Northwestern Wildcats (8-4) at Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 1, 2018, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Ohio State Buckeyes -14 -- Over/Under: 57
The Northwestern Wildcats and Ohio State Buckeyes meet Saturday in the college football Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Northwestern Wildcats have won seven of their last eight games and look to win their first conference title since the 2000 season. The Northwestern Wildcats have won nine straight non-home games. Clayton Thorson is completing 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,675 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Thorson has one or less touchdown passes in 10 of his last 14 games. Flynn Nagel and Bennett Skowronek have combined for 1,260 receiving yards and five touchdowns while Cameron Green has 46 receptions. The Northwestern Wildcats ground game is averaging 114.7 yards per contest, and Isaiah Bowser leads the way with 736 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern is allowing 21.7 points and 372.7 yards per game. Blake Gallagher leads the Northwestern Wildcats with 112 tackles, Joe Gaziano has six sacks and JR Pace has three interceptions.
The Ohio State Buckeyes look for their ninth conference title since 2002 and a chance to sneak into the college football playoff. The Ohio State Buckeyes have won seven of their last eight non-home games. Dwayne Haskins is completing 68.9 percent of his passes for 4,047 yards, 41 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Haskins has three or more touchdown passes in eight of his 12 games this season. K.J. Hill and Parris Campbell have combined for 1,673 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while Terry McLaurin has 31 receptions. The Ohio State Buckeyes ground game is averaging 187.9 yards per contest, and J.K. Dobbins leads the way with 961 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensively, Ohio State is allowing 25.8 points and 398.8 yards per game. Malik Harrison leads the Ohio State Buckeyes with 64 tackles, Dre'Mont Jones has 7.5 sacks and Kendall Sheffield has two interceptions.
The Wildcats are 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 conference games, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf and 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Buckeyes are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 neutral site games, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 conference games and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Wildcats are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Ohio State and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings. The under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 games overall.
The Northwestern Wildcats have given up 17 or less points in five of their last six games and are outscoring teams by 7.3 points during their three-game winning streak. The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a beatdown over the Michigan Wolverines and eight of their 11 victories this season have come by double digits. The Northwestern Wildcats are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games as a double-digit underdog. The Ohio State Buckeyes have failed to cover each of their last five games as a double-digit favorite. Ohio State may have found its form with that win over the Wolverines and I am concerned about the Buckeyes athletes against this Northwestern squad. However, Northwestern has been one of the more consistent teams in the country this season and has actually played its best ball on the road. The Northwestern Wildcats have not only won nine straight non-home games, but they're outscoring teams by 6.2 points in non-home games this season. Northwestern has also been a money printing machine when it comes to covering numbers. The Ohio State Buckeyes are obviously the better team, are used to these games and should win. But two free touchdowns with a well coached Northwestern squad that has played its best on the road, I can't pass it up.