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Wisconsin vs Ohio State Total Climbs From 54 to 56.5; Will Turf at Lucas Oil Stadium Lead to a Shootout?

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Football

Dec 4, 2019 · 9:31 PM PST

Ohio State Buckeyes
The total in the Big Ten Championship game between No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State has soared to 56.5. Photo by Maize & Blue (Wiki Commons).
  • No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State square off Saturday (8:00 PM ET, Dec. 7) in the Big Ten Championship game
  • The total in this game has been hit hard, climbing from 54 to 56.5 points
  • The Buckeyes beat the Badgers 38-7 at home earlier this season 

It’s common knowledge in the betting world that sharps attack overs early in the week and pound unders as kickoff draws near. With that in mind, how should we bet the total in the No. 8 Wisconsin vs No. 1 Ohio State Big Ten title game?

The line opened anywhere from 54 to 55 depending on the sportsbook, but has been hit hard and now sits at 56.5. Many factors are responsible for this move, including the proficiency of both offenses and the fact that this game is being played indoors.

#8 Wisconsin vs #1 Ohio State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Wisconsin Badgers +16.0 (-110) +500 Over 56.5 (-108)
Ohio State Buckeyes -16.0 (-110) -650 Under 56.5 (-112)

Odds taken Dec. 4.

The Buckeyes and Badgers rank first and seventh, respectively, in points per game, and both programs have seen the majority of their recent games fly over the total. Three of the past four Ohio State games have gone over, while each of Wisconsin’s last four contests has eclipsed the total.

The Buckeye offense has been virtually unstoppable the entire season, but the Badger attack has struggled at times. When these two teams met in late October, Ohio State completely neutralized Wisconsin en route to a blowout victory (38-7).

Badgers Were Beaten Up in First Meeting

The Badgers struggled mightily in that game both in the air and on the ground. Jonathan Taylor, the nation’s second-leading rusher, was held to just 52 yards on 20 carries. It was the first time since October 27, 2018 that he failed to rush for at least 76 yards. Wisconsin as a team was held 161 yards below its season average on the ground.

The passing game wasn’t much better as Jack Coan was sacked five times and completed just 58.8% of his passes for 108 yards. If the Buckeyes fourth-ranked run defense eliminates Taylor and the Wisconsin rushing attack again, the entire offense will rest on Coan’s shoulders, which is the last thing Wisconsin fans want.

Coan averaged less than 200 yards passing per game this season and Ohio State features the second-best pass defense in the country. It’s hard to envision a scenario where the Badgers put up a lot of points.

The Buckeyes Are an Offensive Juggernaut

Ohio State, on the other hand, is going to score early and often. The Buckeyes averaged 49.9 points per game during the regular season, and are fresh off hanging 56 on a very good Michigan defense.

Running back JK Dobbins and QB Justin Fields combined for eight touchdowns and the majority of the team’s 577 yards versus Michigan and were equally as dominant against Wisconsin. They combined for five touchdowns in that win, and Dobbins racked up 218 total yards.

Ohio State has been held under 34 points once all season, and is the only team in the nation to average over 280 rushing yards and 250 passing yards per game. They have elite athletes, with world class speed, at every position. Playing on the fast track at Lucas Oil Stadium is only going to enhance their production.

Hit the Under

NFL data from the 2002-2016 season shows that games played indoors score an average of 3.3 more points than games played outdoors. This is considered common knowledge and something that’s already baked into the opening line when it’s released. It didn’t stop early action from hammering the total and that trend is likely to continue given the popularity of both  programs and the public’s love of betting overs.

The current 56.5 total is already too high given the strength of the Buckeye defense and the limitations of the Badger passing game.

Yes, Ohio State will score plenty, but there’s little reason to think Wisconsin can keep pace. The Badgers averaged just 26 points versus top-25 teams this season, compared to 43 points against the rest of their schedule. Under 56.5 is the play.

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