Column: Sports Prediction Central, Edition 7

Predictions for the best games around the sports world this week

Brent Gelick / Talon

Welcome to the seventh edition of Sports Predictions Central, a column for predictions of the best games on the sports slate this week.

In this edition, we will be predicting and breaking down the outcomes of the following games: #15 Ohio State vs. #10 Wisconsin, #24 UCLA vs. Stanford, Buccaneers vs. Packers, Bills vs. Chiefs and Lakers vs. 76ers.

#15 Ohio State vs. #10 Wisconsin, Saturday, Jan. 23, 1 p.m.
Adam: Both of these teams have been great of late, racking up quality wins in the most competitive conference in the country. Both Ohio State and Wisconsin are excellent defensively, and the coaching on both sides is top-notch. Ultimately, they match up really well together and it should be a super competitive game. However, I believe Ohio State will sneak out with a win.
Ohio State 65, Wisconsin 64

Alex: Coming off a tough loss to Purdue, Ohio State looks to redeem themselves in a ranked matchup against Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. In a battle of two elite teams, at the end of the day it’s going to be an extremely close matchup. The Buckeyes, under the leadership of junior guard Duane Washington, will come out with a close-one.
Ohio State 74, Wisconsin 69

Eric: Both Big 10 schools are having successful years, being ranked #10 and #15 respectively. Ohio State is coming off of a loss vs. Purdue, I expect Ohio State to come out with vengeance and prove themselves
Ohio State 68 Wisconsin 60

Final Score: Ohio State 74, Wisconsin 62

#24 UCLA vs. Stanford, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2 p.m.
Adam: Despite losing Chris Smith, their leading scorer for the season, UCLA has gotten off to an impressive 8-0 record in conference play, sitting atop the conference. Stanford, on the other hand, has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise this season, led by star freshman Ziare Williams. Both teams should battle, but the more experienced Bruins will pull it out, cementing themselves as the best team in the Pac-12.
UCLA 73, Stanford 69

Alex: UCLA has been living up to the hype this season, playing great overall team basketball. Although Stanford has been surpassing most expectations, the Bruins will prove their dominance on Saturday afternoon.
UCLA 72, Stanford 64

Eric: Newly ranked UCLA is undefeated in conference play, and looks to extend that streak vs. Stanford. UCLA has depth, along with a handful of playmakers, making them dangerous. I expect UCLA to win by a comfortable margin.
UCLA 67, Stanford 53

Final Score: Stanford 73, UCLA 72

NFC Championship: Buccaneers vs. Packers, Sunday, Jan. 24, 12:05 p.m.
Adam: The Packers come into this one as heavy favorites, led by likely the league MVP in Aaron Rodgers. The Bucs got the best of the Packers in their earlier meeting, stifling the best offense in the league in a stunning fashion. The same will not be the case on Sunday, as Rodgers will get the best of Brady and the Bucs en route to a convincing win.
Packers 31, Buccaneers 21

Alex: A battle of two future hall of famers, the Buccaneers and the Packers are both extremely deserving of their spot in the NFC championship. At the end of the day, the strong Bucs defense will not be able to slow down the Aaron Rodgers led Packers offense. The Packers will pull way deep in the fourth quarter, cementing their spot in the Superbowl.
Packers 27, Buccaneers 20

Eric: In a battle in the cold Wisconsin weather, I think Tom Brady and his Buccaneers will pull off the upset against the favorite Packers. Tom Brady has proved himself in big playoff games, and I see that trend continuing in this close game
Buccaneers 24, Packers 18

Final Score: Buccaneers 31, Packers 26

AFC Championship: Bills vs. Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 24, 3:40 p.m.
Adam: The outcomes of this game rests on the health of Patrick Mahomes. After being knocked out of last week’s game against the Browns, his status for the game is murky. If Mahomes was 100%, I’d take the Chiefs — no question. But he is not 100%, and I think the Bills will capitalize on that. Their defense was fantastic last week on one of the most unguardable players in the league, Lamar Jackson, and I expect that to continue with a Super Bowl berth for Buffalo.
Bills 31, Chiefs 24

Alex: After a scare against the Browns, the Chiefs will look to silence the haters in this matchup against the Buffalo Bills. However, the versatility of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs is no match for the Chiefs secondary, and the Bills will have no trouble scoring in this one despite hiccups in the previous matchup. The Bills will stun the world, making it to the Superbowl for the first time since 1994.
Bills 21, Chiefs 17

Eric: The Chiefs star Quarterback should return for the AFC Championship, after leaving the Divisional game with a concussion. If he plays, he should be a game changer and the Bills defense will have no answer for this high-flying offense.
Chiefs 27, Bills 20

Final Score: Chiefs 38, Bills 24

Lakers vs. 76ers, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 4:30 p.m.
Adam: So far, these teams have both been far and away the best teams in their conference. The 76ers have been on fire, with Joel Embiid having made a big jump in the offseason. The Lakers are the reigning champs, and they have shown no signs of slowing down early in the season. I believe the Lakers will continue their hot streak despite a few prior disappointing losses.
Lakers 110, 76ers 98

Alex: Lebron will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, but unfortunately the supporting cast of the Lakers will not do enough to push them over the top in this matchup. The 76ers will take the win in a surprising fashion.
76ers 111, Lakers 105

Eric: With both Anthony Davis and LeBron James having off days, in the Lakers’s loss to the Warriors, I expect them to rebound against the 76ers. The Lakers have too much depth and starpower and will overwhelm the 76er’s starters.
Lakers 112, 76ers 104

Final Score: 76ers 107, Lakers 106

Current Prediction Standings (Through Sixth Edition):
Adam: 17-13 (3-2 last week)
Alex: 17-13 (3-2 last week)
Eric: 15-15 (3-2 last week)