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The Big Ten title game will be decided this weekend as the Badgers square off with Ohio State in a rematch from late October. The Buckeyes won the previous meeting and covered handily, taking the game 38-7.
Their dominance showed in every way, and the Badgers inability to score cost us our over bet and handed the weekly betting preview its lone 0-2 Saturday of the season. That means not only will be the Badgers be looking for revenge on the field, but we’ll be looking for revenge in our pocket book.
Last week, the Badgers covered easily, and if you listened to my advice and played the ML as well, you got out of there a big winner despite the under not hitting. That puts the column at 16-8 on the season, so we’re in the green already. However, the nice thing about money is you can always make more. Let’s give it a go.
Similar to last time, the Badgers come into this game as double digit underdogs with the spread opening at 18 in favor of OSU. Since then the line has crept down to the 16.5 to 17.5 range. The total for this game opened at 52 and has steadily been bet up to 56.5 over the course of the week. I think both numbers have some value, but first lets look at some notable trends for this Big Ten title bout.
- Ohio State is 9-1 straight up against Wisconsin in their last ten meetings
- Ohio State is 8-2 against the spread (ATS) against Wisconsin in their last ten meetings
- Ohio State is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games
- Wisconsin is 2-4 ATS in their last six games
- Wisconsin is 0-2 ATS in Big Ten Championship games under Paul Chryst
- The total has gone over in 4 of the last ten meetings between OSU and Wisconsin
- The total has gone over in 4 of Wisconsin's last 6 games
ATS Pick: Wisconsin (+17.5)
Overall, I think this line is interesting in a lot of different ways. Obviously, when you look at the 38-7 score from the first bout between these teams you might see this as a no-brainer. In fact, favorites in general are a strong play as each one came out victorious in last year’s conference championship weekend.
While that may appear as a trend, it also means maybe it’s time for some regression to the mean. Overall, I like a lot of dogs this weekend and hope we see it. In terms of this game, I think there has been some overreaction because of that first meeting. However a lot of people forget that last time was a 10-7 game in the third quarter.
Obviously that’s nothing to hang your hat on as the Badgers gave up 28 straight unanswered, but I think it shows that Wisconsin had a recipe, at least defensively, to make this a game. In addition to that, I think the offense is poised to have more success this time around after the execution last week and the fact that you have an entire game tape from October to see what went right and what went wrong.
I expect this to be a game like the 2017 title game, so take the points in this one. Lastly, you’ve got to sprinkle a little moneyline here as well. At +490, you can pay for your ticket and then some if the upset happens with just a little spare change. Not a bad idea to take a possible good night to a great one. This will be me at the bars in Indy should that happen.....
Over/Under? Over 58
As mentioned above, I think the Badgers offense is going to have more success in this football game than they did the last time around. Good execution, better line play and lack of inclement weather should open up the offense enough to score more than seven points.
Additionally, I think the Badgers will have a better gameplan to neutralize Chase Young the way Michigan did a week ago. Overall, I am much more confident about the Badger offense coming into this game than I was in October. As for the defense, the Badgers played well for a good portion, and I think they should have a gameplan to execute the same way in this game. However, there are a few things that make me nervous about this total on both sides.
Firstly, in favor of the over, Lucas Oil Stadium is indoor turf that is notorious for being a racetrack. Since the implementation of the title game in 2011 the over has hit in 6 of the 8 title games. Speed kills in Indy, and were not talking the 500 here.
However, on the opposite, I would be concerned with the knee of Justin Fields after dealing with a sprained MCL the last two weeks. If he isn’t 100%, OSU may turn to a more ground focused attack which should help the Badgers defensively and burn some more clock. With two great defenses and the potential for OSU’s offense to adapt, this game could slow down more than people think. Let’s just hope these teams don’t tear up the track like last time!