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CBB Predictions: Ohio St. vs Butler Preview/Pick

NCAA Basketball Sports Betting: OSU vs Butler

Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS) at Butler Bulldogs (6-3 SU, 3-6 ATS)
Saturday, December 12 – Noon ET

Here are some of the NCAA basketball betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

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OSU has covered four of its last five games
OSU has won its last five games SU
OSU has covered four of its last five road games
OSU has played four or its last five road games UNDER the total
BUT has covered three of its last 13 games
BUT has won 17 of its last 25 games SU
BUT has played four of its last six games OVER the total
BUT has covered one of its last eight home games
BUT has won 21 of its last 25 home games SU

Butler came into this season with a lot of high hopes, and climbed into a top ten ranking, but there has been some disappointment for this team thus far. Three times the Bulldogs have gone up against Top 25 programs, and three times they have gone down to defeat – first to Tubby Smith’s Minnesota crew, then to Clemson, and most recently, to Georgetown at Madison Square Garden this week. Butler did not have the wherewithal to stop Hoya center Greg Monroe, who had 24 points and 15 rebounds.

Here’s the question – is Ohio State still a contender?

The Buckeyes have lost only once, an that was a four-point decision to North Carolina. They’ve chalked up impressive wins over California and Florida State and routed Eastern Michigan 111-60 last time out. But that victory came with a price, as Evan Turner was lost to the team fell to the floor in that contest, and broke some bones in his back. The coaching staff is hoping he’ll be back in eight weeks, although doctors think it might be longer.

Losing Turner is not quite like losing David Lightly, as the Buckeyes did last year. Lightly was a leader and a role player who was considered the “glue” that held the team together. Turner, on the other hand, is the team’s leader this year in almost every way. He was a do-everything player, averaging 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists, acting as if he were a “point forward.” You just don’t replace all of that at once.

Coach Thad Matta will use Jermaine Simmons (10.8 ppg off the bench) and PJ Hill in Turner’s place, but he won’t be able to re-create the kind of matchup advantages he could with Turner. They’d certainly like to have all hands on deck against this Butler team, which find itself perhaps having to have this game in order to strengthen its own position in the RPI. That is not to say Ohio State couldn’t use it as well, since they are the team that is probably going to be more in need of an at-large berth.

The Bulldogs have a talented trio that provides balance – Shelvin Mack (14.8 ppg), Gordon Hayward (16.3 ppg) and Matt Howard (11.6 ppg) are all standouts. But they do have some defensive shortcomings – that much has been admitted by coach Brad Stevens.

Ohio State may be able to improvise, because they have shooting strength with Jon Diebler (52% from beyond arc!) and rebounding with Lightly and Dallas Lauderdale, as well as the athletic William Buford. Butler has not shot well (less than 41%) and if they don’t pour in threes, it is an interesting afternoon for the visitor.

We’ll go with Ohio State in the BetUS college basketball odds.

OUR PREDICTION: OHIO STATE BY 6

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