Wisconsin Ohio State Free College Football Pick against the Spread

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Ohio State

Big 10


Football Pick


The Big Ten Championship Game is probably one of the more interesting Games to bet on this weekend. With J.T. Barrett done for the season, the early money has come in on Wisconsin, as the Badgers opened as a -3.5 point favorite at 5 Dimes and betonline, with the number staying around -4 for the most part.

Barrett has made this group maybe even more dynamic than last year’s as his passing has been a boost for this offense. Instead, sophomore QB Cardale Jones will get the call for OSU at Ford Field. Jones is a bigger quarterback at 6-5 and 250 pounds and that could see him rush plenty with this offense, using his size as the main weapon. In spot time this year, mainly in blowouts, Jones averaged close to eight yards per carry.

Because of the limited work that Jones has had the past two years, Wisconsin has been watching tape from Jones’ high school days. There’s no doubt the kid can play since he was recruited to Ohio State, but will he have what it takes in his first career start on a huge stage?

The Badgers actually have a top-five defense in the country, allowing 16.8 points per Game, but take that with a grain of salt after looking at their Schedule. They’ve allowed 24 points in three straight Games against tougher competition in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. The defense is good, but they haven’t faced an elite offense all season.

It’s doubtful that Urban Meyer will change up his playbook too much for this Game because he’ll want to show confidence in his new QB. While Jones is fresh and inexperienced, this offense is still a solid unit. They have good receivers, and Ezekiel Elliott (1,182 yards, 10 TDs) has been a beast this year out of the backfield.

On the other end, Wisconsin has a slight edge with arguably the best running back in the nation, Melvin Gordon, who has 2,260 yards and 26 TDs on the season. Ohio State’s defense hasn’t been amazing this year and can be beat as teams have shown throughout the year, mainly Michigan State and Michigan. If the Wolverines had success against this run defense, one would have to think that Gordon would as well.

Even with Jones getting his first career start, he’s still probably better than who Wisconsin will use at QB with Joel Stave. While he lost the job at the beginning of the season, he’s held onto it by playing as a mostly safe Game manager. That’s really all that’s needed with this team, though. However, if this turns out to be a close Game and Stave is forced to make some throws, the Ohio State defense has the advantage in that situation.

Stave actually threw for 295 yards in last year’s meeting in which OSU won 31-24, but that was with Jared Abbrederis on the team (he caught 207 of those yards). The Badgers are 119th in the nation with 147.8 passing yards per Game.

If Cardale Jones is at least competent, there’s no reason Ohio State can’t stay in this matchup, as long as Melvin Gordon doesn’t bust out for another 200-plus yard Game.

The Badgers are 1-5 ATS in their last six neutral site Games and only 2-6 ATS in their last eight following an ATS loss. The Buckeyes don’t have many trends, but are 29-14-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. OSU has not covered in three straight, while Wisconsin hasn’t covered in two straight. The underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in the last Four meetings between these teams and the Buckeyes are 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven.

Bottom line in this one for us is that we had Wisconsin winning this one by 3 to 7 and that was WITH Barrett in the lineup. That margin has to increase with an inexperienced QB now in the lineup. We’ll a the number here with the Badgers. Wisconsin -4

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