For a brief moment, it looked like the Big Ten Championship was not going to feature the best team in the conference. But conference officials knew that to give Ohio State the best chance possible to make the College Football Playoffs, they had to get the Buckeyes into the title game.
So, they changed the rules.
While an Indiana-Northwestern game may have been a better contest, Ohio State-Northwestern will produce a true champion. Will it be enough to get Ohio State into the Playoffs?
Who knows, but they are favored to win by three touchdowns.
It would be the upset of the decade if Northwestern were to pull out a win.
From a betting perspective, you could just pick the winner if you want. But you will have to risk a lot to win a little with the odds weighted so heavily in Ohio State’s favor. However, if you do not like the thought of so much risk for so little reward, there is an alternative—prop bets.
The following are the top five props for Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game:
Spread – First Half
Ohio State (#4)
Northwestern has averaged right around 14 points in the first half of every game this season. However, they have yet to play a defense as tough as Ohio State’s, so expecting them to maintain that pace this week may be asking a bit much.
Ohio State, on the other hand, has been averaging close to four touchdowns in the first half of every game this season. To be fair, the competition has not been very tough. Northwestern is going to be the most formidable defense they will see this year.
But the Buckeyes know they need to show out if they are going to convince the CFP committee to let them into the Final Four. Ohio State will lead Northwestern by at least two touchdowns at the half.
Best Prop Bet: Ohio State -13.5 (+110)
Northwestern By 1-6 Points (+1400)
Ohio State By 1-6 Points (+700)
Northwestern By 7-12 Points (+2800)
Ohio State By 7-12 Points (+600)
Northwestern By 13-18 Points (+5000)
Ohio State By 13-18 Points (+425)
Northwestern By 19-24 Points (+8000)
Ohio State By 19-24 Points (+450)
Northwestern By 25-30 Points (+10000)
Ohio State By 25-30 Points (+500)
Northwestern By 31-36 Points (+10000)
Ohio State By 31-36 Points (+600)
Northwestern By 37-42 Points (+12500)
Ohio State By 37-42 Points (+1100)
Northwestern By 43 Or More Points (+12500)
Ohio State By 43 Or More Points (+1100)
Northwestern has a good defense and may be able to slow the Buckeyes down a little. However, since their offense is so bad, their defense may be on the field too much. That means the score could become a blowout in the fourth quarter.
Then again, Ohio State’s defense has been vulnerable against the pass this season. But is Peyton Ramsey good enough to take advantage of them? Probably not.
Ohio State will be going for style points in this one. Look for them to win by at least three touchdowns.
Best Prop Bet: Ohio State by 19-24 (+450) or Ohio State by 25-30 (+500).
First Score Method
Field Goal (+305)
Any Other (+4000)
Northwestern’s defense is good, but they are not going to deny Ohio State the first time the Buckeyes get within striking distance. The payout may not be great, but the first score in this game will be a touchdown.
Best Prop Bet: Touchdown (-385)
Between 0 And 20 (+8000)
Between 21 And 30 (+3300)
Between 31 And 40 (+950)
Between 41 And 50 (+400)
Between 51 And 60 (+220)
Between 61 And 70 (+325)
71 And Over (+425)
Northwestern will probably not match its average scoring output (25.3 points/game) in this game. It is more likely they score in the mid to high teens. As for Ohio State, with a desire to prove their playoff worthiness, there is a good chance they meet and/or exceed their season average (46.6 points/game).
Best Prop Bet: Between 61 and 70 points (+325)
Race To 40
Ohio State (+115)
According to the odds, there is a 47.62 percent chance Ohio State scores 40 before Northwestern does. That percentage should be a lot higher. Take Ohio State and do not think twice about it. This one is a no-brainer.
Best Prop Bet: Ohio State first to 40 points (+115)