When you consider the circumstances, the betting odds for Friday’s first-round NCAA Tournament matchup between seven-seed Ohio State and 10-seed Loyola-Chicago makes sense. The Buckeyes are the higher-seeded team, coming out of a bigger, tougher conference, and have a more impressive resume heading into March. However, they’ve lost four of their last five games and the optimism from the fanbase has dissolved into pure cynicism.
The Ramblers are one of the nation’s elite defensive teams, just made light work of their conference tournament, and have made it to the Sweet Sixteen (or better) twice in the last four seasons. They also have a cult/meme following on the internet thanks to their 102-year old team Chaplain, Sister Jean. Even the most casual college basketball fan knows all about Sister Jean and the Ramblers.
With all of that in mind, this showdown between OSU and Loyola is a true “pick-em” according to our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook. Despite being the higher-seeded team, the Buckeyes are not favored to win tomorrow’s game against their Missouri Valley foe. Of the four 7-10 matchups, Ohio State is the only seven-seed that is not favored to win their game. The other three are quite close, however:
- Murray State (7) is a two-point favorite over San Francisco (10)
- USC (7) is a 1.5-point favorite over Miami (10)
- Michigan State (7) is a one-point favorite over Davidson (10)
Ohio State and Loyola are both -110 odds to win the game, so if you were to put down $100 on either team, your total payout would be $190.90. For obvious reasons, the moneyline is also even at -110 — since the spread is also even.
The over/under on total points in this game is tentatively set at 132.5, predicting a relatively low-scoring game. That point total is the 11th-lowest of the 32 first-round games taking place today and tomorrow.
Of course, all of this may change in the coming hours with the recent news that both Kyle Young (concussion) and Zed Key (ankle) should be available to play in tomorrow’s game, according to Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch. Young has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion on March 1 against Nebraska. Young was also out during last year’s NCAA Tournament loss to Oral Roberts with a concussion. Key has played a total of seven minutes over the last four games after spraining his ankle against Maryland on Feb. 27.
Now that this news is out, will the odds skew slightly in the Buckeyes’ favor? We’ll find out soon enough!