Michigan vs Ohio State Odds, Picks and Predictions: Battle, McDaniel Shine in Rivalry Game

Though this Michigan vs. Ohio State battle will lack the far-reaching consequences that the latest football version of "The Game" possessed, our college basketball betting picks believe the Columbus crowd will be kept entertained.

Mar 3, 2024 • 09:58 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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Jamison Battle Ohio State NCAAM
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The season hasn’t gone the way Michigan Wolverines nor Ohio State Buckeyes fans wanted with both programs struggling throughout the year, but a win over the other can make the stink of these last few months much more palatable.

The college basketball odds have the Buckeyes as an 11.5-point home favorite with the program going 3-1 since firing head coach Chris Holtmann, while the Wolverines are just 2-16 since mid-December. Despite the struggles of both teams this season, there’s enough offensive talent taking the court for a fun one in Columbus. 

Find out where my best bets lie in our college basketball picks and predictions for Michigan vs. Ohio State on Sunday, March 3.

Michigan vs Ohio State best odds

Michigan vs Ohio State picks and predictions

This Sunday afternoon matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes is the antithesis of “The Game.” Unlike football, where these programs played just a few months ago with a College Football Playoff berth on the line, this game isn’t for anything tangible… just pride.

Neither of these teams will be sniffing an invitation to the Big Dance this year, making it two straight seasons that both teams have gone dateless in March. Despite all the ugliness this year has brought Michigan and Ohio State, this matchup should end with a lot of points on the scoreboard.

For all its warts under head coach Juwan Howard this season, the Wolverines have shown to be capable of scoring points against lesser defenses. Michigan ranks just 83rd in adjusted offensive efficiency (KenPom) and 12th in offensive rating in the Big Ten (EvanMiya) but has 18 games of at least 71 points with nine of those games coming in conference play.

With starting forward Olivier Nkamhoua done for the season, much of the offensive load falls on the shoulders of lead guard Dug McDaniel. McDaniel is averaging 16.5 points per game this season and has been a key reason the Wolverines have quietly been one of the most efficient 3-point shooting teams in the country.

Behind McDaniel’s team-leading 5.7 three-point attempts per game, Michigan is hitting 36.7% of its 3s this season, 47th best in the country. Supporting McDaniel behind the arc have been Nimari Burnett, Terrance Williams, and Jaelin Llewellyn, all of whom are shooting at least 35% from deep.

That will be the key to putting up points on the Buckeyes with Ohio State’s perimeter defense being suspect and only getting worse in conference play. On the season, Ohio State ranks 306th in the country in 3-point percentage allowed (35.5%) and has been taken advantage of in Big Ten play because of it. Big Ten teams are hitting 38.9% of their triples against the Buckeyes, second-last in the conference.

Defensive struggles have hindered a talented Ohio State program all season with the Buckeyes ranking 92nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and allowing 74.4 points per game in Big Ten play. However, its offense has had bright moments throughout the season when it’s on the same page.

The Buckeyes are 39th in adjusted offensive efficiency and sixth in the Big Ten in offensive rating while averaging 74.2 points per game. The combo of Bruce Thornton, Jamison Battle, and Roddy Gayle Jr. has given the Buckeyes three reliable scorers this season with the trio combining for 44.8 points per game. 

The X-factor has been Battle, a Minnesota transfer whose three-point shooting has given defenses problems throughout the season. He’s shooting 43.3% from behind the arc and averaging 15.7 points per game in Big Ten play.

Battle’s also coming off a season-high 32 points against Minnesota, and mentioned that this Buckeyes team believes it can make some noise down the stretch and into the Big Ten tournament.

“There is a sense of urgency. I've got three guaranteed games left of college basketball,” Battle said of the two remaining regular-season games and at least one Big Ten tournament game. “My goal is we're going to do whatever it takes to win all those games and maybe even more."

That starts with beating Michigan and its abysmal defense. The Wolverines are allowing 79.1 points per game, rank 187th in adjusted defensive efficiency, and last in the Big Ten in defensive rating.

The Wolverines have been as bad as it gets, allowing opponents to shoot 46.2% from the floor, 51.2% from two, and 35.9% from three. With a defense that bad, it also leads to more opportunities for opposing offenses. Teams are putting up 29.2 shots per game against Michigan, 12th-most in the country. 

Between Michigan’s horrendous defense, Ohio State’s inability to stop 3-pointers, and both teams having multiple offensive playmakers, it should be a high-scoring game at Value City Arena. 

My best bet: Over 143.5 (-110 at bet365)

Michigan vs Ohio State same-game parlay

Over 143.5

Dug McDaniel Over 13.5 points

Jamison Battle Over 16.5 points

McDaniel has been one of the few bright spots for Michigan, with the Wolverines sophomore guard being the team’s most consistent scorer. There’s been an even bigger need as of late for him to carry the offense with Olivier Nkamhoua done for the season, and McDaniel now having by far the highest usage of Michigan’s player suiting up Sunday.

McDaniel is taking nearly five shots more per game than Terrance Williams and it’s resulted in 12 games of at least 14 points this year. To keep up with Ohio State’s offense, Michigan will need to let McDaniel loose, especially if Jamison Battle keeps up his strong play.

Battle is Ohio State’s best shooter and with his 6-foot-7 frame, he’s capable of creating mismatches behind the arc. That should help him take advantage of the Wolverine’s lackluster perimeter defense. Battle has gone for at least 19 points in each of his last three games while averaging 24 per game.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Michigan vs Ohio State spread and Over/Under analysis

Ohio State opened as a 9 to 9.5-point favorite with the line continuing to climb up, and the Buckeyes are now -10.5 to -11.5 at most books with Bruce Thornton set to return to the lineup after missing the win over Nebraska.

While Ohio State is just 12-16-1 ATS this season, it’s 5-1 over the last six games, but didn’t cover the last time it played the Wolverines. That was one of Michigan’s few covers this season with the team going 8-21 ATS this season.

The game total hasn’t moved much with most books opening between 143 and 143.5 and remaining there. Both Ohio State and Michigan are 16-13 betting the Over this season.

Michigan vs Ohio State betting trend to know

Ohio State has hit the Game Total Over in 9 of their last 14 games at home (+3.50 Units / 23% ROI). Find more college basketball betting trends for Michigan vs. Ohio State.

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Michigan vs Ohio State game info

Location: Value City Arena, Columbus, OH
Date: Sunday, March 3, 2024
Tip-off: 4:00 p.m. ET

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