Game: Ohio State Buckeyes @ Wisconsin Badgers
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Buckeyes +3, Badgers -3
It’s a matchup of ranked Big Ten teams tonight in Madison where No. 16 Ohio State squares off with No. 13 Wisconsin. The Badgers will be looking to avenge their earlier loss to the Buckeyes. The two teams played just about a month ago and Ohio State’s defense rose to the occasion. The Buckeyes held Wisconsin to 41 percent shooting inside the arc and 23.1 percent outside of it and won 73-55. Player of the Year candidate E.J. Liddell scored 28 points to lead Ohio State.
Tonight’s game will break a tie for second place in the conference. Michigan State and Illinois, both 5-0, are the only remaining unbeatens in the Big Ten. The Badgers and Buckeyes are both 4-1. Ohio State is coming off a 95-87 win over Northwestern on Sunday. Their only conference loss came in the game prior to that. The Buckeyes lost 67-51 at Indiana. Ohio State has struggled against the number on the road so far this season. The Buckeyes are 1-3 ATS in road games this season.
Led by Liddell’s 20.1 points per game, the Buckeyes score over 76 points per game. That ranks in the top 100 in the nation. The problem is that the Buckeyes underperform on the road. In away games this season, Ohio State scores five fewer points per game. On the other end, Wisconsin scored roughly five points more than their season average when they are playing at home.
The Badgers have won their last five straight games. All have come since Wisconsin’s last loss which was the game at Ohio State on Dec. 11. Wisconsin has won three straight Big Ten games including an upset over No. 3 Purdue on Jan. 3. The Badgers then beat a streaking Iowa team 87-78 last Thursday night. On Sunday, Wisconsin blew a 21-point lead but held on to beat Maryland 70-69.
For the Badgers, it’s all about sophomore guard Johnny Davis. The 6-5 star averages 22.3 points per game and was recently added to the watch list for the player of the year awards. In the first game against Ohio State, Davis had 24 points.
Wisconsin plays at a slower pace. They are very methodical on offense. They rank 219th in average offensive possession length and they take care of the basketball. The Badgers don’t turn it over much. As a result, Wisconsin only gives up an average of 64.9 points per game. The Badgers are also 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games and 4-1 ATS in conference play.
Ohio State is actually a similar team on offense. In fact, more than 87.5 percent of all possessions for both teams take place in the half-court. Despite the slower pace, both teams trend Over. The Over has hit in nine of the last 12 Buckeyes games and in each of the last five Badgers games. In the series between the two teams, the Over has cashed in seven of the last nine.