For the top two teams in the Big 10, it all comes does to this: the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) take on the No. 8 ranked Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Saturday night.
Ohio State handily won the first matchup between these two teams in late October, 38-7. The Badgers have won four straight since then, and have done so convincingly, winning by at least 15 points per contest. So who will have the edge in this one? Here’s a preview of the game, followed by relevant trends and our prediction.
The Buckeyes held star running back Jonathan Taylor a season-low 52 yards the first time around, and they’ve held Taylor to under 100 rushing yards the last two times these teams have played each other. The Badgers will need Taylor to be much more productive in this game if they want a shot.
Badgers quarterback Jack Coan has been solid and efficient, with 17 touchdowns and 4 interception on the season. He will be without one of his favorite targets, however, as wideout AJ Taylor will miss the championship game with an injury.
Wisconsin will have to rely heavily on their defense in this one, which has been solid all year. The Badgers are allowing just over 14 points per contest, and despite losing the first game to OSU earlier in the season, the Badgers also sacked Justin Fields five times while holding him to 167 yards passing. If they can bother Fields again while also managing to score some points, they can make this one interesting.
Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Justin Fields, leads the best offense in the Big 10. OSU are putting up a hefty 534.3 yards and 49.9 points per game, and they also have J.K. Dobbins, who has 1,657 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. Their offense has been impossible for opposing teams to stop, and their defense is almost as scary.
Led by future first round pick Chase Young, who decimated the Badgers the first time around, the Buckeyes are surrendering just 11.8 points per game. This Buckeyes team will be hungry for their third Big 10 Championship in a row, so expect Young and company to play lights out.
Trends, Pick and Prediction:
*The following trends, numbers and predictions are all courtesy of Odds Shark:
Spread: Badgers +15.5
Over/Under: 56.5 points
Odds Shark currently has the Buckeyes winning the game by a projected score of 50-26, with Ohio State covering the spread and the total score going over.
• Ohio State is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 4 of Ohio State’s last 6 games.
• Ohio State is 10-0 SU in their last 10 games.
• Ohio State is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against Wisconsin.
• Wisconsin is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 4 of Wisconsin’s last 5 games.
• The Badgers are 11-2 SU in their last 13 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Wisconsin’s last 6 games against Ohio State.
We’re with Odds Shark in who will win this one–Ohio State is by far the more talented team here. That said, both teams have excellent defenses, and that should keep this game under 56.5 points. We’re also taking the Badgers with the spread. They should keep this game within two touchdowns.
Final Prediction: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 21 (Badgers +15.5)