Happ, who is averaging 14.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Wisconsin’s second-leading point scorer is Nigel Hayes who is putting up 13.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Third on the team with points is Bronson Koenig who is draining 13.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.
The Buckeyes enter this matchup with a less-than-stellar 15-13 record that includes a 5-10 record in Big Ten play. Ohio State has posted 20-wins season for the last several years now and head coach Thad Matta will be looking for a similar result in his 12th season as the Buckeyes head coach.
The college basketball betting underdogs will turn to leading-scorer Jae’Sean Tate to lead them in Thursday night’s matchup. Tate is currently averaging 14.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Second in points for the Buckeyes is Marc Loving who is currently serenading his way to 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per outing. Ohio State’s third-leading point scorer is JaQuan Lyle who is currently netting the team 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per contest.