Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State Odds and Picks

  • The Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State odds favor the Buckeyes by half a point on Friday (March 18) at 12:15pm ET
  • The Buckeyes rank 206th in defensive efficiency over the past month
  • Read below for the Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State odds, analysis, and betting prediction

What a way to kickoff Friday (March 18) at the NCAA Tournament. In one corner, we have 10-seed Loyola Chicago who has pulled off some of the biggest March Madness upsets over the past few years. In the other corner, 7-seed Ohio State. The Buckeyes are an excellent offensive team from one of college basketball’s top conferences. The problem is, they haven’t been able to get a stop to save their lives recently.

Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Loyola Chicago Ramblers -109 +0.5  (-110) O 132.5 (-108)
Ohio State Buckeyes -109 -0.5  (-110) U 132.5 (-1102)

Odds as of March 15th at Barstool Sportsbook.


Despite the defensive inefficiency, a subject we’ll dive into later, Ohio State is currently a 0.5-point favorite. The number opened Buckeyes -1.5, but early money has been all over the Ramblers. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:15pm ET at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA, with CBS providing the broadcast coverage.

Just a reminder before placing any bets this week, make sure to consult SBD’s March Madness betting promos, as online sportsbooks are literally giving money away in an effort to attract new clients.

Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Analysis

The Buckeyes will limp into their Round of 64 matchup. They’ve dropped four of their last five contests, including an embarrassing second round loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions boasted a 7-13 conference record, and needless to say are not featured in the March Madness bracket.

Penn State isn’t the only sub-par opponent Ohio State has lost to recently, as they’re 1-4 in their last five games to teams with a combined record of 77-80. They blew an 11-point lead to the Nittany Lions, and allowed them to score on 22 of 30 second half possessions.

And therein lies the problem. The Buckeyes are atrocious defensively, something that’s been compounded by the absences of Justice Sueing and captain Kyle Young. Sueing has already been ruled out for Friday, while Young is in the concussion protocol and has a chance to suit up.

Ohio State ranks 131st in defensive efficiency for the season, but grade out 206th in that metric over the last month. Only three teams over the past 10 years have made it to the Sweet-16 when ranking below the top-100 in defensive efficiency so it may be wise to fade the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament odds.

Prior to the past few weeks they’ve been able to mask their defensive problems with a strong offense. They rank 27th in field goal percentage this season, while only 24 teams in the nation shoot a higher percentage from three.

E.J. Liddell is one of the country’s top scorers, averaging 19.6 points per game, but he’s going to need a lot of help on defense to get past a very strong Loyola-Chicago program.

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Loyola Chicago Betting Analysis

The Ramblers breezed through the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to claim their second straight title. Everyone remembers their 2018 Cinderella Run when they reached the National Semifinal as an extreme longshot in the Final Four odds, but don’t forget they also knocked off 1-seed Illinois last year as an 8-seed.

Unlike Ohio State, Loyola Chicago excels on defense. They grade out 22nd in defensive efficiency per KenPom, and rank 16th in scoring defense. They limit enemy shooters to 41% from the field, pull down defensive boards at a top-20 clip in the country, and feature MVC Defensive Player of the Year Lucas Williamson. You won’t find the senior among the contenders in the Wooden Award odds, but you will see him tormenting opposing players.

Offensively, they don’t have the firepower that Ohio State does, but they do shoot the ball incredibly well. They rank seventh in the country in effective field goal percentage (56.3%), and 16th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (38%). They should have a field day versus this lousy Buckeyes D.

Loyola Chicago vs Ohio State Pick

Ohio State couldn’t have asked for a worse matchup. Not only is their perimeter defense likely to get exposed again, but the Ramblers play the exact style the Buckeyes want to avoid. Ohio State wants to run and gun, but Loyola Chicago will methodically grind you down.

The Ramblers have been cover machines recently, especially at neutral sites. They’re 6-1 ATS this season at neutral arenas, while the Buckeyes are 1-2 ATS in those instances, and 3-6 against the spread overall in contests away from home.

Pick: Loyola Chicago Ramblers Moneyline (-109)

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Author: Stacy Hoffman