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Wisconsin is looking to play spoiler and nab a Big Ten title when it meets Ohio State for the second time this season. Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's championship clash from a betting perspective.
So much for a competitive conference championship game, huh? Ohio State opened as an 18-point favorite, and despite being bet down, is still laying two-plus touchdowns (-16.5) against a team that was considered a CFP sleeper earlier in the year. It's been difficult to pinpoint times to sell on the Buckeyes - they went on an 8-0 tear both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) at one point this season and are fresh off a 29-point win on the road against archrival Michigan.
The prior meeting between these teams saw the total close at 47.5, though a wintery mix in Columbus played a role. The total for this weekend opened at 52 and has since seen an influx of "over" money, with most of the market hanging 56.5.
Ohio State's been a great bet this season but has been exceptionally profitable on the first-half line, where it's 11-1 ATS.
The Buckeyes haven't been fazed against good competition, either. They're 10-1 ATS in their last 11 versus teams with winning records and 9-2 ATS when laying points.
The total may have been bumped up due to Wisconsin's last four games going over by an average of 12 points.
Wisconsin tried to play bully ball against the Buckeyes earlier in the season and failed miserably. Star running back Jonathan Taylor posted 52 yards on 20 carries, and quarterback Jack Coan completed 10 of his 17 passes for 108 yards and the Badgers' lone touchdown. The X-factor may very well be the entire unit, which faces an Ohio State defense that's pacing the country in yards per play allowed.
The good news for the Badgers is that they held Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields to 12-for-22 passing with just 167 yards last time out. The bad news is that running J.K. Dobbins went off for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns. We don't often see a Wisconsin team outmatched in the trenches, but Ohio State's a different animal. I expect Badgers head coach Paul Chryst to add more bodies to the box and see if Fields can beat them through the air. As for the offense, I don't think it will be able to carry its weight to get this total home. With the number ticked all the way up past eight touchdowns to 56.5, I'm leaning toward the under.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKoIodziej.