No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) vs. No. 18 Wisconsin
Badgers (5-1 SU, 1-5 ATS), Week 7 NCAA Football, 7:00 p.m. EST,
Saturday, October 16, 2010, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis., TV:
by Badger, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: OSU -4/Wisc +4
Over/Under Total: 49
Make Ohio State a +16 underdog by placing them into a 20 point football teaser at the web’s best sportsbook: 5Dimes.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have passed all of their pop-quizzes thus far
this season, but this week theyll face their first real true test of
the season when they travel on the road to Madison to take on the
18th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in a night game at Camp Randall Stadium on ESPN.
And if that wasnt enough pressure for the Buckeyes, theyll have the
bullseye square on their backs as the newly anointed No. 1 ranked
team in the land thanks to the stumble by the Crimson Tide last weekend.
Ohio State continued on their march toward the BCS with another
impressive performance in their 38-10 victory over Indiana last
Saturday. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor set new collegiate records with
24 completions (30 attempts) and 334 yards and three touchdowns in
just over three quarters of action against the Hoosiers, and the
Buckeyes defense continued to dominate by holding an Indiana offense
that had 568 yards and 35 points the week before to just 210 yards of
But theyll run into a Wisconsin team that is rejuvenated thanks to
last weeks 41-23 victory over the rival Minnesota Gophers in the
battle for the axe. The Badgers running game got back on track after
losing its wheels at Michigan State the week prior, rolling up 250
yards on the ground and moving the chains on seven of their nine 3rd-
down attempts in the win.
The betting public seems to like this spot for the Badgers too, a
game the folks in Madison have been waiting for since the end of last
season, since Ohio State originally opened as 6-point favorites on
the road. Now the point spread is all the way down to 4-points after
the early steam at the window, and its even dropped to 3.5 at a few
sportsbooks on the Web with all of the money pouring in on
the home dog.
The over/under total is still off the board at most books, but the
few that have already released a total for this game are opening it
In typical Big Ten Conference fashion both of these teams like to run
the ball on offense, they just choose to do it in different styles.
Ohio State prefers to spread you out and allow Pryor to read the
defense on the option, a style that has produced over 217 yards per
game against the early portion of their schedule. The Buckeyes also
do it by committee, with running backs Daniel Herron, Jamal Berry and
Carlos Hyde all getting the ball in various forms on the perimeter.
Wisconsin prefers to try and pound it down your throat with one of
the biggest offensive lines in all of football and 260-pound John
Clay following close behind, a style that is producing 240 yards per
game. The Badgers have even found a change-of-pace back in the speedy
freshman James White the last few weeks, so 45 rushing attempts by
the duo is part of the gameplan each week.
But even with all of that running the game is still going to come
down to which quarterback, Pryor or the Badgers Scott Tolzien, can
throw the ball more effectively out of play action.
Pryor has shown improvement all season long and is coming off of his
best passing game as a Buckeye last week, so the edge on paper
appears to go with Ohio State. Plus, Tolzien had his worst day as a
Badger last year in Columbus, throwing two interceptions that were
returned for touchdowns in a 31-13 loss.
You know Tolzien has been waiting for this game since he left the
Horseshoe, so his performance early in the game will be crucial to
the Badgers success. It will help if the Badgers can get Clay and the
ground game going, because if Tolzien has to attempt 45 passes like
he did last season it will turn into a long night for the home crowd.
The task of getting the ground game going will be a difficult one
because the Buckeyes front seven is one of the best in the land,
allowing a mere 78 yards a game thus far. Last week the Buckeyes
defense took apart Indianas passing game, so there appears to be
very few weaknesses for the Badgers to try and exploit.
Wisconsins defense is very suspect and doesnt have much depth along
the line or at linebacker, so if Ohio State is successful in
establishing a running game the Badgers will get tired and weaken in
the second half. The secondary has been torched the last two weeks in
the air too (269 yards vs. Mich St.; 249 vs. Minn.), so Pryor could
find some holes if he gets the time.
There are a few other interesting dynamics in this game to note too.
For one, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has never beaten Ohio State in
three tries, so as I mentioned before this game has been on Buckys
radar all offseason.
The Badgers and Buckeyes also have a history of playing each other
when Ohio State has been ranked No. 1 in the polls, back in 2007 when
the Buckeyes were the top-ranked team in the land and they went on
for a 38-17 victory (and cover as 16-point favorites) in Columbus.
Two years ago in Madison, Pryor broke the Badgers back with a last
minute touchdown run as the Buckeyes rallied for a 20-17 victory as 1-
If youre a fan of following betting trends then youll like to know
that the under is a perfect 5-0 in the last five head-to-head
meetings in Madison, its 6-2 in the last eight overall and its
7-0-1 in the Buckeyes last eight games on the road.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: With the line dropping a few points since it opened
it makes me even more convinced that the Buckeyes will cover. It will
be a typical grinder Buckeyes-Badgers game no doubt, but in the end
the Badgers simply cant hang with the more talented and deeper
Buckeyes for the full four quarters. Im taking Ohio State minus the 4 points.