Free Picks: Ohio looks to make a Splash against Virginia

Josh Saslove
Josh Saslove
College Basketball Free Picks
Free Picks: Ohio looks to make a Splash against Virginia
Virginia Cavaliers vs Ohio Bobcats, NCAAB, Assembly Hall

The Virginia Cavaliers have been going through a nightmare over the past week. A positive Covid-19 test knocked them out of the ACC Tournament, and now they’ll be entering the NCAA Tournament without having a proper practice/game in over 8 days. They will immediately face a tough test from a trigger-happy Ohio squad who can fill it up in a hurry.

The Bobcats are on the Prowl

Virginia’s defense is typically their strength, but they have struggled defensively (by Virginia standards) this year. While they own the interior, the Cavs struggle to defend the three, allowing their opponents to shoot 34% from the perimeter. They barely cause any turnovers, and while this has not hurt them tons this year, it still offers some concern. Their decreased defensive efficiency has been replaced by a great offense. However, they could be in a bad spot come Saturday.

The Cavs could be out of rhythm due to their Covid pause. It is hard to return to form after having a layoff like UVA has had. Not to mention UVA was struggling at the end of ACC play, the Cavs lost three in a row, before their recent three-game win streak. They got destroyed by FSU, lost at Duke and lost to NC State at home. This leads to our opening round match-up, where Ohio has become a popular upset pick.

The MAC Champions, Ohio shoots 48.9% from the field and 36.6% from deep. They have won 9 of their last 10 and they spread the ball, with all five starters scoring in double digits. Ball movement helps their offense as they average 17.9 assists per game, 6th in the country. If the Bobcats offense is rolling, it could become difficult for Virginia to keep up with Ohio. One of my free NCAAB picks is Over 61 points for Ohio (-118 Bet22).

Now comes the real question could this Ohio team beat the defending National Champions? The public sure seems to think so, as NCAAB odds had Virginia as 10.5 point favourites for opening lines. Since then, that line has dropped all the way to 7.5 points. Line movement this large usually tells a bigger story, and it’s telling me that Ohio is the play. With that being said, my best bet is Ohio +7.5 . If you are feeling brave take a stab at Ohio ML, but this will be a tight game and I see it going either way.

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  • The Over has cashed in 14 of Virginia’s 24 games this season
  • Virginia is 11-10-1 ATS as favourites this season
  • The Over has cashed in 12 of Ohio’s 23 games this season
  • Ohio is 5-2-0 ATS as underdogs this season

Josh Saslove here, I am a passionate sports fan and have been consumed by sports for as long as I can remember. I have been a sports bettor for the past 4 years, starting out with betting on college basketball parlays. I currently write pieces for BetPicks, but have my own blog space. I am an avid fan of the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Raptors, Kansas City Chiefs and Toronto Blue Jays, so I know what it's like to cheer for the underdog. The 2017 ECF run by the Ottawa Senators and the Raptors 2019 NBA title are probably my fondest memories as a fan, as well of course the Chiefs Super Bowl win in 2020. I am also a big music fan and have been called Mac Miller by strangers on several occasions.