Ohio State spent the first two weeks of the season making all of its fans happy, but not necessarily those who bet on the Buckeyes, who were 0-2 against the spread after beating Notre Dame and Arkansas State.
They checked both boxes emphatically last Saturday, crushing Toledo 77-21, moving to 3-0 and covering the 31-point spread with ease. In the process, Ohio State moved to 3-0 and dropped its national championship odds to +325, only behind Alabama (+200) and Georgia (+210). Quarterback CJ Stroud also retook the lead in the Heisman Trophy odds at +275, ahead of USC quarterback Caleb Williams (+350) and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (+425).
The going gets significantly tougher now, with the Buckeyes set to host Wisconsin on Saturday night.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes
Time/TV: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Ohio State -18
Money line: Wisconsin +650; Ohio State -1000
Analysis: The Buckeyes own a 24-game home winning streak against Big Ten opponents, so betting against them seems foolish (they’ve been the favorite in 23 of those games, by the way, with a 2018 win over Michigan the only exception). Ohio State is only 12-12 against the spread during that streak, however, including 8-9 ATS when a favorite of 18 points or more.
The question is, what can Wisconsin do offensively to keep pace with a Buckeyes attack that has simply gotten better and better as the season has gone on? The Badgers lost their only game against a Power Five team, 17-14 to Washington State, although three turnovers and 106 yards of penalties were to blame more than simply being outplayed.
Wisconsin is the nation’s No. 22 rushing offense and only No. 120 in passing. It’s easy to realize what the Badgers’ strategy will be here — run the ball and shorten the game until you’ve got a puncher’s chance in the fourth quarter. It’s much harder to imagine them going to Ohio Stadium and pulling it off against the nation’s No. 1 team in total offense.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 17