Smart Money NCAA College Basketball Picks For 1/27/2021
Another Wednesday in college hoops! Plenty of matchups to work with today but somehow, we always seem to find our way to the Big Ten. The first game I’m looking at is the matchup between Penn State and Ohio State.
Ohio State hosts Penn State in Columbus tonight, where they’re favored by a lofty 7.5 points. The Buckeyes are ranked 13th in the nation coming into tonight, sitting at 12-4, and Penn State currently sits at just 5-6.
While we’ve gotten a significantly larger sample size of Ohio State, it’s fairly clear to me what both of these teams are. Penn State, while scrappy, isn’t a serious Big Ten threat despite coming off back-to-back wins against Rutgers and Northwestern. Ohio State is firmly in the mix. While they’ve dropped a few in conference matchups, they have some key wins to be proud of as well.
Ohio State Against the Spread
In the 16 games we’ve seen from OSU this year, they’ve proven to be a reliable team against the spread. If you’ve followed my picks all season you know that I’ve gone against them a time or two. But gambling is about having a short memory and knowing when to pick your spots.
The Buckeyes are 10-6 against the spread overall this season, and 7-3 against Big Ten opponents. They are coming in hot ATS into this one, covering in four out of their last five, which includes a big upset win over Wisconsin on the road in their last matchup.
Penn State Against the Spread
Penn State has been less impressive ATS this season, sitting at just 5-6 through 11 games and 3-4 in conference play. They are getting a decent chunk of points here. But I’m not sure a 7.5-point cushion is enough for them to hang on the road (yes, it still matters).
I think this game comes down to the team that has the most glaring weakness, and that is on the defensive side of the ball for the Nittany Lions. They may not be playing the most impressive offensive team in the country tonight, but they tend to make mediocre offenses look great. They’re one of the worst defensive teams in the nation, allowing 76.2 PPG to opponents. I’m expecting Ohio State to exploit that defense tonight and take care of business on their home floor.
Sometimes you look at lines, and you think they are too easy. You assume it’s a trap or there’s something that you aren’t aware of, like a big injury. It can certainly come back to bite you since Vegas always knows. But it can also be rewarding, and that’s what I’m hoping for tonight.
Clemson has lost their last three games by an average score of 24 points (35 points, 18 points, 19 points). Sure, they were on a little four-game heater before hitting this skid, but clearly, something is off with them since coming off their COVID pause on January 16th. I also understand that these losses came at the hands of some solid teams like Virginia and Florida State. It would be one thing if they were competitive in those losses, but clearly, that wasn’t the case.
Tonight, they host Louisville, who is surely not the favorite to cut down the nets this March, but they are a very solid team sitting at 10-3. They have a few decent wins in their pocket. And I consider one of their three losses (against Wisconsin in December) moot since their whole team was out with COVID.
Clemson's Response to Their COVID Break
In this weird and wonky sports year, I’m finding that a lot of the time it’s coming down to the eye test. Everyone and every team respond to COVID or breaks from COVID differently. And we have a strong understanding of how Clemson has responded in their past few games.
They also thought they were playing a pushover Boston College team up until Monday when that game was postponed, and Louisville replaced them on the schedule. I told you, weird times.
Until Clemson can break out of this slump, I’ll be betting against them. And tonight, we get some points! I’m on the Cards tonight with the points and will be sprinkling some funds on the moneyline as well.