B1G ATS Conference Championship Game Edition


The line on the B1G CCG is Ohio State -5.5.

I'm going in depth this week, as we only have one game on tap this week. I'm not a huge stats guy, but there are a few I find applicable when deciding which side to bet. These are the stats I find applicable:

Turnover Margin: nothing changes field position and momentum like a turnover, and the team forcing the turnover often scores quickly after forcing the turnover. MSU is best in the B1G at +15 (+1.25/game), while OSU is 2nd, but only at +6. Significant advantage to Sharty here.

Time of Possession: regardless of what MSU fans say, it's very difficult to score when you don't have the ball. MSU averages 33.5 minutes TOP, while OSU checks in at 31.5 minutes. Not a significant advantage IMO.

Rushing YPC and YPC Allowed: MSU is the best rush D in the B1G (2.23 YPC) and OSU is 2nd best (3.02). On offense, OSU is easily the best rushing offense in the B1G (7.05), while MSU is 5th (4.45). This is a significant advantage to Ohio State

Third Down Conversions For/Against: Third down conversions are HUGE, as is preventing them. Both teams are very good in both departments, which is a significant factor as to why this is the CCG matchup. OSU is the best 3rd down team in the B1G, converting at a 52% clip, MSU checks in at 4th, at 45.7%. On defense, MSU leads at 28.7%, while OSU is 5th at 34.5%. Not much advantage either way here, as OSU is stronger on O, MSU on D.

Now on to some other factors:

Momentum: MSU has played very well since Cook was given the starting job, and the D has been consistently very good. OSU's pass defense has been shaky, but they are easily the best offense in the league, and no team has come close to shutting them down for an entire game. I'd give MSU a slight advantage here, only because of the possible fatigue for the Buckeyes off their wild win over scUM.

Coaching: advantage OSU, by miles. This is a significant advantage.

Results vs Similar Styles: the closest comparision to MSU (both O and D) that OSU has faced is Wisconsin. OSU held a very good rushing attack to around 100 yards, and dared Stave (LOL) to beat them through thr air. Wisky had some success, as Abberderis is a stud. MSU doesn't have a single receiver of Abby's calibre, but they have a better overall unit, that has minimized the drops that plagued them early in the year. Cook is much better than Stave (LOL), and he's going to have to play very well for MSU to have a chance, as I don't see an effective MSU rushing attack materializing.

Wisconsin's defense is good, but it's not MSU-good, particularly in the secondary. Wisky boasts a very good front 7, and very mediocre secondary. MSU is strong at all 3 levels, with the secondary being exceptional both in pass defense and in run support, as documented here:

OSU had very good success both running and throwing against Wisky before going safe mode in the 4th quarter.

And finally, the biggest concern for the MSU defense has to be how Nebraska ran the ball on them, running the same zone read concept OSU will bring to Indy. Nebraska consistently blew MSU off the ball, and ran it to the tune of 5.7 YPC. OSU has a better offensive line and QB than Nebraska, and is probably even at RB. Don't dismiss this Sparty, this is the toughest running game concept to defend, unless somehow Brax gets Thugtan'd out of the game, as Smooth Jazz isn't as good in the running game. Brax is also a much better passer than anyone MSU has seen. Overall, I give OSU a moderate advantage in similar style category.

Motivation: I see no advantage here, but it's worth noting that OSU is playing for a shot at the natty, while MSU is pretty much locked into the Rose Bowl, unless they get demolished. Both teams are going to be ready to play, and I expect multiple shoving matches (hopefully no one is stupid enough to punch a dude wearing a helmet in this one).

How I See It: it's going to be close, MSU is going to give up a season high in points, while their offense rides a strong Connor Cook performance to stay in contention. In the end, OSU's offensive balance is too much, and the Bucks emerge victorious, 38-27. OSU goes on to get bitch-slapped by FSU in the NCG 49-24, while Sharty loses the 100th Rose Bowl 2-0 to Stanford, in a game "featuring" 175 yards combined for the two teams. Also, MSU goes full ConSpartacy on a call only their fanbase finds controversial.

My pick: Ohio State

Good luck, and thanks for participating.

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