Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Picks and Saturday Big Ten Game Predictions
Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes, Saturday October 26, Noon ET
It is amazing how much things can change in just one week in college football. This is a much different, and frankly much less interesting, matchup than it seemed like it was going to be this time last week. Wisconsin was absolutely rolling. They had pitched four shutouts this year, including one against Michigan State last time out. They completely humiliated Michigan. And they were looking like an upstart challenger for the playoffs. One of the best teams out there. But then last week they lost at Illinois. Raise your hand if you didn't even know it was possible for Illinois to beat a real team. Lovie Smith and company were 28.5-point underdogs against Wisconsin to boot - at home. And suddenly, the excitement about Wisconsin is much tougher to muster, and the path to them beating Ohio State, a team that hasn't shown any real blemishes so far, is much tougher to imagine .
Wisconsin at Ohio State Betting Storylines
Ohio State has been brilliant so far this year, winning every game by at least 24 points. It has been a dominant run. But they also haven't played anyone just yet. The lowest spread they have faced was the 17 points they gave up against Nebraska. They have dominated their schedule, but it has mostly been cupcakes - or at least relative cupcakes. Now the challenge here is that it isn't like Wisconsin has really played a tough schedule, either - a very disappointing Michigan team is the best they have seen. But it isn't hard to make the argument that this is the best team that Ohio State has seen. Probably by a wide margin. We have to consider how Ohio State will respond to be challenged. Or, to be fair, if they will be.
The Wisconsin running game is odd this year. It's incredibly talented, with lead back Jonathan Taylor being an unqualified freak with a very stout line to run behind. But against Illinois and Northwestern, they didn't put up big numbers - at least relatively. Against Illinois, in particular, they just didn't look like much of a massive threat. But what was odd was that it wasn't like they were trying to establish the run and failed. They seemed to be pulling their punches. Almost as if they wanted to keep tricks off tape for this game. It came back to bite them in a big way. And Ohio State is allowing just 93.3 yards per game on the ground to date, so this is going to be a big test for the Badgers. But against Michigan, Wisconsin focused very aggressively on the run right out of the gate and never let up. They carried it a ridiculous 57 times for 359 yards - 6.3 per carry. They won't do that again here, but it makes sense that they will aggressively focus on the run in a way they didn't last week. Your confidence in Wisconsin's ability to succeed on that front will be the biggest guide to how you will bet this game.
Illinois QB Brandon Peters completed only 9 of 21 passes against Wisconsin, but where he did have success was in going deep. He connected on touchdowns of 48 and 29 yards. There are vulnerabilities in the Badgers secondary. Justin Fields' overall numbers aren't massive for Ohio State - the Buckeye passing attack ranks just 65th nationally. But he is averaging a very solid nine yards per completion. If Illinois could find holes, then you can be pretty confident that Ohio State will be able to as well.
Wisconsin at Ohio State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Ohio State favored by two touchdowns. That has moved only slightly, adding a hook to go to 14.5. Almost 70 percent of bets have been on the Buckeyes, so the movement isn't unexpected. The total opened at 49.5. And though it has bounced around slightly, it can still be found at that number.
The Badgers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games overall and 14-5 ATS in their last 19 road games. The Buckeyes have covered their last six spreads overall, their last six in conference games, and their last eight against teams with winning records. The home team is 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight meetings between the teams. The Badgers are 1-4-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
Wisconsin at Ohio State Predictions and Picks
The Badgers have looked good at times. But it feels like Ohio State is a dialed in, aggressive team. And until they take a misstep, I have to believe in them. I'd rather have them at 14 points, but this price isn't enough to scare me off entirely. Ohio State is the pick.
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