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Ohio State vs Villanova South Region Picks: Wildcats Clamp Buckeyes

We know what to expect from the Wildcats at this point and that spells trouble for the Buckeyes after a sloppy W to begin March Madness. We break it down for you in our Ohio State vs. Villanova college basketball betting picks.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2022 9:05 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Ohio State Buckeyes are getting healthy at the right time and it showed in a 54-41 win over the Loyola Chicago Ramblers last game. Now, a spot in the Sweet 16 of March Madness will be on the line when Chris Holtmann’s team takes on a Villanova Wildcats program that is always a legitimate championship contender. 

Will the Wildcats end up holding off a feisty Buckeyes team? Continue reading our Ohio State vs. Villanova March Madness picks and predictions to find out.

Ohio State vs Villanova odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

After beating Delaware by 20 on Friday, Villanova opened as a 4.5-point favorite against Ohio State. The line has quickly moved to Wildcats -5, and a move to 5.5 seems very possible. Meanwhile, the total opened at 131 and is already up to 131.5 or 132.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Ohio State vs Villanova predictions

Predictions made on 3/18/2022 at 11:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Ohio State vs Villanova game info

Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Sunday, March 20, 2022
Tip-off: TBD

Ohio State vs Villanova betting preview


Ohio State: Seth Towns F (Out), Justice Sueing F (Out).
Villanova: Jordan Longino G (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 6-1 in Villanova’s last seven neutral-court games as a favorite. Find more NCAA betting trends for Ohio State vs. Villanova.

Ohio State vs Villanova picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Ohio State looked remarkable on the defensive end in a win over Loyola Chicago, but the team didn’t look great on offense. The Buckeyes shot only 41.9% from the field and 6.7% from three in a game in which they scored only 54 points. The Ramblers deserve a lot of credit for the way they defended in that one, but the Wildcats are also going to show up on the defensive end in this one. Villanova was 28th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency (all efficiency stats from this season, and the team was tied for 41st in the country in opponent field goal percentage during the year. 

If the Buckeyes are having trouble executing in this game, it’s unlikely they’ll find a way to beat the Wildcats. Sure, Ohio State is also going to make Villanova work hard for buckets in this one, but Jay Wright’s team is ninth in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency this season. So, while this might not be an offensive explosion for Villanova, you can count on Collin Gillespie and company to score points when they really need to. 

This is a rotation that is full of veterans, with Justin Moore and Jermaine Samuels also being upperclassmen. Those three make up the Wildcats’ three top scorers, and their next two are seniors as well. The point here is that these players have all been around tournament teams, and they aren’t going to be scared of the moment. 

Samuels is the one that could be the X-factor for the Wildcats in this game. He’s a tough defender that could end up taking on the Malaki Branham assignment here. The Ohio State forward is a tremendous offensive player, but Samuels is going to pull out all the stops to slow him down. He’s also a very good team defender, so he’ll be one of the players responsible for collapsing on E.J. Lidell in the paint. As long as Villanova can make things difficult on those two players, this should be a straightforward win. 

Prediction: Villanova -5 (-110)

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Over/Under analysis

Villanova ended up getting into a bit of a track meet against Delaware last game, but that isn’t likely to be the case against Ohio State. The Buckeyes are just 288th in adjusted tempo this season, while the Wildcats are even slower at 345th in the nation. Villanova might execute at a high level on the offensive end, but this is not a team that plays fast. The Wildcats put the ball in Gillespie’s hands and allow him to go out there and make decisions. Sometimes that takes up quite a bit of the shot clock. 

The Buckeyes also brought back some talent in their game against the Ramblers, but one of those players was Kyle Young. The senior definitely added a lot to Ohio State, but most of what he brings is in the grit and toughness department. So, even if the team is better with Young, his presence means the Buckeyes are more likely to play in low-scoring games.

Prediction: Under 132.5 (-120) 

Best bet

We all witnessed the Buckeyes in an absolute grind of a game against the Ramblers, so we know that a low-scoring slugfest is possible with Ohio State. Meanwhile, the Under is 6-0 in the last six games Villanova has played following a win against the spread. The Under is also 5-1 in the last six neutral-court games the Wildcats have played. 

Neither one of these teams wants the other to get out in transition and play with tempo, and that’s just music to an Under bettor’s ears. This is just the best bet on the board by a wide margin. Nothing would make Villanova happier than a game like the one Ohio State played against Loyola Chicago. 

Pick: Under 132.5 (-120)

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