The Ohio State Buckeyes don’t just want to take home their third straight conference title when the face the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game Saturday. Ohio State is aiming to lock down its spot atop the College Football Playoff rankings and ride the No. 1 seed to the National Championship.
Oddsmakers opened the Buckeyes as 16.5-point favorites facing the Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. If you’re betting on the college football odds for the Big Ten Championship, here are some sports picks and angles to factor into your handicapping.
The Big Ten titans clashed back in Week 9 of the schedule, with Ohio State rolling to a 38-7 win in Columbus. The Badgers kept the Buckeyes in check – for the most part – in the first half, trailing 10-0 at the break. However, OSU would erupt for 28 points in the final two quarters – a bit of a departure for an offense that does the bulk of its scoring in the first 30 minutes.
Ohio State averages 30 points per first half on the year – the most in the nation – while scoring just under 20 points on average in the second half. This trend mostly has to do with the Buckeyes blowing out opponents and cruising to the finish line in the final two frames, yanking starters and running the clock out.
If Wisconsin wants to stand a chance this weekend, it will need to once again put the breaks on the Buckeyes attack early on. The Badgers defenses ranks ninth in points allowed per game (14.6), with just 5.3 of those average points coming in the first half (fifth lowest in the FBS).
Ohio State has won seven straight matchups with Wisconsin, posting a 5-1-1 ATS mark in those games.
Wisconsin’s best plan of attack in the Big Ten title game is to bring the game speed to a crawl by running the ball and chewing up the clock. The Badgers have one of the best running backs in the country in Jonathan Taylor, who posted three straight games of 204 yards are more from Weeks 11 to 13.
Taylor had just 52 yards on 20 carries in the first meeting with Ohio State and with the Buckeyes jumping out to a big lead, Wisconsin was forced to abandon the run and go pass heavy in the second half of that loss.
The Buckeyes are fourth in yards allowed on the ground per game at 91.5 but should the Badgers hold them close early on, expect a slow-motion approach to the top time of possession team in the country, at 36:07 TOP per outing.
The Over/Under betting total for the Big Ten Championship Game is at 54.5 – jumping two points from its opener of 52.5. Ohio State and Wisconsin played Under the total in their Week 9 meeting and are 3-6-1 Over/Under in their last 10 head-to-head matchups, going back to 2008.
On the season, the Buckeyes are 6-5-1 O/U while the Badgers own a 6-6 O/U count in 2019.