FIELDS OF PAIN
Ohio State's chances of winning this weekend's Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin might be a little shakier than originally thought. Standout Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields says his left knee isn't 100 percent after he aggravated an MCL injury in last week's throttling of the rival Michigan Wolverines. Fields, who originally suffered the injury against Penn State last month, told reporters he'll face the Badgers with a brace if need be. Fields had his worst showing of the season against Wisconsin back in October – going just 12-for-22 for 167 yards – but it didn't matter, as Ohio State rolled to a 38-7 victory.
Fields' limited mobility likely won't keep Ohio State from pulling out the conference championship, but it does hamper the Buckeyes' offensive upside. In a game featuring a total in the mid-50s despite both teams' standout defenses, we favor the Under.
BUCKLING DOWN EARLY
Two of the stingiest first-quarter defenses in the nation will take the field this Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas as the Oklahoma Sooners square off against the Baylor Bears in the Big 12 Championship Game. Baylor comes in ranked third in the nation in first-half scoring defense vs. FBS teams, allowing just 1.6 points per game; Oklahoma isn't far behind in 13th (3.8 ppg against). And while Baylor enjoyed a 14-3 first-quarter lead in their previous meeting, that was due largely to a rare Sooners 3-and-out on their second possession of the game; they wouldn't have another for the rest of the contest.
Both teams excel at keeping opponents off the scoreboard in the early going, and should do the same in a game that could result in one of these teams earning College Football Playoff consideration. We like the Under on the 1Q total.
It takes a lot to make standout Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor look mortal – but the Ohio State Buckeyes don't seem to have a problem doing it as they face the Badgers in Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Taylor rumbled to 1,761 yards and 20 touchdowns for Wisconsin this season, averaging better than 6.0 YPC for the third straight season. But there's a black mark on his 2019 resume, and it's the 20-carry, 52-yard clunker he put up in a 38-7 loss to Ohio State on Oct. 26. Taylor has just 93 rushing yards and zero touchdowns on 35 carries all-time vs. the Buckeyes.
Even with oddsmakers likely to be modest with Taylor's rushing total, bettors should probably lean toward the Under given just how dominant the Ohio State run defense has been this season (91.2 ypg against, fourth-best in FBS).
BURREAUX BY A BOATLOAD
Regardless of whether the LSU Tigers win or lose the SEC Championship Game against Georgia this Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, it's difficult to envision quarterback Joe Burrow not winning the Heisman Trophy. Burrow has been simply magnificent at the helm of the Tigers' No. 2-ranked offense, racking up 4,366 yards and 44 touchdowns and just six INTs while adding 399 rushing yards and seven scores. And Burrow has saved some of his best work for the cream of the college crop, completing nearly 80 percent of his passes with an 11/2 TD/INT ratio against nationally ranked opponents.
You might have missed your opportunity to get Burrow's Heisman futures at a decent price, but there's still money to be made at -2000. With three Ohio State players splitting the vote and no one else in the same stratosphere, Burrow is a lock to win.
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