NCAA Football Week 12 Betting Preview: Are Ohio State and Wisconsin on Upset Alert?

Two Week 12 Big Ten football matchups highlight SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking's betting card for Saturday.
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College Football Week 12 Betting Preview

An action packed Week 12 NCAA football schedule features 16 games involving teams ranked in the AP Top 25. That includes two massive Big Ten battles as Ohio State hosts Indiana and Wisconsin visits Northwestern. With betting odds from the DraftKings Sportsbook - here is a breakdown and picks for those two matchups that are scheduled for Saturday, November 21, 2020.

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No. 9 Indiana at No. 3 Ohio State (-20.5) | TOTAL: 66.5

Undefeated teams clash when No. 3 Ohio State hosts No. 9 Indiana in a fight for first place in the Big Ten East division. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. ET at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes (3-0) return to action after their game against Maryland was cancelled last week due to COVID-19 issues. A juggernaut on offense, Ohio State opened the season with wins against Nebraska (52-17), Penn State (38-25) and Rutgers (49-27) in their last game on November 7.

Building off an 8-5 record last year, which was the Hosiers’ first winning season since 2007, Indiana enters this contest with a 4-0 record. Playing well on both sides of the ball, the Hosiers have posted wins against Penn State (36-35 OT), Rutgers (37-21), Michigan (38-21) and they shutout Michigan State (24-0) last week. Since a 27-27 tie, way back in 1990, Indiana has lost 25 straight games against Ohio State. That includes a 51-10 loss on their home turf last season.

Two of the best quarterbacks in the country will be on the field in this contest. Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr. has completed 61% of his passes for 1,070 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Ohio State QB Justin Fields has completed an eye-popping 87% of his pass attempts for 908 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Hosiers have outscored their opponents by a 135-77 combined count while the Buckeyes have a 139-69 margin of victory.

While Ohio State is strong across the board, the secondary is an area Indiana can attack. The Buckeyes have just one interception through the first three games. Led by CB Jaylin Williams, the Hosiers defense has 10 interceptions through four games. Indiana has scored 37.8% of their points on offense after creating a turnover. Two fumbles lost are the only turnovers Ohio State has committed this season. Fearing a backdoor cover - I like the Buckeyes first half line.

Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes (-10.5) First Half at DraftKings

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 1:00 p.m. ET

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 1:00 p.m. ET

Bet on College Football at DraftKings Sportsbook

No. 10 Wisconsin (-7.5) at No. 19 Northwestern | TOTAL: 43.5

A fight for first place is also on tap in the Big Ten West division when No. 10 Wisconsin visits No. 19 Northwestern. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. ET at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. The Badgers (2-0) have played just twice this year, due to COVID-19 issues, but posted blowout wins in both games. Wisconsin opened their season with a 45-7 win against the Illinois who scored a fumble return TD. Following two cancelled contests, the Badgers blasted Michigan 49-11 last week.

Northwestern (4-0) has been one of the more surprising teams this season. The Wildcats were 1-8 in Big Ten play last year and finished with a 3-9 overall record. Northwestern posted wins against Maryland (43-3), Iowa (21-20) and Nebraska (21-13) before defeating Purdue 27-20 on the road last week. The Wildcats scored two unanswered fourth quarter touchdowns but lost 24-15 to the Badgers in Wisconsin last season. Northwestern was a -23.5 point underdog in that game.

While it’s a small sample size, Wisconsin has shown they can beat teams through the air or on the ground. In their win against Illinois, freshman QB Graham Mertz completed 20-of-21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns. The run game took over against Michigan last week as the Badgers racked up 341 total rushing yards and five touchdowns. The Wisconsin defense has been rock solid as they have allowed just 437 total yards and one TD during two contests.

Northwestern has been grinding it out on the ground with 191 rushing attempts and 73 pass attempts. The aerial attack kicked into gear last week as senior QB Peyton Ramsey tossed three touchdown passes to senior WR Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman. The Wildcats are allowing 14 points per game but the Badgers offense is a big step up for the Cats defense. Wisconsin posted big first half leads against Illinois (28-7) and Michigan (28-0) and I will follow that trend here.

Pick: Wisconsin Badgers (-4.5) First Half at DraftKings

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 3:30 p.m. ET

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 3:30 p.m. ET

2020 NCAA Football Record: 4-2 ATS

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL

· Pat Forde's NCAA Football Power Rankings

· Which Week 12 College Football Games Are Postponed Due to COVID-19?