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Wisconsin vs Ohio State - Buckeyes 16 Point Betting Favorites
Ohio State hosts Wisconsin Saturday afternoon in a game that's crucial as far as the Big 10 Standings go as both teams are 2-0 in conference play. Oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com currently have Ohio State as a whopping 16 point favorite. The opening line was -14.5 and bettors couldn't push Ohio State money through the window fast enough moving the number to -16 and even -16.5 in some spots.
Ever since Ohio Stateís defense gave up the winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter against USC this Buckeye defense has been playing inspired football. In their next two games they pitched shutouts against Toledo, Illinois. They are coming into this game off a 33-14 win over a much improved Indiana team, and they have their eyes set on another Big 10 title, but so does Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is undefeated on the year and 2-0 in conference. This Wisconsin team is the poster child for winning ugly. They donít wow you with their style of play or winning margins, but they get the job done. They are about to get a chance to prove to the whole Big 10 that they are a legit contender with games against Ohio State, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan still on their schedule. Winning this game would propel them to a Top 25 ranking and make them a front runner to take the conference.
THE PRIMETIME MATCHUP
Wisconsinís Rushing Attack vs. Ohio Stateís Rushing Defense
We have a grudge match between the Big 10ís #1 Rushing Offense vs. the Big 10ís #1 Rushing Defense. The question is who is going to budge first? Wisconsin is averaging 244 yards of rushing per game, and the majority of those yards are coming from RB John Clay. Clay is a 6í2 247lb bulldozer that can wear down a defense. In Wisconsinís last two games they have committed to giving Clay the ball and he has delivered for them. Against Michigan State he rushed 32 times for 142 yards and 1TD. Then he followed that game up with 32 carries for 184 yards and 3 TDís against Minnesota. That kind of running game is a Quarterbackís best friend, and Wisconsinís QB Scott Tolzien is more than capable of getting the job done with the Buckeye defense on their heels.
Expect Wisconsin to pound the ball early to set up the play action pass, but that is easier said than done. This Ohio State defense has been playing its best football of the year. The Buckeye defense is #1 in the Big 10 in rush defense just giving up an amazing 50 yards per game. After allowing 304 yards in their first two games this Buckeye defense has given up just 113 yards in their last three games. They are playing with a lot of confidence, and I donít expect that to change. This Ohio State defense knows they have to stop Wisconsinís rushing attack to get the win, so I expect them to be committed to stacking the box and stopping the run, and making Wisconsin and QB Scott Tolzien beat them with his arm.
THE FINAL VERDICT
This matchup is exactly what Big 10 football is all about, smash mouth Football. After Wisconsinís RB John Clayís big last two games I expect Wisconsin to do the exact same thing itís been doing. They are going to establish the run and try to control time of possession. The less Terrelle Pryor is on the field the better for this Wisconsin team. The one problem is Ohio State isnít exactly a team that allows teams to establish the run. They will stack the box and force QB Scott Tolzien to make plays with his arm.
Ohio State is the better team here but can't ignore Wisky's ability to eat up clock on the ground. We're getting a bucket full of points in a game that was decided by 3 a year ago. We'll take the Badgers here at +16.5, maybe even +17 or more by kickoff.
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