A huge early-season matchup in the Big Ten is set to tip off on Saturday, when the Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State Buckeyes square off in Columbus. Both teams come into this contest with an 8-1 record, and with some solid wins on their resume in the first third of their season. But this Wisconsin Badgers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes matchup could be the toughest game of the season for both teams so far, thanks in large part to the familiarity between both sides that can only be fostered through years of conference play.
Both teams have been resilient this season, scoring notable wins in comeback fashion to get into the top-25. Wisconsin is coming off of one of those very comeback wins in their last contest, while the Buckeyes got their most notable win of the season via a comeback of their own. Because of that, the team that gets out to a hot start in this contest is by no means guaranteed to win, as it will take a solid 40 minutes to pick up this victory.
Wisconsin Badgers – In Need Of Consistent Play
The Wisconsin Badgers were down by double figures at halftime of their last game against the Indiana Hoosiers. But they held the Hoosiers to just 17 points in the second half of that game, allowing the Badgers to come back and secure a huge victory at home. Now, they go on the road to face Ohio State in a game that will serve as an interesting road test for a team that has struggled to play consistently strong basketball from half to half.
Wisconsin has played just one true road game so far this year, beating Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Everything else they have done has come either at home or at a neutral site, which may not have been the best preparation for a game on the road against a ranked Ohio State squad. It will be interesting to see how the Badgers do early in this game, as they can’t afford to fall behind like they did in their last outing.
Expected Line-Up: Brad Davison, Johnny Davis, Chucky Hepburn, Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl
with best odds
Ohio State Buckeyes – Another Huge Home Game
Ohio State is 8-1 on the season, just like the Wisconsin Badgers are. They have won three straight games on the year, beating Duke and Penn State during that stretch. And with home court advantage in this game, the Buckeyes will have to like their chances to pick up a win that would take them to 9-1 on the season and continue to move them up the college basketball rankings for this season.
The big advantage that the Buckeyes have over the Badgers is that they boast a more explosive offense. Ohio State averages just over six points per game more than the Badgers this season, and will look to press that advantage at home against a Wisconsin team that could be fatigued mentally after their comeback against Indiana. But the Buckeyes will need to be sharp from an execution standpoint, as the Badgers are stout defensively.
Expected Line-Up: Jamari Wheeler, Malaki Branham, Justin Ahrens, Zed Key, EJ Liddell
Expert Pick #1 – Ohio State -3.5 @ -110
The first bet to place on this game is on Ohio State -3.5 at -110 odds. The Badgers have gotten by on comeback wins too often so far this season, and another slow start is going to come back to bite them in the near future. That is going to be what happens in this game, as the Buckeyes are going to come out strong and never look back.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 136.5 @ -110
Next, it is worth placing a bet on the Over 135.5 at -110 odds for this Big Ten matchup. This total implies that Ohio State is going to be able to impose their will from a scoring perspective, in a game where it will likely take a score in the high-60s or even the 70s to come away with a win. Since we think they will impose their will by covering the spread, the over is the way to go in this matchup as well.
Expert Pick #3 – Ohio State -3.5 and Over 136.5 @ +260
Finally, a parlay bet of the Ohio State spread and the over at +260 odds is worth a go to close things out. There is a correlation between Ohio State and the over here, and putting them together will amplify the potential payout even if it isn’t the most high-percentage play.
This should be a good game between two good teams in the Big Ten, but Ohio State should be able to pull it out when all is said and done. Home court advantage and a more consistent team across 40 minutes most of the time should make them a heavier favorite than they actually are.