For the second straight week, No. 16 Ohio State (10-3, 4-1) will walk into an opposing arena as a road underdog when they take on the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (13-2, 4-1) in the Kohl Center Thursday night. They’ll look to exorcise some road demons after getting thumped by Indiana last week, 67-51 in Bloomington as 3.5-point underdogs. That game was close throughout, but snowballed quickly in the final 10 minutes or so.
As fate would have it, our friends over at Draftkings Sportsbook currently have the Buckeyes slotted as 3.5-point underdogs yet again tonight on the road. Ohio State has an even 2-2 record this season as underdogs, beating Seton Hall and Duke but losing to Florida and Indiana.
While the identical 3.5-point gap may seem peculiar when considering Indiana — who was 1-2 in Big Ten play before beating OSU — was also given the same advantage, the history and matchup favors the Buckeyes a little more tonight than it did last week. For starters, Ohio State already beat Wisconsin once this season — convincingly, at that.
Back on Dec. 11, in their final game before a three-week COVID-19 pause, the Buckeyes ripped, rattled, and rolled the Badgers to the tune of a 73-55 win in the Schottenstein Center, highlighted by huge games from each team’s star. E.J. Liddell scored 28 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, while Jonathan Davis had 24 points and 7 rebounds.
The Badgers have won five straight games since losing just over a month ago, and have won 11 of their last 12 overall. Their strategy of “let Johnny cook” every game may not be sustainable, but it sure is fun. Davis is their leading scorer (22.3 PPG), rebounder (7.4) and assist man (2.6) this season. He does everything for this team, and more often than not he has to be a hero in order for the Badgers to win. While it may not be sustainable, that strategy has yet to be proven wrong, as the Badgers are right in the mix at the top of the B1G.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) also favors the Badgers, giving them a 61.5% chance to win tonight’s big-time B1G matchup.