For the second straight day, we split our college basketball picks against the spread on Wednesday – reaching paydirt on Iowa State in an easy win over TCU but falling short on top-ranked Alabama in a top-10 showdown with SEC rival Tennessee.
There are seven ranked matchups on the board Thursday, and we love the value on exactly one of them in a trap game for the higher-ranked team. We’re digging a little deeper with our other play on a value spot in the Big Ten between two teams heading in clearly opposite directions.
Here’s what we’re betting on Thursday, with odds courtesy of BetMGM:
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CBB Thursday odds, lines, picks (via BetMGM)
- Iowa -7.5 vs. Ohio State
- Loyola Marymount +8.5 vs. Gonzaga
Iowa vs. Ohio State prediction and analysis
9 p.m. ET
The last time these two teams faced off, Ohio State scored a rare blowout win that doubled as Iowa’s biggest loss of the season (16 points). That’s about the only thing that’s gone right for Chris Holtmann’s group over the last six weeks.
In that span, the Buckeyes have lost 11 of 12 games with a six-game losing streak following Sunday’s 21-point loss to Michigan State. That marked the biggest blowout of the season for Ohio State, which ranks 125th in T-Rank’s power rating since this 12-game spiral began on Jan. 5.
Over that same period, Iowa ranks 28th in power rating behind the second-best offense in the country, which ranks seventh in turnover rate (14.2%) and first in unforced turnovers (5.9%) across the entire season. The Hawkeyes committed a surprising 14 turnovers in that previous loss to Ohio State; if they can clean that up on Thursday, they should cruise to an easy win.
Iowa vs. Ohio State pick
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Loyola Marymount vs. Gonzaga prediction and analysis
11 p.m. ET
It wasn’t that long ago that Gonzaga would blow out conference opponents with impunity, regardless of location. This team simply isn’t built that way, though, and it’s been particularly disappointing away from home.
Since Jan. 1, the Zags are 4-7 ATS in conference play with a brutal 1-5 ATS record in six road games against West Coast competition. That doesn’t even include an outright loss at home to Loyola Marymount, which held Gonzaga star Drew Timme to 17 points on 41.7% shooting in a 68-67 win on Jan. 19.
Now Mark Few’s group has to travel for the rematch to Los Angeles, where the Lions have won four straight home games: three wins by 14-plus points and a stunning overtime win over Saint Mary’s last Thursday, just five days after the Gaels beat Gonzaga at home. I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw another upset win in this one, but I’m expecting a close game at the very least.
Loyola Marymount vs. Gonzaga pick
- Loyola Marymount +8.5 (BetMGM)