March 13 CBB Lines

The Thursday, February 25 CBB lines are live on, and with conference tournaments coming into view, college basketball teams are running out of opportunities to improve their seeding or make a last-ditch effort to get off the bubble. The Big Ten is on display Thursday night with the biggest game of the week featuring No. 9 Iowa at No. 3 Michigan. Also in action are No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Illinois.

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Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network breaks down the February 25 CBB lines.

February 25 CBB Lines: Boosted Bets

  • #3 Michigan -4.5 and Michigan State +4.5. Was +230. Now +270.
  • #4 Ohio State to record 8+ 3-pointers and win by 8+ points. Was +300. Now +340.

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#9 IOWA (17-6, 11-5) at #3 MICHIGAN (16-1, 11-1), 7 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Michigan -220, Iowa +180
SPREAD: Michigan -5
OVER/UNDER: 155 points
Click here for the full list of Michigan-Iowa odds.

The biggest game of the night, and arguably the biggest game of the week, will be between Michigan and Iowa.

Let’s start with the hype first, because that’s what we do here. Iowa has the National Player of the Year frontrunner in Luka Garza, the best big man in college basketball and one of the strongest low-post presences since Tyler Hansbrough was still on campus. Michigan? They’ve established themselves as not only the best team in the Big Ten, but as one of the three best teams in all of college basketball. That alone should have you intrigued.

I love Michigan in this spot.

The biggest reason why is the presence of 7-foot-1 Hunter Dickinson. Given his size, his reach, and his strength, I’m not sure there is a player in college basketball that is better suited to matching up with Garza than Dickinson. Garza’s game is bully-ball. He has a nice touch around the basket and his footwork is a bit more dainty than you would expect out of someone his size, but he’s still very much a bull in a china shop on the block. He’s not going to bully Dickinson, which is important because in last year’s matchups, Garza averaged 38.5 points in the two games because Juwan Howard did not send double-teams. He decided he’d let Iowa try to beat them with twos instead of threes.

And if that’s the case, I think that Michigan also has the perimeter weapons to be able to matchup with Iowa’s wings as well. Iowa thrives on putting defenses into tough decisions because you either have to double-team Luka or deal with scrambles and rotations with four snipers around the perimeter. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense. But Michigan has the size and athletes and versatility to be able to chase people off the three-point line even if they have to double.

This brings me to the larger point: Iowa’s defense has been better in recent weeks. But for my money, the reason that it has been better is that C.J. Frederick’s has made them more efficient offensively. Where the Hawkeyes struggle the most is in transition defense, and with fewer chances for their opponents to run, their defense has improved. I expect Michigan to have plenty of chances to run tonight.

NEBRASKA (5-16, 1-13) at #5 ILLINOIS (16-6, 12-4), 7 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Illinois -1000, Nebraska +650
SPREAD: Illinois -12.5
OVER/UNDER: 144.5 points
Click here for the full list of Illinois-Nebraska odds.

There may be some significant injury coming in this game. Ayo Dosunmu took a shot to the face at the end of the loss to Michigan State, and it’s unclear if he’s going to be able to play. Keep an eye on this news.

#4 OHIO STATE (18-5, 12-5) at MICHIGAN STATE (12-9, 6-9), 9 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Ohio State -182, Michigan State +155
SPREAD: Ohio State -4
OVER/UNDER: 145.5 points
Click here for the full list of Ohio State-Michigan State odds.

I think Michigan State is back.

I think the fact that Tom Izzo has started playing the four-best players at the same time — Rocket Watts, Josh Langford, Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown — in a small-ball lineup has made all the difference. I don’t think the win over Illinois was a fluke. I’m fully expecting the Spartans to find a way to make a run here late in the season.

And the thing about that lineup is that it matches up really well with an Ohio State team that may be missing Kyle Young. Ohio State’s so dangerous offensively because they have a whole bunch of guys that are 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-8 and can shoot. It stretches out a defense if you can’t match up with them, and Michigan State can matchup with them.

I also like the over here. Ohio State is Iowa light in terms of their ability to score and their lack of an ability to defend. And the Spartans? Well, they’re not exactly elite defensively, either.