Ohio State vs Iowa Odds, Picks and Predictions: High-Scoring Shootout Headlines Big Ten Action

With both programs boasting efficient scoring, while also maintaining lackluster defense, Robert Paul expects an abundance of points in tonight's conference duel. Read more in our Ohio State vs. Iowa betting picks.

Feb 2, 2024 • 12:23 ET • 4 min read
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In the buzzsaw that is the Big Ten, Ohio State and Iowa are both in desperate need of wins to maintain their hopes of making it to March Madness. 

With Ohio State’s inability to win on the road — a program that hasn’t won a true road game since January 1, 2023 — the college basketball odds have the Hawkeyes listed as five-point favorites. Regardless of the outcome of the game, expect a high-scoring affair given the defensive challenges both programs have grappled with this year and the offensive firepower both sides bring to the table.

Find out more in our college basketball picks and predictions for Ohio State vs. Iowa on Friday, February 2.

Ohio State vs Iowa best odds

Ohio State vs Iowa picks and predictions

Fran McCaffery’s Iowa Hawkeyes are the inverse of Kirk Ferentz's Iowa football program. Instead of relying on suffocating defense to carry an inept offense, the Iowa basketball team is one of the best at lighting up the scoreboard in the Big Ten, while its defense is among the worst in college basketball.

Due to Iowa’s poor play on the defensive end, the program has had some of the highest game totals in the Big Ten this season. With the Ohio State Buckeyes coming to town (a program that’s suffered from lackluster defensive play of its own), the 156.5 game total may seem high, but both these teams are built to hit the Over.

This season, Iowa is putting up a jaw-dropping 84.4 points per game, 17th in the country, despite being just 12-9 and sitting 10th in the conference. Its offense has been worthy of making the NCAA Tournament, sitting 18th in adjusted offensive efficiency while scoring at least 80 points in 14 of 21 games this season.

Iowa has been one of the most efficient shooting teams in the country. The Hawkeyes are hitting 47.4% from the field while shooting 53.2% from two, 34.4% from 3-point range, and 77.1% from the free throw line. The team is led by the three-headed monster of Tony Perkins, Ben Krikke, and Payton Sandfort, with each averaging at least 15 points per game.

The complementary scoring of those three — with Perkins’ ability to drive to the rim, Krikke’s scoring down low, and Sandfort’s 3-point shooting — can give a Buckeyes defense that’s struggled in Big Ten play issues.

Ohio State is allowing a respectable 69.1 ppg but ranks 120th in adjusted defensive efficiency, and the Buckeyes have been at their worst during conference play. Chris Holtmann's program has faced considerable challenges in Big Ten games, to the extent that his job security is now in question. Ohio State holds a 3-7 record in conference play, allowing an average of 76.4 ppg in those matchups.

The Buckeyes have had trouble defending the three this season, allowing opponents to connect on 35.9% of them. Ohio State also hasn’t seen a team that plays with the pace of the Hawkeyes, as Iowa ranks 14th in adjusted tempo this season. Ohio State has played three high-majors that rank in the Top 100 of adjusted tempo — Penn State, Alabama, and Illinois — and in those games, the Buckeyes have allowed an average of 83.6 ppg.

While Iowa has juiced its offensive numbers against a few mid-major programs, in 10 conference games, Iowa is still averaging 77.9 ppg and has scored at least 80 points in five Big Ten games.

Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes defense ranks 312th in the country and 117th in adjusted defensive efficiency. That’s music to the Buckeyes ears, with Holtmann’s offense generating 75.1 ppg and entering Friday 42nd in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Expect a high-scoring showdown in Iowa City tonight. 

My best bet: Over 156.5 (-110 at bet365)

Ohio State vs Iowa same-game parlay

Over 156.5

Bruce Thornton Over 14.5 points

Payton Sandfort Over 14.5 points

Bruce Thornton is Ohio State’s leading scorer at 15.7 ppg and has scored at least 15 points in 10 of 21 games this season. His ability to attack the rim and willingness to shoot threes — 5.4 attempts per game — sets up well against Iowa’s defense.

Meanwhile, Sandfort is the Hawkeyes' best 3-point shooter and Ohio State hasn’t been able to stop threes all season. The reigning Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year is shooting 39.5% from deep on 7.2 attempts per game.

Sandfort is averaging 15 ppg this season and has scored 15 in 10 of 21 games. He’s brought his best as of late, upping that average to 18 ppg over his last seven contests.

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

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Ohio State vs Iowa spread and Over/Under analysis

Given Ohio State’s lack of success on the road the last two seasons, Iowa opened as favorites with the spread ranging between 4.5 and 6 points. Most books have settled in with the Hawkeyes at -5, but both FanDuel and DraftKings have them listed at -4.5.

This season, Iowa is just 9-12 against the spread, while Ohio State is even worse at 6-14-1 ATS. Since December 30, the Buckeyes are 1-8 ATS.

With both of these defenses struggling, the game total opened high and remains there. It opened between 156.5 and 157.5, with most books settling in at 156.5. Ohio State has a 12-9 record in favor of the Over this season and holds a 6-4 record in the Big Ten, managing to hit the Over in each of its last three games. Meanwhile, Iowa owns a 14-7 O/U betting record and shares a 6-4 standing in the Big Ten.

Ohio State vs Iowa betting trend to know

Iowa has hit the game total Over in 21 of its last 32 games (+8.90 Units / 25% ROI). Find more college basketball betting trends for Ohio State vs. Iowa.

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Ohio State vs Iowa game info

Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
Date: Friday, February 2, 2024
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

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