This Saturday the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will host the No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers in the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at Lucas Oil Stadium and will be televised nationally on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened up this game at Ohio State -17, but early money has dropped this line down anywhere from -16.5 to -15 depending on where you shop. The total opened up at 52.5 and is up to 56.5 at most books, though some are up to 57.
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Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Ohio State vs Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS)
While the Buckeyes clinched the Big Ten East a couple weeks ago with a win over Penn State, Wisconsin went into their regular-season finale in a winner-take-all matchup at Minnesota for the Big Ten West crown. The Gophers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first few minutes, but it was all Badgers from there on out. Wisconsin went on to win 38-17, easily covering as a slim 2-point road favorite.
With two losses the Badgers are out of the playoff race, but there’s question they are going to be motivated for this one. Not only to play spoiler in Ohio State’s attempt to get back to the playoffs, but to win their first Big Ten title since 2012.
Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0 SU, 9-3 ATS)
The Buckeyes come into this one off a blowout 56-27 win over rival Michigan to cap off a perfect regular-season. The Wolverines made a game of it early, but the Ohio State offense was too much for the Michigan offense to overcome. The Buckeyes put up 577 yards of total offense and scored touchdowns on 6 of their first 7 possessions, excluding their 1 play drive to end the first half.
That win moved Ohio State one victory closer to a return to the College Football Playoffs. Buckeyes haven’t been one of the final four teams since 2014 when they went on that improbable run under Cardale Jones and won it all. There is a decent shot that the Buckeyes could still make the 4-team playoff with a loss, but I don’t think it’s as sure a thing as say if LSU were to lose in the SEC title game.
This will be a rematch from the regular-season, as these two played at Ohio State back in late October. The Buckeyes won that matchup convincingly, defeating Wisconsin 38-7 and easily covering as a 14.5-point favorite. It was complete domination from the get go, as Ohio State outgained the Badgers 431 to 191 and had 24-9 edge in first downs.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: UNDER 57
I would probably lay the points with Ohio State if I had to take a side in this one, but I do have some concerns with the health of Buckeyes starting quarterback Justin Fields. He’s tweaked his left knee in each of their last two games and while he was able to finish the game against Michigan, there’s no guarantee he will be able to finish this one.
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My big concern with Fields and his bum knee is there’s not likely to be as many designed runs for him and he could be hampered a bit in his scrambling. That makes life a lot easier on the Wisconsin defense if he’s playing at less than 100% and will allow them to pay a little more attention to J.K. Dobbins, who torched them for 163 yards and 2 scores in the first meeting.
Let’s also not forget the Badgers held their own defensively for a big chunk of that first matchup. Ohio State only had 10 points at the half and 24 going into the 4th quarter. I don’t think it’s out of the question they can hold the Buckeyes under 30 points and I just have a hard time seeing these two eclipse this total without Ohio State going off for 35+. Keep in mind they had 38 in the first meeting and the game only saw 45 combined points.
As for the Wisconsin offense, I have a hard time thinking it’s going to go a lot better for them the second time around against the Buckeyes. The Badgers only had 191 total yards and 9 first downs in the first meeting. One thing is for sure, Wisconsin is going to try and ugly up the game as much as possible and force the run game with their star back Jonathan Taylor. The Badgers know they got zero chance winning a shootout against this team. Give me the UNDER 57!