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College Basketball Computer Picks for February 25: It’s a Golden Day for Marquette

Chase Ross Marquette Golden Eagles v Blue Demons
Chase Ross #2 of the Marquette Golden Eagles celebrates during the first half against the DePaul Blue Demons. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

The top sportsbooks have released their betting odds for today’s college basketball action, and we’ll look at three games for today’s top bets: Ohio State vs. Michigan State, Xavier vs. Marquette and Minnesota vs. Nebraska.

For your best bets, I will recommend investing in Ohio State, Marquette, and Nebraska. My recommendations are backed by OddsTrader’s computer AI and by my handicapping.

Picks Summary

  • Ohio State +10 (-110)
  • Marquette -10.5 (-110)
  • Nebraska -6.5 (-110)

*All odds available at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)


Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

Sunday, February 25, 2024 – 04:00 PM ET at Breslin Center


Our computers project a rather close game in which Ohio State hangs tight. I agree with this projection and find that you should play the Buckeyes.

Don’t Discount Ohio State

It might seem easy to discount Ohio State because of its last game, as losing to Minnesota does not create a good look. However, you have to understand why this loss does not reflect Ohio State’s current form or current ability.

The Buckeyes were coming off a huge upset win over Purdue, at the end of which Chris Holtmann’s coaching replacement was pretty much crying in front of the cameras. Beating Purdue was emotional for Ohio State, so the next game was always going to be a classic let-down that teams typically suffer following a big win.

Instead of focusing on Ohio State’s last game, consider instead how high this team’s ceiling is. The Buckeyes beat high-caliber Purdue two games ago. They’ve also beaten Alabama by double digits on a neutral floor. They have the capacity to beat Michigan State and to do so by a lot of points if they play anywhere near their ceiling.

Recent History

The recent history between these teams suggests that we should see a close Buckeyes loss or a Buckeyes win. While Ohio State did have a big loss to Michigan State last year, that came in the midst of an extended losing streak.

Besides that one exception, they lost by six at Michigan State and beat the Spartans in the Big Ten Tournament. They beat the Spartans in two out of three games in the two previous seasons, with the one loss coming by four points.

Ohio State’s Shot-Blocking

While the Buckeyes are relatively vulnerable when guarding the perimeter, shooting threes isn’t Michigan State’s game. The Spartans are much likelier to try to score inside, where they’ll have to contend with one of the conference’s top shot-blocking units.

Led especially by the lengthy and super athletic Felix Okpara, the Buckeyes rank number two in the Big Ten in block rate.

Ohio State’s Outlook on Offense

The Buckeyes like to be balanced on offense where they’ll succeed both inside and outside the arc today.

Michigan State’s perimeter defense is visibly vulnerable because of its ball-screen coverage and its tendency to double the post. The Spartans do an awful job of limiting opposing three-point opportunities because opposing offenses easily find those opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Spartans allow one of the highest field goal conversion rates inside the arc in the Big Ten. They lack Ohio State’s shot-blocking quality. Perceiving this deficiency, they have apparently come close to eliminating Mady Sissoko from the rotation, although his reduction in playing time doesn’t seem to be helping.

NCAAB Pick: Ohio State +10 (-110) at Bet365


Xavier Musketeers vs. Marquette Golden Eagles

Sunday, February 25, 2024 – 05:00 PM ET at Fiserv Forum


Our computers project a dominating double-digit win from Marquette today. I agree: you should play the Golden Eagles.

Xavier’s Losing Streak

Xavier is suffering the form that a team does not want to suffer especially when it has to face top-caliber Marquette. The Musketeers enter today’s game on a three-game losing streak

Despite their season-long two-point defense numbers, they are proving to be highly vulnerable inside. From watching Xavier’s defense, it is clear to see that its defenders struggle guarding one-on-one inside.

The Musketeers will sometimes employ a double team inside, although this tends to lead to easy passing opportunities for the opposing offense. Furthermore, Xavier’s defenders have trouble coming off screens, which opponents use to create easy three-point shooting opportunities.

Marquette’s Three-Point Attack

These currently perceptible deficiencies in Xavier’s defense have allowed X’s last three opponents to score 78 or more points, The thing is, Xavier’s last two opponents are typically inefficient from deep, yet they still scored close to or more than 80 points.

While Marquette is typically very efficient inside, they are also a great shooting team. Three different players –David Joplin, Kam Jones and Tyler Kolek– convert over 39% of their three-point attempts. They will blow past 80 points against a Musketeers defense that is already porous against teams that don’t shoot well.

Marquette’s Pressure Defense

The Golden Eagles will punish a Xavier team that likes to rely on scoring via post-ups – the Musketeers especially like relying on Abou Ousmane inside.

Marquette will trap opposing players and position its help defense well in order to feast on passing lanes and force turnovers. Hence, their defense owns the nation’s twelfth-highest turnover rate.

The Golden Eagles are especially inclined to trap the post, making them well-equipped to make Xavier uncomfortable on offense.

NCAAB Pick: Marquette -10.5 (-110) at Bet365


Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Sunday, February 25, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Pinnacle Bank Arena


Our computers indicate that Nebraska will win by a convincing margin. I agree with this projection and find that you should play the Cornhuskers.

Minnesota’s Perimeter Defense

Stylistically, the Golden Gophers want to limit opposing three-point shooting.

On paper, this makes them interesting against Nebraska’s perimeter-focused sort of offense. But the reality is that efficient three-point shooting teams regularly thrive against the Cornhuskers.

Purdue, Michigan State and Northwestern all delivered efficient performances from behind the arc against Nebraska’s defense.

Nebraska’s Shooters

There’s no reason why Nebraska can’t do the same. The Cornhuskers love dropping bombs behind the arc. They rank fourth in the Big Ten with a 39.4% three-point conversion rate.

Seven Nebraska players convert 35% or more of their three-point opportunities. Among other tactics, they create open shots by employing different kinds of screens.

Minnesota Can’t Keep Up

The Golden Gophers lack the shooting quality to keep up with Nebraska.

This is especially true on the road. If Minnesota’s three-pointers made per game road stat were an overall season-long statistic, they would rank outside the top 200 nationally.

Their three-point shooting has anyhow declined in conference play, yet they won’t be able to rely on scoring inside against a Nebraska interior defense that keeps defenders well positioned inside or near the paint and that uses its good positioning to jump passing lanes and otherwise force turnovers.

The Cornhuskers rank third in the Big Ten at limiting opposing two-point percentage.

NCAAB Pick: Nebraska -6.5 (-110) at Bet365

*21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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