virginia ohio betting pick

The first round of the NCAA Tournament is a breeding ground for upsets, but Virginia is hoping that’s not the case when they meet Ohio on Saturday night.

Let’s dive into this NCAA Tournament game between Virginia and Ohio with a look at the odds, analysis, and an ATS prediction to help you win big.

Virginia vs. Ohio Betting Pick

Virginia (18-6) is in a tough spot entering their NCAA Tournament first-round matchup with Ohio. The Cavaliers were forced to drop out of the ACC Tournament due to COVID-19 issues and now they are scrambling to make sure they can test positive before Saturday’s matchup.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Bobcats (16-7) are playing some of their best basketball of the season right now. Junior guard Jason Preston is taking his game to the next level, averaging 16.6 points and 7.7 assists per game for the Bobcats.

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Virginia vs. Ohio Odds

Here are the current odds on Virginia vs. Ohio on DraftKings Sportsbook:

The Cavaliers are -7 on the spread line against the Bobcats in this first-round game. Virginia is -315 on the moneyline compared to Ohio which is at +255. The total is set to 131 points.

In a normal season, we might look at this spread and immediately look to hammer Virginia. Year in and year out, Tony Bennett’s squad is a top seed come March Madness. In fact, the Cavs are the reigning champs after last year’s NCAA Tournament was shut down due to COVID-19.

However, this is not a typical year for Virginia. Their ongoing COVID-19 issues could hurt the Cavs, but even if they are at full-strength, Ohio is not going to be an easy out.

Ohio is trending up. They beat the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 seeds en route to the MAC Championship. There is massive potential for an upset in this one.

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Why Virginia Can Cover the Spread

The world is all over Ohio in this matchup (and not just ATS), but it’s important to remember how good this Virginia team can be. The Cavaliers finished first in the uber-competitive ACC this year. Outside of one game against Illinois, Ohio has not seen the same level of competition that the Cavs have played against.

Virginia is entering this team battle-tested, but it’s still impossible to know what to expect from them when the game tips off. The play for Virginia bettors here is to wait until close to tip-off on Saturday before betting this. The line continues to move towards Ohio.

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Why Ohio Can Cover the Spread

Ohio is the hotter team which tends to matter a lot in the NCAA Tournament. This isn’t the NBA where teams have seven games to feel one another out. The Bobcats have 40 minutes to knock off the defending champs and make history.

Speaking of Virginia, the Cavs are 1-3 ATS on neutral courts this season. That poor record combined with Ohio’s miraculous run through the MAC Tournament should be enough of a reason to bet on the Bobcats.

And although Virginia exorcised their demons in 2019, we should acknowledge their historic first-round loss in 2018. Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The slow, plodding style of play that Virginia is synonymous can win games, but it leaves them vulnerable against lesser teams.

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Virginia vs. Ohio Betting Pick

The Ohio Bobcats are one of the trendy upset picks in the tournament, but they deserve every bit of hype they are receiving. Jason Preston is the real deal and he’s the type of matchup nightmare that can cause problems for any defense, including Virginia. Take Ohio getting the points or if you are more confident in the Bobcats take them on the moneyline.

william hill

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.