NCAA FB Free Pick | Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

They are one of just two unbeaten FBS football teams and have beaten their 12 opponents this season by an average margin of 38.1 points per game. The Ohio State Buckeyes are good…real good. Can they continue to provide bettors some value as double-digit favorites in Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship game?




Game: Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, 9-3 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2, 7-5 ATS)

When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 7, 2019

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana

Current Line: WIS +15.5   Total: 57

TV Coverage: FOX


This is the third straight Big Ten title game for the Buckeyes. They have won the last two which includes a 2017 win over the same Wisconsin team Ohio State beat in 2017.

Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins, who has rushed for 1,657 yards this season, was the MVP of that game. He outshined the Badgers’ Jonathan Taylor, who has 1,761 yards this season.

Dobbins also got the better of Taylor in this year’s regular season matchup with Wisconsin.



The Buckeyes, which own the nation’s fourth-ranked scoring defense (11.8 ppg), limited Taylor to just 52 yards in their Week 9 game. Dobbins ran 20 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-7 Buckeyes victory.

Wisconsin has had some recent troubles in beating Ohio State. In fact, the Buckeyes have beaten the Badgers in seven straight games dating back to 2010. In addition to beating Wisconsin for the 2017 Big Ten championship, Ohio State beat the Badgers in the 2014 title game. The score in that one? 59-0.

It’s unlikely that this year’s game gets away from Wisconsin like the 2014 game, but you never know.

The key for the Badgers will be Taylor and QB Jack Coan. Coan, a 6-3 junior from New York, has completed 196-of-271 passes for 2,309 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has only thrown four interceptions all season. If he can limit his mistakes and keep drives alive, the Badgers can keep the ball away from the highly potent Buckeyes offense.

Looking at the 15.5-point spread…it’s hard to fathom a two-touchdown-plus favorite in a conference championship game. But, when the two teams played on October 26 Ohio State was a 14.5-point favorite and the Buckeyes covered rather easily.

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Ohio State is 9-3 ATS this season and they are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against Wisconsin. Digging deeper, the Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last five games played in December and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Saturday games.

Prior to facing Michigan to close the season, Ohio State was a double-digit favorite in nine straight games. They covered the first seven of those games but failed against Rutgers and Penn State in the final two.

In a game of this magnitude, it’s hard to believe the Buckeyes would run away with the win.

Sure, it’s been done before and Ohio State has covered as a double-digit favorite most of the season. The Buckeyes still win, but this year’s game will be more like the 2017 Big Ten title game (27-21 Ohio State) than the 2014 version (59-0). Wisconsin covers.

NCAA Free Pick: Wisconsin +15.5

Pick by Coach Rick

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.