Two of the worst ATS teams in 2023 face off in Columbus on Thursday night when the Ohio State Buckeyes host the Wisconsin Badgers.
The Badgers haven't covered the spread in their last 10 games, while the Buckeyes are 1-7 SU and ATS in their previous eight. Oddsmakers do expect the Buckeyes to win this Big Ten matchup, with college basketball betting odds opening the home side as 7.5-point favorites, and the total at 132.
Here are my best free Wisconsin vs. Ohio State picks and predictions for Thursday, February 2.
Wisconsin vs Ohio State best odds
Wisconsin vs Ohio State picks and predictions
Ohio State's offense has struggled at the start of games, with a tendency to settle for mid-range shots and shaky play from freshman point guard Bruce Thornton both major factors. Although the Buckeyes do tend to score buckets after halftime when they find a groove with their shooting and get to the line, production in the first 20 minutes has been ugly.
The Buckeyes are averaging just 28.3 points per game in the first half over their last six contests. They now face a Wisconsin team that loves to slow the pace to a crawl, defends well, and rarely turns the ball over, leading to few easy buckets in transition.
The Badgers are allowing only 28.6 first-half ppg in conference play, and are coming off a contest where they held Illinois to just 20 points in the opening frame. Take the Under 32.5 on Ohio State's first half team total.
My best bet: Ohio State 1H TT Under 32.5 (-105 at FanDuel)
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Wisconsin vs Ohio State spread analysis
The Badgers are coming off a 61-51 home loss to Illinois, which was their sixth defeat in their last seven games. They shot just 33% from the floor in that loss, and haven't covered the spread in their last 10 games overall.
That's a bit of a surprise after Wisconsin started off the season with an 8-2 SU and ATS mark, with an impressive non-conference win on the road against Marquette, and an overtime loss to Kansas.
The Buckeyes are in a similar spot, and just four weeks ago they were at No. 24 in the AP Poll with an 8-3 record. Since then, they've gone just 1-7 SU and ATS, and embarrassingly lost at home to Minnesota, handing the Gophers their only conference win of the season.
In their last game, the Buckeyes lost 86-70 to Indiana on the road in a contest where they allowed the Hoosiers to shoot 50% from the field, while freshman Brice Sensabaugh was their only efficient player on offense. Sensabaugh has been Ohio State's best player all season, and leads the team with 17.6 ppg on 51/47/80 shooting splits.
Despite their recent struggles, the Buckeyes are still a respectable 27th in the country in the KenPom rankings, while the Badgers are 70th. Ohio State is 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency while ranking 83rd on defense.
Wisconsin ranks 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency, but has looked awful on the other end of the floor, and ranks just 128th in offensive efficiency.
The Badgers have four players averaging double digits in points, led by Tyler Wahl (12.6 ppg). However, they lack a true go-to scorer that can create his own shot, and their 41.8 FG% ranks outside the Top 300.
We have come to expect Greg Gard-coached Wisconsin teams to play at an extremely slow pace, limit turnovers, and play scrappy defense, which this squad does. However, his teams also typically get to the free throw line and convert at a high rate, which they haven't been doing this season. The Badgers are just 331st in the country in free throws per possession while ranking 316th in free throw percentage (66.3%), which can be a deciding factor in the low-scoring contests they engage in.
The Badgers have also been terrible on the glass and rank 309th in the country in rebound rate (47.1%), with that number dropping to 44% in conference play. Despite an undersized frontcourt, the Buckeyes rank a respectable 52nd in rebound rate (52.9%).
Wisconsin vs Ohio State Over/Under analysis
The Buckeyes are highly efficient on offense and have looked lax on defense lately. However, with the sluggish pace that both teams play – and Wisconsin's struggles on offense – we are getting a lower total of 132 tonight.
The Buckeyes are 213th in the country in adjusted tempo, but that's still significantly quicker than the Badgers, who rank 349th. Since the start of the new year, the Badgers are averaging just 59.3 ppg, but are also limiting foes to just 66.4 ppg.
Although the Buckeyes can get drawn into higher-scoring contests against up-tempo teams, they tend to be more methodical against slower-paced opponents. Three of their last five games have seen fewer than 130 total points scored in regulation.
Wisconsin vs Ohio State betting trend to know
The Over is 5-1 in Ohio State's last six home games, while going 6-1 in Wisconsin's previous seven contests on the road. Find more college basketball betting trends for Wisconsin vs. Ohio State.
Wisconsin vs Ohio State game info
|Location:||Value City Arena, Columbus, OH|
|Date:||Thursday, February 2, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|