Thursday College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers Betting Preview
John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Davis
- Wisconsin is a slight favorite in a crucial Big Ten battle against Ohio State on Thursday night.
- This game matches up two Player of the Year candidates in Johnny Davis and E.J. Liddell.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Odds
|Ohio State Odds|
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
The arrival of Johnny Davis has drastically changed the Big Ten landscape.
Behind Davis’ 22 PPG, Wisconsin is 13-2 and 4-1 in conference play. He’s building a legitimate National Player of the Year case.
However, there’s another Wooden Award candidate on the other end in this game. E.J. Liddell is leading a dominant Buckeyes offense while dropping 20 PPG himself.
Liddell and the Buckeyes came out victorious when these two met in early December. But will they hold the edge in Madison?
Chris Holtmann-led teams have a similar vibe. The Buckeyes are electric offensively and pathetic defensively.
Liddell leads a team that’s top 10 in KenPom offensive efficiency and eFG%. The Buckeyes can shoot from the perimeter (39.2 3P%) with Malaki Branham or dominate in the post (1.026 post-up PPP) with Liddell.
EJ Liddell scored 17 (!) points in the first 5️⃣ minutes. 😱@EasyE2432 // @OhioStateHoopspic.twitter.com/H4u4RqwFdY
— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) January 9, 2022
Additionally, the Buckeyes also get to the line often and make 76% of those free throws.
The offense can do everything. The defense can’t.
The interior defense has actually been pretty good. Kyle Young and Zed Key, alongside Liddell, power a defense that ranks above the 80th percentile in post-up PPP allowed and in the top 50 in block rate.
However, the perimeter defense is a nightmare. That backcourt ranks sub-300 in steal rate and non-steal turnover rate, meaning there’s basically no ball pressure there.
Moreover, it’s pretty easy to run the pick-and-roll against OSU. The team is 319th in pick-and-roll PPP allowed.
In my Big Ten conference preview, I said Wisconsin had a low ceiling due to the roster turnover.
Davis has changed everything.
The Wisconsin offense is horrifically inefficient. Altogether, the team is sub-270 in eFG%. However, Davis is a true go-to weapon who carries the team through scoring droughts.
Combine that with a solid defense, and the Badgers can beat any Big Ten team on any given night.
The backcourt is also underrated. Chucky Hepburn and Brad Davison are leading a team that’s second in turnover rate, including fourth in non-steal turnover rate and sixth in non-steal turnover rate.
The Badgers won’t turn the ball over.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick
I’m going to start putting respect on the Badgers’ name. I may be buying the team very high, but the Badgers are 10-5 ATS this season, including 7-4 ATS as a favorite.
Moreover, I like the matchup advantage here. Greg Gard’s swing offense likes to play on the perimeter, and that’ll take advantage of the Buckeyes’ weak perimeter defense.
Plus, look for the Badgers’ lengthy frontcourt — which includes two 7-footers and a frisky Tyler Wahl — to contain Liddell down low.
However, if this line gets bigger than -3, I will be staying away.
Pick: Wisconsin -2.5 (Play to -2.5)
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