Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Xavier Musketeers Pick ATS
Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Xavier Musketeers (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
When: Thursday, November 18, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati
Point Spread: OHST -2.5/XAV +2.5 (MyBookie - Sign up through our link and use bonus code PREDICT100 to receive a SPECIAL 100% bonus on your first deposit up to $300!)
Moneyline: OHST -140/XAV +120
Last Time Out:
Ohio State smashed Bowling Green 89-58; Xavier handled Kent State 73-59.
About the Matchup:
It’s not often that you get a bit of history in these early-season matchups, but that’s what we have here with Ohio State actually traveling to Xavier, as this marks the first time ever that the two schools have played each other in a regular season game, despite being separated by just 106 miles down Interstate 71. For decades, Ohio State would refuse to even acknowledge Xavier, as the Buckeyes believed themselves to be the only power in the state and wouldn’t schedule anyone in-state who could challenge that, never scheduling Xavier, Cincinnati and eventually Dayton. The only times the Buckeyes ever faced Xavier were in the 1984 NIT and the 2007 NCAA tournament, when they had no choice.
But times have changed in Columbus, and Xavier’s program is now in position for the sides to finally meet. The big question here is whether this game will be decided by play or emotions, as these teams are just about equal in terms of talent. But there’s a giant X-factor looming in the Cintas Center for this matchup: this is the basketball game that Xavier has waited 70 years to play. Will that lead the Musketeers to pull the upset?
Scouting the Buckeyes:
One thing the Buckeyes have shown in the first three games is that they’re not deep. They’ve got some solid post players in E.J. Liddell and Zed Key, but Ohio State really doesn’t have anyone else it can trust to get the job done against talented teams. The Buckeyes had an easy time of it against Bowling Green, but there’s not really a ton of information to be gleaned from that game.
Against Akron, however, there are a couple of telling clues. The Zips can actually play pretty good defense, and when the likes of Malachi Branham and Justice Sueing had to get some shots, they weren’t able to do it. Liddell and Key are going to get their points, but Ohio State can be beaten on the perimeter, and if you’ve got the guard play to keep their wings from taking over the contest, handling the Buckeyes is a manageable task.
Scouting the Musketeers:
Depth is not Xavier’s friend any more than it is Ohio State’s, but the Musketeers are built more around guard play than they are their work in the post. Dieonte Miles and Jerome Hunter are solid rebounders, but they’re more likely to look to get good looks from Paul Scruggs and Colby Jones than they are to take it back up strong themselves. In their win against Niagara, Scruggs and Jones had nearly half of the Musketeers looks at the basket, with half of their shots coming from deep.
That does underly one problem with the Xavier attack: if the 3-pointers aren’t falling, there’s not really a great Plan B available. Against Niagara, only four players sank a shot from inside the arc, and two were Scruggs and Jones. Take one of them away, or force Xavier away from the outside, and it’s not clear that the Musketeers really have a way to answer back.
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Ohio State will Cover If:
The Buckeyes can make a living in the lane. Liddell doesn’t really have anyone who can match him inside, although Miles will focus more on defense than his typical opponent might. If Liddell dominates the paint, the Buckeyes will have this under control.
Xavier will Cover If:
The Musketeers can spread the Buckeyes on the perimeter and keep Ohio State from dominating the rebound battle. One thing about 3-point shooting teams is that they often frustrate rebounders because their rebounds will go all over the place rather than landing somewhere in the paint. The X-Men have the shooters to both take good shots and make sure their rebounds go away from Liddell when they do miss. If they can do that, they have a good chance to win.
Dan’s Best Prop Bets
This total is dependent on Xavier getting hot from deep. These teams don’t tend to play fast, so these possessions are likely to be longer and more drawn-out. That lends itself to the under cashing, especially with the total being this high.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
One thing I’ve learned is that when emotion gets involved, you usually don’t want to be on the wrong side of it. Ohio State is the slightly more talented squad, but this game means so much to Xavier to finally be playing the Buckeyes and doing so at home. After so many years of waiting for Ohio State to finally play them, I can’t see Xavier squandering its moment. Give me the Musketeers. Bet your Ohio State/Xavier pick and ALL your Turkey Week college basketball picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at Betnow Sportsbook!
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