In a battle between two defensive juggernauts, the Ohio State Buckeyes will go to war versus the Villanova Wildcats in a second-round matchup with each school’s season on the line. It is time to check out our March Madness odds series, where our Ohio State-Villanova prediction and pick will be revealed.

FanDuel March Madness

Ohio State heard all about the hype regarding Loyola Chicago and their recent success in the NCAA Tournament. Many people including college basketball experts around the country had the Ramblers disposing of the Buckeyes and advancing to the round of 32, even with Ohio State coming into the game with the higher seed. However, things couldn’t have played out differently on Friday. The Buckeyes no doubt used this as bulletin material by putting the clamps on Loyola Chicago, holding the Gamblers to a lowly total of 41 points in a 13-point victory.

As for the Wildcats, ‘Nova held the vigorous Delaware Blue Hens to 3-20 from deep and converted that to their own three-point success by throwing up 13 makes on 28 attempts, good for a lethal 46.4%. Delaware did all they could against a better overall school in Villanova, but the ‘Cats showed why they have the right pieces in place to beat any team at any time.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Ohio State-Villanova March Madness odds:

March Madness Odds: Ohio State-Villanova Odds

Ohio State: +5.5 (-110)

Villanova: -5.5 (-110)

Over: 132.5 (-110)

Under: 132.5 (-110)

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Why Ohio State Could Cover the Spread

For fans who love an epic defensive duel, then the highly anticipated first-round matchup between Ohio State and Loyola Chicago delivered on every level. As Sister Jean looked on from her seat within PPG Paints Arena, there was not a prayer that could’ve been spoken into existence that would’ve slowed down the Buckeye defensive tenacity on Friday. Not only did OSU hold Loyola Chicago to a season-low 41 points, but even more mind-boggling was the Ramblers’ inability to shoot the rock, as they only hit on 27% of their shots. When it rains, it usually pours, as Loyola Chicago also went a putrid 3-10 from the charity stripe. It was unlike a Ramblers program during the madness of March that we have all grown accustomed to seeing, but give props to the Buckeyes, who began the 2021-2022 college basketball season ranked at #17 within the AP Top 25.

The Buckeyes will need to get better looks on the offensive end, however, more specifically from three-point range. The boys in scarlet and grey proceeded to go 1-15 from trey land, a number that won’t cut it versus a number-two seed. Ohio State will most likely not be able to hold Villanova’s offense in the same way they did in their first-round win, so more of an offensive presence will be vital. Ohio State has a chance though, and playmakers like E.J. Liddell will give ‘Nova a run for its money. OSU is 4-0 ATS in their last four games as the underdog.

Why Villanova  Could Cover the Spread 

Villanova will cover the spread in this round of 32 showdown due to their business-like approach on the offensive and defensive end. The Buckeyes struggled against a much-lesser Loyola Chicago defense, and they will have their hands full with Villanova’s 28th ranking in adjusted defensive efficiency. ‘Nova is loaded with experienced talent, so do not expect the Wildcats to give up the basketball and turn the ball over.

Have we mentioned that Villanova is also the ninth-best school in offensive efficiency as well? The ‘Cats shot a very productive 46% from three against the Blue Hens and averaged 72 PPG during the regular season. While this isn’t necessarily an incredibly great amount of points, the Wildcats hit timely shots when needed. The trio of Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, and Justin Moore combined for 50 points, as the infamous triad are trying to become the most intimidating threesome since the Three Musketeers way back when. If Villanova handles the little things and plays like the championship contender that they think they are in this wild NCAA Tournament, then they should not have too much of a difficult time in covering the spread versus the less-talented Buckeyes.

Final Ohio State-Villanova Prediction & Pick

Yes, Ohio State looked every part of dominating in their tournament win and a stout defensive unit can keep any team within reach, but the Buckeyes are 2-10 in their last 12 March Madness appearances, and Villanova may be the best squad they’ve fought with all season long. Even with ‘Nova’s pedestrian 17-16-1 record against the spread, expect the Wildcats’ surging defense to ensue chaos upon E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham. Onward to the Sweet Sixteen for Villanova!

Final Ohio State-Villanova Pick: Villanova -3.5 (-115)