Wisconsin Badgers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick 10/26/19
Wisconsin Badgers (6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 9
Date and Time: Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12pm ET
Point Spread:WISC +14/OSU -14 (WagerWeb)
Wisconsin at Ohio State was supposed to be a match-up of playoff contenders but a lackluster effort against Illinois last week sent UW from the ranks of the unbeaten and took a little juice from this weekend’s contest. It is still a huge game, and perhaps a ticked-off group of Badgers will be able to play spoiler in Columbus. This was to be a game of convenience for Wisconsin, meaning a close loss wouldn’t ultimately hurt their CFP Playoff chances if they eventually beat OSU in the Big Ten Championship. Now, it is a must-win scenario for UW as they trail Minnesota in the West, and any playoff hopes hinge on what would be two potential victories against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have made quick work of just about every opponent this season with their closest contests decided by at least 24 points. The voices that say Ohio State is the best team in the land are growing loud and will be louder still if they can get another dominant win this weekend.
We’ve Seen This Before
Ohio State has won each of the last six games between the teams dating back to 2011 but outside of a 59-0 result in 2014, every game has been decided by seven points or fewer over that stretch, with two going into overtime. If you look at those six games from a very macro-level, you find a lot of similarities to what we see ahead of Saturday. We typically get a top-5 or so ranked Buckeye squad up against a Badger team ranked in the mid-teens, and that is again the case. Wisconsin is the underdog but often has a puncher’s chance to give Ohio State problems, especially if the Badger running game is successful and their defense can hold. All that is again true so it will be interesting to see if OSU can push ahead and separate to cover the 14-points or if Wisconsin will bounce-back and keep this a one-score game like they have several times.
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The loss at Illinois gives the potential to misread this game, in my opinion. I wonder what we would be saying if Wisconsin escaped with a close win last week? Would we say they dodged a bullet, and surviving a scare gives them a better chance of playing well this weekend? Nobody knows for sure, but one thing that is getting glossed over is that Jack Coan is proving to be a capable thrower. With Illinois holding Wisconsin to 158 rushing yards and 3.8 yards per carry, Coan hit on 24-of-32 throws for 264 yards. He did throw a late interception that, in part, allowed the Illini win, but he was solid overall, and he will need to produce this weekend if Wisconsin has any chance. For the season, Coan is 2nd in the NCAA in pass completions at 76% and has nine touchdowns against two interceptions. Jonathan Taylor is still fantastic at 6.1 yards per carry with 19 total touchdowns, but his legs alone aren’t likely enough to keep up with Ohio State’s 3rd ranked offense.
Ohio State has an embarrassment of statistical riches, and they come on both sides of the ball. They are 5th in total yards and scoring 49.7 points per game, but the defense is pulling just as much weight, ranking 2nd in both yards and points allowed. Justin Fields has thrown for 22 touchdowns against one interception while adding eight rushing scores. Wisconsin has handled running quarterbacks well under Jim Leonhard, but Fields is probably the best dual-threat QB they have faced. J.K. Dobbins is closing in on 1,000 rushing yards on the season with seven scores, and the OSU receivers are a Swiss-Army Knife corps. Binjimin Victor (18.7 ypr) handles the deep stuff with KJ Hill (29/294/4) handling the possession routes, and Chris Olave leads the team with six receiving touchdowns. Wisconsin is first against the pass, allowing just 135 yards per game but the sheer volume of Buckeye playmakers is going to stress any defense.
Wisconsin does have some good ATS trends rolling into Saturday with a 4-0 record against the spread in the last four against an opponent with a winning record. They are 5-1 ATS immediately following a straight-up loss, and the underdog is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in the series. Ohio State has won the last six against the spread in Big Ten play and has a 6-1 ATS mark in the last seven at home.
Ohio State is the only team in the NCAA that is ranked in the top-3 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. That is a killer-combo that has their average game ending 49-8. Wisconsin isn’t too far off that in how their games have gone, but they showed they are a step behind the very best teams, and OSU is going to be able to handle a momentum-less Badger squad in Columbus. Maybe it would be different in Madison or perhaps even on a championship stage in Indianapolis, but this match is too much for UW and Ohio State gets a 36-17 win.
Ted’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Ohio State
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