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Northwestern Wildcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Pick

America's Bookie

AmericasBookie Sportsbook/Casino and Horses.

By: America's Bookie
Date: Dec 17, 2020
   
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Ohio State, No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, almost didn't qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game. Despite going 5-0 in a truncated COVID-19-influenced schedule, they were one game short of the six required for qualification.

The Big Ten changed the rule put in place for the 2020 season, allowing the Buckeyes to face Northwestern.

The game will be played in its customary Indianapolis location, but only family members of players will be in attendance. Ohio State has won three Big Ten titles in a row and hasn't lost a conference game since 2018. That's a 20-game streak dating back to Purdue's shocking 49-20 win over the Buckeyes.

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Northwestern (6-1) won the Big Ten West, with a 21-20 win over eventual 6-2 Iowa being the critical victory. It was the only game the Wildcats played against a team with a winning record. Their lone loss was a 29-20 defeat at the hands of 2-5 Michigan State.

Like the Wildcats, the Buckeyes faced just one winning team, the 11th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers. Ohio State led 35-7 just after halftime but allowed the Hoosiers back in the game before winning 42-35.

Betting Lines

As expected, Ohio State is a 20.5-point favorite over Northwestern at most online sportsbooks. The over/under is 57.5 points for two teams that combined to score almost 74 points a game.

The moneyline for Ohio State is at -1430, with Northwestern paying out at +800 for a win. Remember, use multiple sportsbooks to shop for betting lines.

Game Preview

Ohio State is ranked sixth in the nation in total yards per game, averaging 532 yards. Its 251 rushing yards per contest ranks seventh in the country. The Buckeyes average 48.6 points a game, which is fourth nationally.

Granted, those numbers are a small sample size against a weak schedule. But there is no arguing that the Buckeyes can move the ball. Northwestern's defense is ranked 13th in total yards per game, but it isn't necessarily elite in any aspect.

The Wildcats have been effective in keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Their 14.6 points allowed per game puts them second in the country in scoring defense.

Once again, Northwestern's opponents were a combined 18-27 on the season. That's hardly a stellar schedule.

The biggest challenge for Northwestern will be to control the play of Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields. The 6-3 junior has thrown for 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He also runs for an average of 48 yards per game and has five rushing touchdowns.

For Northwestern to pull the upset, it will need to find a way to move the football. Ohio State ranks 110th in the nation in pass defense, partly because it gets out to such big leads. 

It's an area for Northwestern to take advantage of, but the Wildcats only average 192 yards through the air.

We crushed our last free pick, going 2-0 after taking the Packers -7.5 and the OVER when they beat the Bears 41-25. Go check it out for yourself here at Bears @ Packers betting preview.

Game Pick

For this week’s top sports pick, we feel that the Northwestern's defense is capable of keeping it close, but it hasn't played anyone approaching Ohio State's talent. Last year, the Buckeyes mauled Northwestern 52-3 and beat them 45-24 in the 2018 Big Ten Championship.

The only mystery will be whether Ohio State can keep its pedal to the metal long enough to cover the spread. With the limited games on their schedule, the Buckeyes may need to make a statement.

Take the Buckeyes, give the points, and go with the over.

Ohio State 44, Northwestern 21.


 

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