Week 15 of the 2014 college football season is conference championship week,and the Big 10 Championship Game should go a long way toward determining the field for the inaugural College Football Playoff. The 11th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) travel to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN to take on the host 6th ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes (11-1) as the teams square off Saturday night (6:45pm ET) for the Big 10 Championship. The Badgers have won 7 games in a row since suffering their last loss at home to Northwestern in week six 20-14, including a 34-24 win over Minnesota last week. Their other loss was a 28-24 loss to LSU in their season opener. The Buckeyes have won 10 games in a row, including a 42-28 embarrassment of their arch rival Michigan to close out the regular season last week. They suffered their only loss of the season 35-21 at home to Virginia Tech in week 2, but they may have suffered a greater loss last week as starting QB J.T. Barrett went down with a broken leg. He is the second Buckeye signal caller to go down this season as last season’s Big 10 Player of the Year Braxton Miller went down before the season started with a shoulder injury.
Wisconsin is ranked 13th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 37.5 points per game and 20th among FBS teams in total offense with 482.1 yards per contest. The Badgers rank 4th nationally in points allowed with 16.8 per game and 2nd in total defense 260.3 YPG allowed.
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Ohio St. is ranked 5th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 44.1 PPG scored and 11th among FBS teams in total offense with 503.4 YPG. The Buckeyes rank 30th nationally in points allowed with 22.9 per game and 19th in total defense 333.8 YPG allowed.
Wisconsin vs. Ohio St. Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Wisconsin Badgers -4.5
@ Ohio St. Buckeyes +4.5
Over 53.5 (-110)
Under 53.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Wisconsin vs Ohio St. Pick
The Badgers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games. The Buckeyes are 29-14-2 ATS in their last 45 games against a team with a winning record and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss. The Over is 5-1 in the Badgers’ last 6 neutral site games, 4-1 in their last 5 games in December and 34-16-2 in their last 52 conference games. The Over is 13-3 in the Buckeyes’ last 16 conference games, 12-1 in their last 13 games against a team with a winning record and 20-6 in their last 26 games overall. In head-to-head play, the home team is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings, the Badgers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings and the underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
This game pits two teams that are very familiar with each other and there are no secrets in terms of style of play as the Badgers are going to run at you all day long with Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon, and the Buckeyes are going to utilize coach Urban Meyer’s spread offenses and play and up-tempo game regardless of who is under center. Gordon suffered an ankle injury last week against Minnesota, and will be slowed down at the very least in this game, and has not been up to his usual level of performance against the Buckeyes notching just 74 yards in his last game against Ohio St. The Buckeyes will start Cardale Jones under center, and he has the athleticism (7.8 YPC) and size (6 foot 5, 250 lbs.) to operate Meyer’s spread and keep the Buckeyes in the game. The trend here strongly favors Ohio St. and the Buckeyes as an underdog is too good of an opportunity to pass up here. Take OSU and the points.