Pick – Analysis
The Big Ten Schedule is getting started for real this weekend. It may be early in the season, but the battle between Wisconsin and Ohio State will likely decide who’s going to the Big Ten Championship Game at the end of the season. These two teams are planted on top of the Leaders Division without much threat to being knocked off. The Badgers are already 1-0 in Conference play, but they only beat the worst team in the division.
Ohio State is currently a -7 point favorite at GTBets sportsbook. Ohio State has won outright in the past two meetings even after being underdogs in both Games. That includes a 21-14 win last year on the road.
In Wisconsin’s three wins, they’ve only allowed 10 points, but in their loss at Arizona State, they allowed 32 points. The Badgers will need to stop whoever is at quarterback because it’s unlikely they will be able to put up 30-40 points in Columbus.
Joel Stave has been okay at quarterback, but hasn’t done much in recent matchups. He’s not really a huge threat and when called upon, only completed 15-of-30 passes against the Sun Devils. against Purdue, Stave didn’t look all that great even though he wasn’t needed much. Stave will have to have his best Game of the season for the Badgers to win this one because it’s unlikely they’ll be able to use their power-rushing attack all Game long. With already almost 1,400 rushing yards and 15 TDs between three RBs, not many will stop Wisconsin on the ground, but this may be their toughest matchup. Montee Ball rushed for 191 yards in last year’s Game and they still only scored 14 points. If the Badgers have any trouble running the ball, a lot of pressure will be on Stave.
The Buckeyes haven’t had a true rushing test yet, as their toughest Game came against the pass-heavy Golden Bears so it will be interesting to see how they plan on containing Melvin Gordon and James White. That being said, does Wisconsin have enough to stop the Ohio State offense? After having problems against Arizona State, it’s very unlikely they can overcome OSU on the road.
After scoring 128 points in the last two weeks, it doesn’t really matter who OSU has playing at quarterback because both guys have looked deadly. Braxton Miller could be back this week, but Kenny Guiton has looked great filling in with 14 TDs compared to two interceptions. He’s found Devin Smith and Corey Brown with regularity in the passing Game. The Buckeyes also have a great rushing Game with Jordan Hall, who already has eight touchdowns and 422 yards.
Wisconsin has covered in every Game this year, while Ohio State has now covered in three straight. The Buckeyes are also 7-1 ATS in their last eight overall and 7-0 ATS in their last seven following a straight up win. The underdog is 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings between these teams, but the Badgers have only covered once in the past six matchups.