NCAAM Pick January 23, 2021 – Ohio State Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers

What an absolute blockbuster day we have in store for you today on the college hoops hardwood. With 131 games on the schedule, there are great matchups being played all day long today. The early action comes to us from Norman, Oklahoma where the Sooners will try and knock off the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12. Other early games featuring ranked teams include Houston playing at Temple, Creighton hosting UCONN in a clash between two ranked teams, and Virginia Tech playing at Syracuse in the ACC.

Later in the day, the action heats up as Tennessee and Missouri square off in Knoxville, with both teams ranked in the top-25 nationally. Clemson and Florida State play with the Seminoles looking to avenge their early-season loss to the Tigers. In other ACC action, the Duke Blue Devils will try to snap their losing streak at Louisville against the Cardinals. The late game in the ACC comes to us from Charlottesville, where the first place Virginia Cavaliers will look to stay undefeated in league play against an overachieving Georgia Tech team.

Other ranked teams that are scheduled to play today include the nation’s top team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs playing Pacific in the WCC. The red-hot Alabama Crimson Tide will look to win another game in the SEC, as they play Mississippi State in Tuscaloosa. Out west, we have Stanford and UCLA playing in the PAC-12, and Oregon and Oregon State renewing their annual Civil War series in Eugene. For our free daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 10 for the game between Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Today’s Game

  • Ohio State Buckeyes (11-4) at Wisconsin Badgers (12-3)
  • Kohl’s Center, Madison
  • 1:00 PM PST
  • TV: CBS

The top conference in the country, the Big 10, will see two of their best teams square off today as the Wisconsin Badgers host the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Badgers are hoping to take advantage of recent losses from Iowa and Michigan to move up the standings in the Big 10 today with a win over Ohio State. Wisconsin has won 4 out of their last 5 games, and a win tonight at home would be their 9th against the top-100 this season.

For Ohio State, the Buckeyes saw their 3-game winning streak snapped in their last game, as they lost to the Purdue Boilermakers for the second time this season. After going undefeated in the non-conference, the Buckeyes have struggled in Big 10 play, as they are just 5-4 in conference. The Bucks have managed to pick up road wins at Illinois and at Rutgers and would love nothing more than to pick up yet another road win tonight in Madison.

Spread:

  • Wisconsin Badgers (-4)
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (+4)
Money line:

  • Wisconsin Badgers (-200)
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (+160)
Total Points:

  • Over 133 (-110)
  • Under 133 (-110)

Wisconsin Badgers (12-3)

We all knew that wins were going to be tough to come by in the Big 10, and after seeing the Michigan Wolverines get smoked at Minnesota last week, we have now seen each team in the league lose at least one game. It is always hard to remember how good leagues are when we see them beat each other’s brains in for months during conference play, and teams we all thought were elite start racking up losses. But here is a quick reminder, losing in the Big 10 doesn’t mean you still aren’t really good!

Yeah, so Wisconsin lost Michigan and Maryland. It happens. Michigan could be a 1-seed, and Maryland seems to be a lock to be dancing in March as well. Neither of those losses change the fact that Wisconsin has wins over Loyola-Chicago, Rhode Island, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Indiana, and Rutgers. There might not be a team in the nation that can go toe to toe with the Badger’s resume of quality victories, and losses are going to happen when you play in a league as good as the Big 10. If these recent slip-ups have you thinking that Wisconsin isn’t a potential 3rd-weekend team this season, you need to get your eyes checked as this team is the real deal.

Ohio State Buckeyes (11-4)

We are about to find out how good this Ohio State team really is. The Bucks played a fairly soft non-conference schedule, and while the wins over UCLA and Notre Dame were nice ones, the wins over bottom feeders like Morehead State, Illinois State, and UMASS-Lowell have inflated the win total just a bit for the Buckeyes. Even a couple of their Big 10 wins aren’t great ones as the wins over Northwestern and Nebraska came to teams that won’t be hearing their names called on Selection Sunday, and the two wins over Rutgers looked a lot better when the Scarlet Knights weren’t 3-6 in conference play and fading towards the wrong side of the bubble.

After today’s game in Madison, one of the toughest places for opposing teams to win in the nation, Ohio State has upcoming games against Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. You would think that the Buckeyes have done enough to justify an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament at this point, but if they can’t pick it up in Big 10 play, they are going to get closer to the cut line than they are comfortable with. Projecting ahead on the schedule for Ohio State shows me that the Buckeyes are going to really struggle to stay above .500, and a losing record in league play is always a nasty blemish you don’t want on your resume on Selection Sunday.

Who Do I Like?

Ohio State lost on the road at Northwestern, Minnesota, and Purdue. And as I mentioned above, losing on the road in the Big 10 isn’t anything to be ashamed of. But it’s hard to argue that either of those three teams were anywhere near as good as Wisconsin is this year, particularly when the Badgers are at home. Wisconsin has always been one of the best home court teams in the Big 12, and this year is no different as they are 10-1 at the Kohl’s Center. I think that Wisconsin wins this game. The question is, do they cover the spread?

This line opened up at Wisconsin laying -4-points. Most books have moved this number to -4.5, and I have even seen a couple of -5’s floating around out there. I hate to nitpick on a half of a point, but in the Big 10, where games are almost always tightly contested, you are going to want to line shop this one and make sure that you are getting the sharpest line available. I locked it in this morning at Wisconsin -4-points, and you need to do the same before you end up laying more wood than you need to.

The Bet

Wisconsin has just been too good this year at home not to expect them to win and cover against an Ohio State team that has been shaky at best on the road. The Badgers beat Louisville by nearly 40-points at home, and their wins over Northwestern, Minnesota, Loyola-Chicago, and Rhode Island all came by double-digits. That is what I see happening again today.

The Buckeyes will put up a fight, but when the final buzzer sounds, the score isn’t going to be overly close. I expect Wisconsin to pull away in the second half and win this one going away. Give me the Wisconsin Badgers tonight at home, laying -4-points against an outmatched Ohio State Buckeyes team. Let’s call it a 69-59 final score from Madison!

The Bet: Wisconsin Badgers -4

My Pick
Wisconsin Badgers -4
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Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL

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