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Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds, Best Bets, and Predictions for Week 4
After meeting in the conference title game three times in a six-year span, Saturday's primetime matchup will mark the first meeting between Ohio State and Wisconsin since the 2019 Big Ten Championship. Following a slow start against Notre Dame, the Buckeye offense has found its footing, as head coach Ryan Day's squad once again leads the nation in total offense (565.3 ypg) and yards per play (8.4). Inversely, the Badgers' traditionally dominant ground game has gotten off to an uncharacteristically slow start to the 2022 campaign, ranking just 26th in rushing yards per game (218.3) and 35th in yards per rush (5.2). Following a sloppy loss to Washington State in Camp Randall, Wisconsin responded with a 66-7 rout against New Mexico State to finish up non-conference play. Now, the Badgers and running back Braelon Allen will head to Columbus in search of the program's first win at the Horseshoe since 2004.
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Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Odds for Week 4
Spread: Ohio State -18.5 (PointsBet)
Total: 57.5 (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Ohio State -900 (PointsBet); Wisconsin +750 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Ohio State opened as -15 favorites at the majority of sportsbooks, but this spread was eventually bet up to just shy of a 20-point margin. Meanwhile, the total has stayed put between 57 and 57.5 points, as bettors don't think the Badgers will be able to keep pace with the Buckeyes' potent offense. This belief was surely exacerbated by Wisconsin's 17-14 home loss to Washington State in Week 2, in which the Badgers' rushing offense totaled 174 yards across 44 total carries (4.0 yards per carry), and Allen's longest rush totaled just 17 yards.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Betting Picks This Week
Though Ohio State has come away victorious in nine of their past ten matchups against Wisconsin, the Big Ten West stalwarts have managed to keep most of these games from turning into track meets. In their past ten matchups dating back to 2009, the two programs have totaled more than 57 points just twice while averaging right around 51 combined points over this span. The Badgers' physical brand of football -- built on stout defense and a run-heavy offense -- lends itself to ugly games that can slow down the speed and talent of more-skilled opponents. This strategy has stayed true during the tenure of Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, as the total score between Ohio State and Wisconsin never eclipsed 55 points during four games from 2016 and 2019. The Buckeyes' offense recently struggled to break free when faced with a similar game plan against what now appears to be a subpar Fighting Irish team.
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Best Bet: UNDER 57.5 at BetMGM Sportsbook
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Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Prediction
Going toe-to-toe with Ohio State is one thing, but knocking off the nation's most explosive offense at home is a much different task altogether. Coordinator Jim Leonhard has Wisconsin's defense looking like its usual dominant self, ranking seventh in defensive EPA (-0.376) and fourth in defensive success rate (20 percent), per CFB-Graphs. However, this unit is led by its front seven and defensive line, as the Badgers are still in the process of integrating an entirely new starting secondary. This doesn't match up well against Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud, who is completing 72.9 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions through the first three games of 2022. He'll also be accompanied by his full complement of banged-up offensive weapons for just the second time this season, as wideouts Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming along with running back TreVeyon Henderson are all expected to play in Week 4.
The formula for the Badgers to keep things close against the Buckeyes has always been to establish a strong running game early, but Wisconsin's early-season struggles in this phase cast some heavy doubts. In the Badgers' loss to the Cougars, the offensive line failed to open up many holes in the rushing game and they often got in their own way when they did, accounting for four of Wisconsin's nine offensive penalties. Unless 6-foot-2, 238-pound rusher Braelon Allen can effectively wear down Ohio State, this feels like too big of a spot for Wisconsin's slightly modernized passing game to make the necessary jump. Quarterback Graham Mertz has been playing the best football of his career under first-year offensive coordinator Bobby Engram, completing 71 percent of his passes for 232.3 yards per game and 11.2 yards per attempt. But, without a consistent running game to rely on, it will be very tough sledding for Mertz as he goes up against Jim Knowles' revamped Buckeyes defense.
The Buckeyes are wearing their all-black alternate jerseys for the first time since 2019. Even us Badgers fans can see how this one is likely to end up.
Final Score: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 14
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