The No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes head to Williams Arena to face off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in NCAA basketball action on Thursday night.
The Buckeyes return to Big Ten play after hammering the IUPUI Jaguars in their last game more than a week ago. Oddsmakers expect them to defeat the struggling Golden Gophers, with Ohio State entering this contest as a 6.5-point college basketball betting favorite.
Here are our best free Ohio State vs. Minnesota college basketball picks and predictions for on Thursday, January 27.
Ohio State vs Minnesota odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
This line opened with the Buckeyes installed as 6.5-point favorites with the Over/Under at 138.5. Early money has come in on the Under dropping the total to 134 while the line has stayed steady at OSU -6.5.
Ohio State vs Minnesota predictions
- Prediction: Ohio State -6.5 (-110)
- Prediction: Under 134 (-110)
- Best bet: First-half Under 63 (-110)
Predictions made on 1/27/2022 at 11:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Ohio State vs Minnesota game info
• Location: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, MN
• Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
• Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Ohio State at Minnesota betting preview
Ohio State: Jamari Wheeler F (Questionable), Meechie Johnson Jr. G (Questionable), Justice Sueing F (Out), Seth Towns F (Out).
Minnesota: Jamison Battle F (Questionable), Eric Curry F (Doubtful), E.J. Stephens G (Probable), Isaiah Ihnen F (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Golden Gophers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven home games and 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games as an underdog. Find more NCAA betting trends for Ohio State vs. Minnesota.
Ohio State vs Minnesota picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The last time we saw the Buckeyes, they were stomping tiny IUPUI by a score of 83-37 on January 18. Prior to that rout, they had alternated wins and losses in their previous four games, beating Penn State and Northwestern at home and losing to Wisconsin and Indiana on the road.
Minnesota is fresh off a 68-65 home win against Rutgers on Saturday, which snapped a four-game losing streak where the Gophers covered the spread just once.
At first glance, Ohio State is clearly the better team, ranking 17th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom while sitting 64th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Meanwhile, the struggling Gophers are 78th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 103rd in adjusted defensive efficiency.
However, there are other factors to consider in this one, including key injuries for both sides. The Gophers officially have three of their top four scorers listed as questionable tonight. Coach Ben Johnson said guard E.J. Stephens (12 points per game) looks "good to go" but leading scorer Jamison Battle (18 ppg) will be a game-time decision and top rebounder Eric Curry (6.8 rebounds per game) is day-to-day.
The Buckeyes have starting point guard Jamari Wheeler (7.1 points and 3.8 assists per game) and key reserve Meechie Johnson Jr. as game-time decisions.
Ultimately I do think the Gophers are a bit more reliant on their game-time decisions since the Buckeyes still have star forward E.J. Liddell (19.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and better overall depth throughout their lineup. The Gophers were so thin against Rutgers that they gave their bench players a total of six minutes, which simply isn't going to cut it against a team like OSU.
The Gophers will also get owned on the boards by the bigger Buckeyes since they rank outside the Top 300 in rebounding rate and might be even worse if their two leading rebounders in Curry and Williams don't suit up. The Buckeyes seem like the better bet tonight.
Prediction: Ohio State -6.5 (-110)
This total has plummeted from an opening number of 138.5 but we're still leaning towards the Under. If the Gophers are without Battle, that'll be a big blow to their offensive production, which is already pretty mediocre since they rank just 194th in the country with 69.6 ppg and that number dropping to 66.1 ppg in conference play.
While the Buckeyes average a more impressive 75.1 ppg on 48.3 percent shooting, that falls to 70.6 ppg on 45.3 FG% on the road, and their offense will likely have some issues as well if their two best ball-handlers end up sitting out.
Both of these teams also play at a very slow pace, with OSU ranking 216th in the country in adjusted tempo while Minnesota sits outside the Top 300. Take the Under.
Prediction: Under 134 (-110)
This is a tough game to figure out with Battle, Curry, and Wheeler all game-time decisions but even if all those guys end up playing, we don't see a high-scoring first half. The Gophers rank just 250th in the country with 31.4 first-half points per game, with that number dropping to 29.1 ppg during conference play.
The Buckeyes average a more respectable 34.9 ppg before halftime but they've gotten off to some slow starts lately, scoring just 27 points in the first half against Penn State and Wisconsin and dropping 30 versus Indiana.
Rust from a lengthy layoff will also play a role since the Buckeyes emptied their bench against IUPUI and haven't faced proper competition in more than 10 days. Take the Under on the first half total.
Pick: First-half Under 63 (-110)
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