Ohio State at Wisconsin
Saturday, 5 pm PT - ABC
CRIS Opener: Ohio State -10 O/U 48
CRIS Current: Ohio State -10 O/U 44
Recommendation: Ohio State
The Wisconsin Badgers return to the gridiron off a much-needed bye week. The offense was exposed in a big way in their 14-7 loss to Michigan; 159 total yards for 3.0 yards per play. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook completed just 9-of-25 passes for 88 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. The no. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a non-covering 38-17 victory over Indiana. It was by OSU standards a flat performance after beating Rutgers 58-0. For the first time all season, the offense struggled as the Hoosiers held the Buckeyes to a season-low 383 yards. The storyline was the defense as Indiana managed only 281 yards and coughed up the ball twice.
Despite a poor offensive showing last week, the Buckeyes will have a significant edge this weekend. The offense has generated 28 plays of 20 yards or more and 12 plays over 30 yards this season. The Badgers meanwhile are one of the least explosive teams in the Big Ten with only six plays all season of more than 30 yards and none beyond 50. The ability to pick up big chunks of yards is paramount in a game projected to be low scoring and Wisconsin just doesn’t have much of any “big play” type players. And while Wisconsin’s defense has been up to the task this season (291.4 ypg allowed), Ohio State’s has been just as potent. The Buckeyes not only dominated four inferior foes but put the clamps on Oklahoma in Norman as the Sooners barely topped the 400 yard mark. Note that Oklahoma hung 52 and 45, respectively, against TCU and Texas following that home loss to Ohio State.
Ohio State has been very successful away from Columbus under head coach Urban Meyer: 19-0 SU and 8-4 ATS as road favorites. Wisconsin’s defense has proven capable of winning (vs. LSU, vs. Michigan State) and covering (vs. Michigan) pointspreads but this is the first situation where the Badgers will be forced to face a potent, up-tempo attack. They’ll put up resistance but I don’t trust the offense to keep pace. Lay the chalk.