Big 10 Championship Preview — Ohio State Hopes to Win and Get In
|327: OHIO ST
Last Updated: 2017-11-29
It is not a slam dunk that the winner of the Big 10 championship game on Saturday is going to make it into the four-team college football playoff. Well, if the Wisconsin Badgers emerge victorious against the Ohio State Buckeyes, there is little doubt that, with it undefeated record, they are going to earn an entry. But if Ohio State wins, you’re going to have a lot of controversy over whether a team with two losses deserves to be there ahead of others who might have just a single defeat. This game will get underway at 8 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and if you are a VietBet customer, you can get reduced juice before the game, giving you better value against the college football betting odds, and then, after the game has kicked off, you can get your fill of real-time time wagering with Live Betting Ultra.
Wisconsin is ranked #3 in the nation in both major polls, while Ohio State is tied for seventh in the Coaches’ poll and #8 with the Associated Press. The Buckeyes, of course, are coming off their annual blood rivalry game against Michigan, where they took control late and emerged with a 31-20 decision, which barely missed covering the pointspread. In that game they only got 124 passing yards, but their defense slowed down Jim Harbaugh’s ground attack considerably.
Wisconsin was a 31-0 winner over Minnesota, and it was a masterful defensive performance, as they held the Golden Gophers to three completions, eight first downs and 133 total yards. Statistically speaking, this is the nation’s best stop unit, although there is little question that they will have their biggest challenge of the year on their hands this weekend.
In the Big 10 championship odds posted at VietBet, Ohio State is laying points:
Ohio State Buckeyes -6.5 (-120)
Wisconsin Badgers +6.5 (+100)
Over 52.5 points -110
Under 52.5 points -110
The big objection you’re going to get about Wisconsin involves its schedule. And the non-conference portion, it was not very challenging, and they out-scored Utah State, Florida Atlantic and BYU by a combined 130-30. And they managed to avoid a lot of land mines in the Big 10 season, although it needs to be mentioned that they did win by decisive margins against Iowa – which routed Ohio State – and Michigan. Still, there have to be questions unanswered about this squad, despite the 12-0 straight-up record. The Badgers are also 8-4 against the college football pointspread.
If there is an objection to Ohio State (10-2 straight-up, 5-7 ATS) making the Final Four as a two-loss team, it is that they suffered defeats in ignominious fashion, losing 31-16 at home to Oklahoma and having its offense shut down in the process, then going to Iowa and getting blown out 55-24 by the Hawkeyes, although it should be mentioned that they were coming down off a big victory against Penn State the week before.
VietBet patrons know that Ohio State has pretty good defensive numbers, but statistically, Wisconsin is simply off the hook; they are #1 in the nation in rushing defense, total defense and passing efficiency defense, as well as #2 in scoring defense. In the metric of Efficiency on defense, they are no lower than third. They seem to have enough to equip themselves to go up against an Ohio State offense that is going to undoubtedly be a huge challenge. Interestingly enough, however, JT Barrett went into that game with Iowa with only one interception on the season, and he has thrown six in the last four games. In defense of the Buckeyes, they’ve got a tremendous freshman running back in JK Dobbins (1190 yards), who is now getting help from the previously-injured Mike Weber, and that’s a pretty good 1-2 combo. Nothing wrong with these wide receivers either, including Parris Campbell, so this is a well-rounded attack. But if you can make Barrett throw the ball, the effectiveness lessons a bit.
Wisconsin would appear to have the stop unit to hang right in there, and they also have a freshman running back who deserves to be a Heisman Trophy candidate. Jonathan Taylor has run for 1806 yards (with seven yards a carry), and his presence will contribute to the Badgers being able to hang in there. Last season these teams played into overtime, and you know that Wisconsin has awful memories of the last time they were in this conference championship game, as they were slapped around to the tune of 59-0 by Cardale Jones and the Buckeyes. Let’s take the points in this one.
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