The Wisconsin Badgers (4-1) played the Michigan Wolverines close on the road before their bye week and return home to host the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) on Saturday as big underdogs. The Badgers beat the number as 12-point road dogs in a 14-7 loss to the Wolverines but have lost the past four meetings with the Buckeyes straight up and against the spread.
Point spread: The Buckeyes opened as 9.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. Line updates and matchup report.
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 38.6-20.2 Buckeyes (College football picks on every game)
Why the Ohio State Buckeyes can cover the spread
While Ohio State has won four straight versus Wisconsin, the more impressive trend coming into this Big Ten matchup is a 19-game road winning streak. The Buckeyes have gone 13-6 ATS in those games, including four consecutive covers between this season and last.
Led by Heisman Trophy candidate J.T. Barrett, the team will try to get its passing game back on track after he only threw for 93 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a 38-17 win over the Indiana Hoosiers last week. Barrett did rush for 137 yards on 26 carries and should be able to attack the Badgers through the air.
Why the Wisconsin Badgers can cover the spread
Wisconsin has covered four in a row versus teams with winning records, and defensively is as good as any team in the country. Whether or not the Badgers will be able to hold Ohio State in check remains to be seen, but they limited a Michigan team that scored 78 points at Rutgers to only two touchdowns at home.
The key for Wisconsin will be its ability to turn this meeting into a similar grind where the team with the better running game prevails. The Buckeyes have not played in Madison since 2012 and won 21-14 as part of their road winning streak. This may well be a one-possession game again leading to a cover.
If their defense can truly be the difference-maker here, then the Badgers will have an excellent opportunity to stay within a score, cover the spread and possibly pull off the upset. But the better bet looks to be the under, which has cashed in six of Wisconsin's last eight home games along with five of the past six meetings with Ohio State at Camp Randall Stadium. Look for another low-scoring affair decided by the better defense.
Ohio State is 4-0 SU and ATS in its last four games against Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is 4-0 ATS in its last four games against teams with winning records.
Ohio State is 19-0 SU in its last 19 games on the road.
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