One of the hidden gems on the college basketball schedule on Friday night could come in the Ohio Bobcats vs. Kentucky Wildcats matchup from Rupp Arena. Kentucky has rebounded nicely from their season opening loss to Duke in the Champions Classic. But Ohio is a team that has had some success in postseason play out of the MAC in recent seasons past, and has looked very strong out of the gate to set up this contest.
Ohio’s offensive numbers have been comparable to those of Kentucky this season, even if the Bobcats haven’t played a team on the level of Kentucky so far this year. Whichever team is able to hit shots from the outside should be able to breach the defense of their opponent, to get the upper hand in a game that could be a lot closer than the casual observer of college basketball would expect.
Ohio Bobcats – Searching For 4-0 Start
The Ohio University Bobcats have come out to a flying start to this season, winning all three of their games. The tip off to their campaign came against a Belmont team that has been a powerhouse in their conference in recent years, with Ohio taking them down by 12 points. Ohio has since followed that performance up with wins over Cleveland State and Robert Morris, who has also been beaten by Kentucky this season.
If Ohio is going to have a genuine chance to win this game, they are going to need to overcome the noticeable difference in athleticism that comes with playing a program like Kentucky. They will also need Mark Sears to continue playing at a high level, as he is averaging just under 20 points per game through the first three games of the year for Ohio. If he can stay hot, the Bobcats may just have a chance here.
Expected Line-Up: Miles Brown, Mark Sears, Jason Carter, Ben Vander Plas, Ben Roderick
with best odds
Kentucky Wildcats – Major Physical Advantage
Kentucky lost the first game of its season against the Duke Blue Devils in the Champions Classic. But the Wildcats have responded nicely to that loss, taking their frustrations out on Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary’s to move to 2-1 on the year. This game against Ohio represents a step back up in level of competition for Kentucky, even if the name on the front of the Ohio uniforms may not suggest it.
For Kentucky, taking advantage of their superior physicality will be what gets them through this game. Oscar Tshiebwe has been lighting it up for the Wildcats, averaging 18.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Even against Duke, Tshiebwe was dominant in the paint, which kept Kentucky in that game much longer than they had any business being in it. Against Ohio, he will need to be at his best again.
Expected Line-Up: Kellan Grady, Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington, Keion Brooks, Oscar Tshiebwe
Expert Pick #1 – Ohio +12.5 @ -110
Our first bet for this game is to take Ohio to cover against the spread, taking the 12.5 points at -110 odds. Ohio is going to do what it can to slow down the pace of this game against a Kentucky team that is capable of running them out of the gym. That, and the fact that Ohio is a very good basketball team, will help keep this contest within the number for the duration of the action.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 146.5 @ -110
The next bet to place in this contest is the under 146.5 at -110 odds. Ohio has been playing very well offensively this season thus far, but they will face quite the challenge against Kentucky to continue doing so. For that reason, Ohio is going to do what it can to manipulate the pace here and to limit the number of possessions, which will serve the under quite nicely.
Expert Pick #3 – Kentucky By 6-10 Points @ +325
Our final bet for this game is for Kentucky to win by 6-10 points at +325 odds. Ohio should be able to stay within the point spread here, but late-game fouls should also make sure that there are a few possessions separating them from Kentucky when all is said and done. At better than 3/1 odds, taking Kentucky to win but not cover with a margin like this is worth a look.
This game between Kentucky and Ohio has the potential to be one of the better matchups between a Power 5 school and a smaller conference opponent in the non-conference season. Kentucky should be able to win the game, but it isn’t going to be as easy as their last two games have been, and they should be wary of a potential upset.