Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Wisconsin +14½ over Ohio State
Camp-Randall Stadium – Madison, WI
7:00 PM EST. Depending on where one shopped around, the Badgers opened as low as a +13½-point underdog before the inefficient market jumped all over the Buckeyes. Last week we were buying low on the Buckeyes, who were being heavily faded by the market when #7 Penn State came to Columbus undefeated and riding a 13-game cover streak. Now we are in position to sell high on the Buckeyes, which is precisely what we're going to do.
As a result of PSU’s heightened market status and recency bias, we were able to spot deflated points with Ohio State as a four-point choice. The Buckeyes had been placed on “upset alert” from a multitude of sources but they would go on to absolutely control the Nittany Lions in a 20-12 victory that truly typifies the mantra “scoreboard not being indicative of the game played”. Before scoring a junk-time touchdown to make the game look closer than it appeared, the Nittany Lions went 1 for 16 on third-down attempts. According to ESPN, this is the worst third-down conversion rate by any AP-ranked team with a minimum of 15 third-down attempts in a game over the past 10 seasons.
Thanks to that showing by the Buckeyes last week, it has created a market zig-zag back on the Buckeyes, but it doesn’t stop there. The same talking heads who prognosticated Penn State taking a step forward at the expense of the “beatable Buckeyes” are now singing Ohio State’s praises and have gone as far to predict they will be the top team in the inaugural College Football Playoff poll after this weekend. It is hyperbole such as this that causes one to bet a team a week too late and buy high, all from overreacting to one result. This is an ill-advised practice and prompts us to take a good look at Wisconsin.
Indeed, Ohio State may be deserving of all of the revelry and accolades, but one should tell Wisconsin who will undoubtedly be looking at this as an opportunity. For Wisconsin Badgers football, Ohio State has been the proverbial hill that Wiscy’s lofty aspirations have died upon. We can go through the annals of Badger football and go episode by episode in Wisconsin’s nine-game skid against Ohio State but we could pen a tragic novel of unrequited Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff dreams that have withered at the B1G Championship or in overtime in a regular-season collision between these two. The point is, there have been several occasions where Wisconsin had an opportunity to turn a corner and get to the Rose Bowl or perhaps even the College Football Playoff but Ohio State has had an uncanny way of turning up and destroying Wisconsin’s hopes like a pinata at a kid’s birthday party. While the players on the field may not have lived through this agony, many of the 90,000-plus Badger faithful have and they will get Mad-town rocking, as they get the Buckeyes under the lights and the chance to catch Ohio State coming in high off their best win of the season. Wisconsin meanwhile will also be “free-rolling” and underdogs of this nature are extremely dangerous in a spot like this one for the invader who can easily get tripped up. An upset is not what we’re looking for but the overlay is significant here and we are on it.
Wisconsin +14½ -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)