Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Odds & Picks: Can Anybody Hang with the Buckeyes?
David Banks, USA Today Sports. Pictured: J.K. Dobbins
- Ohio State vs. Wisconsin odds are taking their final shape on Saturday morning.
- The Buckeyes are a two-touchdown favorite after the Badgers let-down loss to Illinois last week.
Wisconsin at Ohio State Odds
- Odds: Ohio State -14.5
- Over/Under: 48.5
- Moneyline: OSU -631 | Wisconsin +450
- Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
Wisconsin’s loss to Illinois certainly took some of the air out of the Badgers’ trip to Columbus to take on a seemingly unstoppable Ohio State team. It’s also made bettors take a real hard look at whether they want to back Wisconsin.
The Buckeyes look scary-good, ranking top 10 nationally in pretty much every statistical category on both sides of the ball.
Does Wisconsin have any chance to keep this thing close? Let’s dive in.
Wisconsin at Ohio State Line Movement
Even with a two-touchdown spread, bettors aren’t exactly flocking to bet the Badgers this weekend after last week’s loss. Only 31% of tickets have landed on Wisconsin, pushing the line off a key number and to -14.5.
Only 38% of bettors are expecting this game to go under, but they’ve generated 52% of actual money, meaning they’re making significantly bigger bets. That’s dropped the total to 48.5. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: No Edges for Wisconsin
Even with Wisconsin’s gaudy advanced statistics — I mean, the Badgers had not trailed all season until Illinois’ game-winning field goal, so you could guess their underlying numbers are strong — Ohio State’s numbers are better while playing a tougher schedule.
The Buckeyes are…
- No. 5 in rush explosiveness
- No. 3 in passing success rate
- No. 7 in defensive rushing success rate
- No. 2 in defensive yards per play
- No. 5 in offensive yards per play
We can expect the Buckeyes will stack the box against Jonathan Taylor and force quarterback Jack Coan to beat them. This was the game plan for Illinois, and after an interception with 3 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, that plan paid off.
This game comes down to the Ohio State secondary in single coverage against Wisconsin receivers. Jeff Okudah, Shaun Wade, Damon Arnette and Jordan Fuller should be up to the challenge, as Ohio State has 10 interceptions to rank top 10 in the nation.
The equation is simple for Wisconsin to cover this number — keep Chase Young and the Buckeyes defense out of the your backfield to give Coan a shot while limiting Justin Fields targets deep. Easier said than done.
Our projection is Ohio State -16.5, and this number should continue to climb over two touchdowns and settle just south of 17. Wisconsin looked terrible in pressure situations last week, and that should be no different when the Badgers visit the Horseshoe. — Collin Wilson
Collin’s Pick: Ohio State -14 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Stuckey: Can Badgers Exploit One Key OSU Weakness?
How good is the Wisconsin defense? I don’t think we really know. The Badger defense ranks near the top in almost every major statistical category but they have yet to play an offense with a pulse. I pretty much have to go on what I have seen.
Defensive coordinator Jim Leonard is going to bring pressure in his aggressive 3-4 scheme. And one thing I do know about the Wisconsin defense from watching them is they have an excellent set of linebackers that can get to the quarterback.
The Badgers rank in the top 5 nationally in almost every pressure and sack category nationally. And if you look at this Ohio State team, which I think as of right now is the best and most complete team in the country, the only potential weakness I can identify is their offensive line in passing situations. A few injuries haven’t helped matters.
Justin Fields is getting pressured frequently, holds onto the ball too long at times and the Buckeyes actually rank 79th in Passing Downs Sack Rate. The Badgers defense ranks fourth in that category.
The primary concern I have about the Wisconsin defense is its secondary, specifically its ability to keep up with the elite speed Ohio State has on the outside — that’s been the biggest thing separating these two teams in the last decade, when Ohio State won five of the last six.
The Badgers allowed a few big passing plays to Illinois, which ultimately cost them the game. The Buckeyes don’t rely on one or two targets as they spread the ball around to many different targets, making it even more difficult to cover them.
If Wisconsin cannot generate consistent pressure and bring Fields down for a few negative plays that lead to punts, Ohio State will hit many chunk plays and the Wisconsin offense, which lacks explosiveness, simply won’t be able to keep up.
I actually make this game Ohio State -14, so I won’t be getting involved in a side pregame, but the under has my attention. — Stuckey
What Can We Trust in This Matchup?
Here are the things I trust:
- Wisconsin will go with a run heavy attack and try to play keep away by bleeding the clock.
- The Badgers play slow.
- Wisconsin’s front 7.
- Ohio State’s defense as a whole.
I actually think Ohio State can contain Taylor, who has been bottled up against the two elite run defenses (Michigan State and Northwestern) he’s faced this year.
I am worried that Ohio State will try to come out and play very fast as coach Ryan Day has alluded to this week, which may keep me off a pregame under. Stay tuned on The Action Network app to see if I play it live or get something in before the game. — Stuckey
Miller: Illinois Showed the Blueprint
Wisconsin is stepping up in class in a big way on Saturday.
I still believe that Wisconsin’s run defense is good, but Ohio State runs a similar offense to the one Illinois used to knock off the Badgers. The Buckeyes just do it with elite, 5-star athletes all over the field.
Ohio State’s defense has been just as impressive as their offense. I don’t want to put too much stock into Wisconsin’s game last week, but Illinois showed how to stop Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers’ running game. Just like on offense, Ohio State will be able to replicate that game plan with much better athletes.
In order for Wisconsin to avoid a blowout in this game, Jack Coan will have to prove that he can make passes when they get into obvious passing downs. I don’t think he’ll be able to do that against this elite Ohio State defense. — Kyle Miller
Kyle’s Pick: Ohio State -14.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]