The No. 4 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes enter their game against Big 10 rivals Northwestern on Saturday undefeated and as confident as ever.
The Buckeyes are 5-0 SU and 3-1-1 ATS. Ohio State has won four straight matchups with Northwestern both outright and against the spread.
However, this season Northwestern is ranked No. 16 and the Wildcats come in as prepared as ever to take on one of their biggest nemesis’ the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has covered the last four meetings with Northwestern by over 23 points a game. However, this season should be different, the Wildcats should give Ohio State all they can handle and could even upset the Buckeyes.
Most online sportsbooks such as Bovada and betonline have the Buckeyes as 7-point favorites after opening at 5.5.
Online sites topbet and sportsbook.com have had most of the action come in for Ohio State, with very little if any Northwestern money. The Buckeyes are a popular public team and most think of Northwestern as the doormat of the Big 10.
Most smart money bettors believe Northwestern is a good team, but have not faced any team with the kind of strength Ohio State possesses and will be a test for the Wildcats.
Ohio State on offense has fast receivers against an average secondary for the Wildcats. Both Devin Smith and Corey Brown have five catches each for touchdowns for Ohio State.
One advantage that Northwestern might have is they are well rested and that could help late in a close game. The Wildcats had last weekend off, while the Buckeyes defeated a talented Wisconsin team.
The Wildcats will also be getting Venric Mark back. He ran for 12 touchdowns and 1,366 yards last season, but has missed two games due to a turned ankle.
Northwestern has averaged nearly 250 yards per game on the ground, but against must less talented defenses. Treyvon Green has a 7 yards per carry average on the ground, and has scored five rushing touchdowns.
However, the Buckeyes were able to hold Wisconsin, which is a running team, to only 104 yards on the ground. Ohio State is ranked No. 8 nationally, allowing just 85 yards on the ground per game.
Ohio State offensively is averaging 48 points a game and will face a defense that is No. 87 in the nation in points allowed. Braxton Miller returned under center last week and threw four passes for touchdowns.
Ohio State loves the first quarter, outscoring their opponents this season 116-21.
Northwestern has a 6-0 ATS record in its past six games against conference teams. The Wildcats are also 9-2 ATS over their past 11 games at home and 14-3 ATS over their past 17 games overall.
Remember how we pointed out that last week was a bad week to be AP ranked? Well, judging by Tuesday night’s results, this week might not be any different.
#15 Wichita State, # 16 Ole Miss, and #19 North Carolina State (again!) all fell to non-ranked opposition last night. While those teams aren’t exactly at the top of the AP rankings, it makes for a pertinent reminder that ranked teams are falling faster than Roger Goodell’s popularity rating.
Tonight, no fewer than 11 ranked sides will look to avoid the fate that is apparently becoming a common trend in college basketball. We’ve picked out three of those sides and taken a look at the likelihood of them losing. Read on, intrepid bettor.
Northwestern @ #1 Michigan
6:30 PM ET
#1 Michigan (19-1, 6-1 Big Ten) will look to move to 13-0 at home this season as Northwestern (12-9, 3-5 Big Ten) comes to Ann Arbor. More importantly, the Wolverines will look to continue to pace the country, especially after #2 Kansas picked up a win on Monday night.
The Wildcats will simply be looking for a win. Bill Carmody’s side has gone 6-9 since starting the season with a 6-0 record, and is struggling in conference play. An upset over Michigan could be the catalyst to an improved season.
A Wildcats win will be tough to come by though. Michigan is one of the highest scoring schools in the nation (78.5 PPG) and ranked third overall in field goal percentage (.510). It’s seventh when it comes to three-point percentage (.411) and fifth in turnovers (9.8 per game). On top of that, the Wolverines have limited opponents to 59.2 points per game. There aren’t too many areas in which the Wildcats can be hopeful.
This Season: Michigan defeated Northwestern 94-66 in Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 3.
Last Season: Michigan won both games last season, but the Wolverines needed overtime in both to take victory.
Favorite: Michigan Spread: 19.5 Total: 130
Take: MICHIGAN – The Wolverines have more than enough to get past Northwestern and head into Saturday’s huge game against #3 Indiana with momentum on its side. However, take the Wildcats (10-8-0 ATS) to cover the spread, which looks a little generous. Take the total to go under.
#5 Duke @ Wake Forest
8:00 PM ET
Losses to North Carolina State and Miami (FL) have the Blue Devils looking almost ordinary. Almost. Tonight, #5 Duke (17-2, 4-2 ACC) needs a win on the road to put a stopper in any further poll slippage.
The Demon Deacons of Wake Forest (10-9, 3-4 ACC) may not have had the type of season to write home about but you can bet Jeff Dzdelik’s side will be highlighting Duke’s 0-2 road record on the bulletin board.
On paper, Wake Forest looks as though it has little chance of upsetting the Blue Devils. Sitting in ninth place in the ACC, the Deacons are statistically outmatched in all major categories, which means that a win would be a huge upset. Much bigger than those wins for the Wolfpack and Hurricanes.
But hold the phone. It was only last Tuesday that Wake Forest knocked off NC State at The Joel. So don’t count the side out just yet.
This Season: Duke defeated Wake Forest 80-62 in Durham, N.C., on Jan. 5.
Last Season: Duke defeated Wake Forest in both games between the sides last season. The game in Winston-Salem was the closer of the two, with the Blue Devils scoring an eight-point win.
Favorite: Duke Spread: 12.5 Total: N/A
Take: DUKE – Take the Blue Devils to register their first road win of the season, and go some way to righting the ship again. However, take the Demon Deacons (11-6-0 ATS) to cover the spread, making Coach K and Co. sweat a little.
#10 Oregon @ Stanford
11:00 PM ET
Oregon (18-2, 7-0 Pac-12) continues to climb the slippery slopes of the AP poll. Just four weeks ago the Ducks were on the outside looking in, but three straight weeks of climbing now has Dana Altman’s side in the Top 10.
Stanford (12-8, 3-4 Pac-12) will look to halt that climb and hand Oregon its first conference loss of the year. In order to do so, the Cardinal – currently seventh in the Pac-12 – will need to overcome imbalances across the board. The Ducks rank higher this season both offensively and defensively, and offer little form of weakness. Stanford then will really need to take advantage of turnovers, of which the Ducks average 15.7 per game.
Stanford is 0-2 against AP Top 25 teams this season (Missouri, NC State), another hurdle it will need to leap.
This Season: The two sides meet for the first time this year on Wednesday. A second game is scheduled for Feb. 23.
Last Season: Oregon scored an 11-point win in Eugene last season before handing the Cardinal a four-point loss in Stanford.
Favorite: Stanford Spread: 2.5 Total: 137
Take: OREGON – It might not be an upset in terms of the polls, but with bookmakers giving Stanford the edge, this is an opportunity to grab Oregon as the underdog. Take the total to go under, as is more often the case when either of these sides takes to the hardwood.