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The Ohio State Buckeyes head into this weekends Big 10 clash against the Wisconsin Badgers having won their last eight in a row. The No. 3-ranked Buckeyes have cruised to a 3-0 start with hefty back-to-back wins over both Toledo and Arkansas State, while the Wisconsin Badgers have opened up with a 2-1 record after a disappointing defeat to Washington State in Week 2.

Wisconsin vs Ohio State Odds, Spread, Over/Under, Moneyline – College Football Odds Week 4

Moneyline: Ohio State -1200, Wisconsin +750

Spread: Ohio State -19, Wisconsin +19 

Total: Over/Under 57 

The Buckeyes stuttered in Week 1 against Notre Dame, with standout wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba suffering a leg injury that knocked him out of the game in the first quarter. With Smith-Njigba set to be the clear number one target this season following the departure of both Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, the Buckeyes had to pivot.

The game turned into a defensive battle that went all the way into the fourth quarter as the Fighting Irish defense stumped Heisman finalist CJ Stroud and his offense for the first three quarters. The Buckeyes pulled away and secured the win, but they won’t want a repeat of the struggle this weekend against a tough Wisconsin outfit.

Smith-Njigba came back for the Toledo game last weekend, but only caught two balls for a total of 33 yards. Whether he’s fully healthy or not is questionable, and the Buckeyes might need other guys on the offense to step up again this weekend to take them to 4-0. Marvin Harrison Jr, son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, currently leads the team in receiving yards, closely followed by Emeka Egbuka. The Buckeyes will want to see both guys on top form against the Badgers if they’re to carry the majority of the workload at wide receiver.

CJ Stroud is currently working with a 72.9 per cent completion rate despite the Week 1 struggle against Notre Dame. He’s only been sacked twice working behind a stout offensive line, and if he remains untouched again this time out, there’s a good chance the Buckeyes can pull away.

On the Wisconsin side of the football, quarterback Graham Mertz had an 80 per cent completion rate or higher in the Badgers two wins. On the flipside, the 58.1 per cent completion percentage against Washington State shows quite the contrast.

The Badgers offense runs through running back duo Braelon Allen and his supporting cast. Allen will head into the weekend with 332 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. The big back was converted from a hard hitting linebacker prior to his freshman season, before finishing the year third in the Big 10 in total rushing yards. As he continues to develop, he’s drawn comparisons the Derrick Henry in his running style, barreling in between tackles for yards after contact.

The Badgers will need Allen to perform at a high clip on Saturday night, but you can bet your bottom dollar the Buckeyes will be keying on him above anybody else. If the Buckeyes can close down Allen and force Mertz into throwing the football, the question becomes whether he can make his way down the field with a group of unproven wide receivers.

The Badgers current leading receiver Chimere Dike leads the team in both receptions and receiving yards. Dike's 172 yards is just 100 yards shy of his 2021 season total, while their second wide receiver Skyler Bell had just 15 yards on one catch during the 2021 campaign.

Wisconsin needs to be able to lean on the run, it’s that simple. Their impressive ground game needs to shine under the lights against the Buckeyes for this outfit to stay in the game. Not only does it wear down the defense, but removes important minutes from the game clock, meaning less time with the football for Buckeyes QB CJ Stroud.

Then it’s all about defense. The Badgers secondary needs to hold, with UCLA transfer corner Jay Shaw showing flashes so far this season, and safety John Torchio having a couple of really strong performances, including a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown against Illinois State, marking a new school record. Braelon Allen took off for a 96-yard rushing touchdown in the same game, also a school record, and the Badgers will need both guys to lead by example as they head into the Buckeyes back yard.

Wisconsin vs Ohio State Predictions – College Football Picks Week 4

The Buckeyes go into the game as a home team favourite, facing a 19-point spread. The difference here sits with the defense's ability to close down the Badgers run game. Notre Dame didn’t have a single ball carrier with more than 28 yards on the ground against the Buckeyes in Week 1. If they put on a performance like that, and can close down the Badgers ground game, they could cover the spread.

On the flipside, they haven’t faced a back like Braelon Allen or a scheme like the Badgers' running game yet this season. When he’s firing, the Badgers can get rolling. In every game last season that Allen ran for 100 yards or more, the Badgers won. He will be the difference, for better or worse. While I love his talent, I think Wisconsin is just too one-dimensional, and the receivers are too unproven to be able to bet on the Badgers to cover.

The Pick: Ohio State -19 (-110)

If the Buckeyes do in fact hold Braelon Allen to limited yardage and keep him out of the end zone, the question becomes how many points Graham Mertz is capable of putting on the board on the road against Ohio State. I don’t see that being more than 14. I can see a scoreline along the lines of 37-13 in favour of the Buckeyes, with Mertz throwing for one touchdown and one interception.

I’ll take the under in the game, with the Buckeyes covering the spread and pulling away early in the third quarter, meaning a lot of time begins to bleed from the clock.

The Pick: Buckeyes vs Badgers Under 57 Points (-110)