Big Ten Championship Game Picks: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers, Saturday December 7, 8 p.m. ET
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Playoff Implications
There isn't a whole lot of drama here. If Ohio state wins this game , then they are in the playoff - and likely as no worse than the second seed. And, if they lose this game… they are very likely still in the playoff , though as a lower seed. Given their dominance to this point, and the quality wins they have, it is quite unlikely that a one-loss Ohio State team would be passed by a one-loss Utah, Oklahoma or Baylor team. If they were to get absolutely humiliated by Wisconsin, and one of the other teams were to win in very dominant fashion, things might get a little tense, but Ohio State fans don't need to spend too much time worrying this week.
College Football Predictions: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Odds and Picks
I'm a Big Ten guy. It's my favorite conference by far. But I find it as hard as anyone to muster up any excitement at all about this game. The conference owes a debt to Virginia, because if it wasn't for their incredible mismatch against Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, this would be by far the least interesting of the major conference title games. The teams met on October 26 and played a game that wasn't a close as the 38-7 score suggests. Wisconsin narrowed the gap to 10-7 in the second quarter, but then the Buckeyes just swatted them away like a fly and it was over. The Buckeyes weren't at their most engaged, and we have seen them look more effective, but they were just so much better that they rolled. And while Wisconsin has won four in a row since then, and have their offense dialed in, you really have to squint to find an angle in this one that looks competitive. Ohio State has made a mockery of the Big Ten this year, and this Wisconsin team is not positioned to change that.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Betting Storylines
Let's pretend for just a second that this game isn't a foregone conclusion and try to find a reason to give Wisconsin some credit. The biggest reason to jump out would be Justin Fields. The Ohio State QB is a serious Heisman contender, and he was a killer against Michigan last week, but he has had a knee injury - a sprained MCL - that has given him some issues. He is questionable this week, though every indication is that he will be playing. If he were to miss this game, or if he was in but limited, it would open things up for the Badgers a little. The Buckeyes have had two guys - Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak -- throw 49 passes between them, but neither of those guys is going to scare Wisconsin like Fields surely does.
On paper, this is a rushing showdown for the ages. Jonathan Taylor has rushed for 1,761 yards, and J.K. Dobbins has 1,657. Taylor leads the touchdown race 20 to 19 as well. These are the two best running backs in the conference, and both are setting school records in bulk. But the problem is that last time the teams met, it didn't turn out as expected. Dobbins did his things, rushing 20 times for a ridiculous 163 yards and two touchdowns. But Taylor couldn't do a thing against the Ohio State front. His 20 touches amounted to just 52 yards. Ohio State has been brutally tough to run against, and I just don't see a reason to believe that the Badgers will have a ton more success this time around. And if they don't get Taylor going, then their offense just isn't going to be able to keep up. And this game just won't be that interesting.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Ohio State favored by 16.5 points, and it has mostly remained stable at that level in early betting action. Nearly 80 percent of bets have been on the Buckeyes so far in this one, so there is certainly the opportunity for this one to move through the key number of 17 at some point. The total opened at 52.5 and has climbed to 56, with 56.5 starting to appear as I write this.
The Buckeyes are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 10-1 ATS in their last 11 against teams with winning records. They are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 on neutral fields and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 as double-digit favorites. The Badgers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records. The underdog is 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between these teams.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Predictions and Picks
I don't think I have made any secret of how much of a mismatch I think that this one is going to be. Ohio State has been crushing souls, and they have a significant talent edge everywhere in this one. Wisconsin has injury concerns on the offensive line and aren't going to be able to run like they are used to. The Badgers are just lucky to be here, while the Buckeyes are dialed in and thirsty for blood. They are playing like hey know a national title is in their grasp, and they aren't going to let up now. The Buckeyes are the pick against the spread.
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