Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Big Ten Battle
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: E.J. Liddell
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Ohio State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Big Ten basketball is underway, and Saturday’s matchup features two ranked teams that have both been pleasant surprises to start the year.
The Wisconsin Badgers hit the road fresh off a 22-point, come-from-behind victory on Wednesday against Indiana. The Badgers are 8-1 and after losing a ton of key rotation pieces from a year ago are one one of the biggest surprises in the entire country.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State Buckeyes have gotten off to a strong start of their own and are doing so with a few key players still on the mend. Chris Holtmann hopes to get Justice Sueing and Seth Towns back in the near future, but until then he will continue to ride his core pieces, most notably E.J. Liddell.
The winner of this matchup will move to 2-0 in conference play and enter the holiday break with a ton of momentum. Expect a loud Value City Arena despite the early tip time.
It’s still early December and Wisconsin has already notched wins over Texas A&M, Houston, St. Mary’s, Georgia Tech, Marquette and Indiana.
It’s been an incredible start for Greg Gard’s team. The biggest reason why — Johnny Davis. Plain and simple, Davis is a flat out pro. The sophomore is averaging 20.5 PPG in his first eight games, grabbing six boards a game and shooting 40% from three.
Davis has been the man the Badgers can throw it to when they need a bucket, and he is delivering more times than not. Toss in the veteran presence of Brad Davison and a vastly improved Tyler Wahl, and you can see how Wisconsin is winning all of these games.
Chucky Hepburn is running the point as a true freshman, but thus far has played much older than his age, as shown Wednesday when he knocked down the clinching free throws against the Hoosiers.
I still have some concerns about the overall shooting for Wisconsin, but this team is really guarding and Steven Crowl and Chris Vogt have done a great job on the glass.
After Saturday’s tilt with the Buckeyes, the Badgers should not be tested again until January 3rd when they head to West Lafayette to take on Purdue. Thus, this is a great opportunity for Gard’s team to notch another impressive resume win before the turn of the calendar.
Throughout his tenure in Columbus, Holtmann has always played a difficult non-conference schedule. This year is no exception.
Ohio State already has two impressive victories, beating Seton Hall by three on a neutral floor, and handing Duke its only loss of the season in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The two losses came by six in a road game at Xavier, and at the buzzer to Florida in the championship game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off.
The Buckeyes have been without two rotation pieces from a year ago in Towns and Sueing. In their absence, Zed Key has really stepped up and Kyle Young remains one of the best glue guys in the country.
Most importantly, Liddell continues to be the driving force behind the Buckeyes’ offense. Liddell is incredibly efficient, shooting 54% from the field on 12+ attempts a game. He can shoot it from distance, has an effective mid-range game and knows how to score with his back to the basket.
The Buckeyes started Big Ten play with a road victory over Penn State, and this is a big opportunity for them to get to 2-0 in league play before facing Kentucky in Vegas next week.
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Betting Pick
I expect this to be a very competitive and hard-fought conference matchup between two teams playing really well right now.
The home Buckeyes opened as a short favorite at -4.5. I think the Buckeyes will pull this one out, but I don’t feel that comfortable laying the points in what should be a tight one.
Instead, I think the value lies on the under in this game. Neither of these teams play incredibly fast from a tempo standpoint, and both really value the basketball.
Wisconsin ranks inside the top 20 in defensive efficiency, per Ken Pom, and although the Buckeyes haven’t started quite as strong defensively as in recent years, Holtmann teams always force you to make tough shots and limit teams to one shot a possession.
I’m playing the under in this game, in what should be a great conference battle in Columbus.