Ohio State vs Penn State Big Ten Tournament Picks and Predictions: Buckeyes Defense Gets Exposed

The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are squaring off in Round 2 of the Big Ten tournament. Read to see why we're riding with PSU to cover the college basketball spread in our Ramblers vs. Bulldogs picks and predictions.

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2022 3:07 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
Jalen Pickett Penn State Nittany Lions
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes are hoping the Big Ten tournament is much nicer than the closing weeks of conference play, with OSU backing into the postseason on a 1-3 skid. 

The Buckeyes battle the Penn State Nittany Lions in Round 2 of the tournament Thursday, giving five points to a Penn State team that knocked off Minnesota in its tournament opener last night. Ohio State won both meetings against PSU in the regular season, but much has happened since January 16, including a rash of injuries to the Buckeyes roster.

Check out our free college basketball picks and predictions for Penn State vs. Ohio State on March 10.

Ohio State vs Penn State odds

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

Ohio State hit the board as low as -4.5 and climbed to -6 before buyback on Penn State slimmed this spread to as low as -5. The Over/Under number opened at 132.5 and has tumbled all the way to 127.5 points as of Thursday afternoon.

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 Penn State predictions

Predictions made on 3/10/2022 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Ohio State vs Penn State game info

Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Date: Thursday, March 10, 2022
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network

Ohio State at Penn State betting preview


Ohio State: Kyle Young F (Out), Zed Key F (Questionable), Justice Sueing F (Out), Meechie Johnson Jr. G (Probable).
Penn State: None.

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 7-1 in Nittany Lions' last eight overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Ohio State vs. Penn State/Minnesota.

Ohio State vs Penn State 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

Injury issues are part of the problem for Ohio State, who will be without forward Kyle Young and possibly Zed Key for tonight’s tournament tipoff. 

Those missing pieces have compounded an offensive power outage for OSU in recent games, with the Buckeyes failing to score more than 70 points in three of their last four games. What’s worse is that those efforts came against some of the softer defenses in the Big Ten, and now the Buckeyes battle a Penn State squad that earns its keep on that end of the floor.

The Nittany Lions leaned on their defense in the tournament opener, rallying in the second half versus Minnesota and limiting the Golden Gophers to only four points in the final six minutes of the second half to earn a 60-51 victory as 3.5-point chalk.

Penn State is a scrappy squad that suffered five of its conference losses by five or fewer points, including pushing heavyweights Rutgers and Illinois to the limit at the end of the regular season. In their most recent meeting with Ohio State, PSU checked the Buckeyes to 39% shooting from the floor including a 3-for-12 day from beyond the arc, losing 61-56 but covering as 10-point road underdogs.

Last night, on top of making big stops on defense, the Nittany Lions also cashed in timely buckets from beyond the arc, knocking down 8 of 22 triples — three of which came from guard Jalen Pickett, who finished with 22 points. 

If he carries over that momentum into tonight, Pickett could have another big game against an OSU defense that has been busted open like a pinata down the stretch, boasting a defensive efficiency metric of 1.116 over its last three games (vs. 0.955 on the season before that stretch).

Prediction: Penn State +5.5 (-110)

Over/Under analysis

Ohio State is hobbled but still has plenty of capable scorers to shoulder the load on offense. Penn State really can’t afford to find itself in a shootout, especially playing back-to-back tournament games. 

Both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions play at a slow pace, ranked out 13th and 14th in tempo respectively in the Big Ten, and their January 16 meeting fell well Under the total with a combined 117 points versus an Over/Under number of 134.5 points.

With Young out of action and Key potentially sidelined or slowed by an ankle injury, the Buckeyes lose some punch inside. That helps Penn State direct attention to the perimeter, where it will need to keep its heels above the 3-point arc. 

Ohio State is one of the better shooting teams from long range in the country and those triples were the difference in the two meetings between these programs this season. The Buckeyes dropped 12 3-pointers on PSU way back on December 5, leading to a 76-64 win, but was checked to only three makes from downtown on January 6, leaving OSU with 61 points – its third-lowest output of the season.

Prediction: Under 128 (-110)

Best bet

We saw a similar path into the postseason from Ohio State last year, losing four in a row to close out the schedule before winning three straight in the Big Ten tournament — starting with a nail-biting win over Minnesota in Round 2. 

Will the change in scenery (and intensity) spark this year’s Buckeyes, who limp into the postseason with some key players dinged up?

While Penn State did play last night, it didn’t drain its starting rotation and this roster is rich in upperclassmen who fight hard for head coach Micah Shrewsberry. 

The Nittany Lions are 51st in defensive efficiency and work hard on the glass, owning a defensive rebound rate of 25.3 (46th in the country). So when they make the Buckeyes miss, they won’t be giving up extra chances or putbacks. And with Young and Key injured, that’s a possible 10.3 rebounds off the board for OSU.

This will not be an easy outing for Ohio State facing a PSU team that pushes back against the best in the Big Ten and is 6-2 ATS in its last eight outings as an underdog.

Pick: Penn State +5.5 (-110)

College basketball parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Ohio State vs. Penn State picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college basketball parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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