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Wisconsin Football at Ohio State Betting Preview

Can the Badgers cover as three score underdogs against the Buckeyes?

NCAA Football: Washington State at Wisconsin Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Last week Wisconsin finished up its non-conference slate against New Mexico State and they did so in style as the Badgers rolled 66-7. Wisconsin covered the spread with relative ease, but unfortunately for the betting column the under was never really possible as New Mexico State couldn't get out of their own way. That puts us again at 1-1 on the week and 3-3 overall. Hopefully, you’re reading my national betting column to make up for it, as that column is 14-0 in the last two weeks.

This week, the Badgers face a much bigger test as they travel to Columbus to take on the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State comes into the contest as large favorites with the spread currently sitting at 18 points. The total for this contest currently sits at 57 points. Let's dive into both of these numbers.

(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.)

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Barbara Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

ATS Pick: Ohio State (-18)

Overall, I don't have a great feel for this spread. The number is spot on. In my personal numbers that I do I make this spread 17 in favor of the Buckeyes so it does show some value on the Badgers at +18 but not enough for me to take it personally.

This game feels like it could be a lot like the last time these two teams met in Indianapolis. Wisconsin got out to an early lead in the first half, but eventually, Ohio State started to get things going. In the end, Wisconsin did cover that 2019 matchup, but Ohio State had multiple opportunities to cover and didn’t. I feel like Wisconsin could hang around in the ten to fourteen-point range for most of this game, but eventually, Ohio State finds a way to strike quickly late and put it away to cover.

Total Pick: Over 57

When you think of Ohio State’s offense you think of points, points, and more points. As you should. This offense is coming off a week in which they put up 77 on Toledo. They are the best in college football. Any single week they can put 40 on you with ease. That said, I look more toward the over in this spot due to what the Badgers might do offensively against this Buckeyes defense.

This off-season Ohio State went out and spent nearly two million dollars on defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to try and fix that side of the football. Has it worked? So far, meh, not really. In watching the Toledo/Ohio State contest last week the Buckeye secondary looked a bit suspect to me. Toledo hit multiple big plays through the air and continually was able to hit for chunk yardage.

Look. I am not going to say Wisconsin is going to come out here and throw it all over the field, but the numbers say they might want to consider taking to the air more often. Currently, the Badgers rank third in the nation in passing down success rate. Yes, when Wisconsin has taken to the air they’ve had more success than the likes of USC, Tennessee, and.... Ohio State. Now, sucess rate isn’t a perfect model but it does show that Wisconsin’s offense has been best when it puts it in the air. As for the Badgers rushing success rate? It ranks just 47th.

Additionally, the Badgers have looked rather explosive when throwing the ball down the field. Currently, Wisconsin ranks 8th in the country in offensive explosiveness. On the flip side, Ohio State’s defense ranks 122nd in explosive plays allowed. The blueprint is right there for the Badgers to put up points. Will they do it? Who knows, but if they do, I think both teams can put up some points in this contest.