It’s conference championship weekend in the sport of college football, and the Big Ten Conference will kick things off on Saturday morning. The 6-1 Northwestern Wildcats will take on the 5-0 Ohio State Buckeyes in a game with a massive spread. Here is our Big Ten Championship Betting Preview for the Saturday showdown between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Northwestern Wildcats.
Ohio State is a 20.0-point favorite in this game, despite not having played for two weeks. The Buckeyes have had little trouble this season, coasting to a first-place finish in the East Division.
Northwestern suffered a disappointing loss to Michigan State just a few weeks ago, but bounced back with a 28-10 win over Illinois last week. The Wildcats won the West Division by going undefeated in divisional play.
The Big Ten Conference has dealt with a number of COVID-19 issues throughout the season, but two very deserving teams will be on the field for this game. A spot in the College Football Playoff is also on the line for Ohio State.
Big Ten Championship Betting Preview: Offense
On the offensive side of the ball is where we see the biggest difference between the two teams. Ohio State is one of the most explosive teams in the country, and Northwestern has to string together long drives in order to score points.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has thrown 15 touchdown passes through five games, and would be in the Heisman Trophy conversation if the team played more games. Running back Master Teague has the ability to break off long runs at any instant, and he will be tough on the Northwestern defense.
Northwestern is averaging over 170 rushing yards per game, but they really struggle to throw the football. The Wildcats are scoring just 25 points per game, and have scored more than 28 points just once this season.
The Wildcats will have to hit on some big plays if they are going to score enough points to keep up on Saturday.
Big Ten Championship Betting Preview: Defense
Northwestern is one of the best defensive teams in the country, but Ohio State isn’t too far behind. The Wildcats are allowing just 14.6 points per game, while Ohio State is holding opponents to 23 points per game.
The numbers will tell you that Northwestern has a much better defense, but their style of play keeps opponents off the field. The Wildcats will need to get pressure on Justin Fields if they want any chance in this one.
Ohio State has future NFL stars on the defensive side of the ball, and they will be gearing up to stop the run. The Buckeyes have faced some explosive offenses this season, but that isn’t the case with Northwestern.
Northwestern needs its defense to dominate this game to give them a chance, while Ohio State just needs to play well. The old adage says that “Defense wins championships,” and Northwestern hopes that this plays out on Saturday.
Big Ten Championship Betting Preview: Final Thoughts
Ohio State needs to make a statement in this game in order to impress the College Football Playoff Committee. Winning this game won’t be enough, and the Buckeyes must prove that they are worthy of that spot in the semifinals.
Northwestern has had a great season, but they just don’t have the weapons to keep up in this game. The Wildcats will struggle to score points, and that defense will be exposed for the first time all season.
This game won’t be close for long as Ohio State will roll and cover the spread.
Big Ten Championship Betting Preview Pick:
Ohio State 42