In the first matchup of the 2018 playoffs, the Winton Woods will play at home against the Olentangy Braves in what looks to be one of the most competitive matchups of the season. The Warriors come into the game as 3-point favorites, projected to come away with the victory by a score of 28-25. It's do or die for each team as always in the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, each team can take comfort in the fact that they had a successful enough season to get here, but only one team will be satisfied with the result as the other's season will end on a loss. Olentangy comes in as Division 1's 24th-ranked team. Winton Woods comes in ranked 5th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Usually, matchups from the previous year are used in developing a strategy for upcoming games. For these two, no such opportunity will be afforded.
Olentangy is currently on a 2-game winning streak, which they hope to continue on Friday. Coming off of a 42-21 win against the Westerville Central Warhawks, they are 5-5 and their confidence continues to build as they finish up the year. While the Braves offense has not been particularly great, ranked 26th in Division 1 with 26.9 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 42 points over their last 2 contests. They aren't a top defense in terms of points allowed either, but they have given up less points in recent weeks. While they rank 49th in their division on the season with 22.6 points allowed per game, they've given up an improved average of 17.5 points over their last 2 games.
Winton Woods will look to continue the momentum of their 9-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 21-17 win against the Moeller Crusaders last week, bringing their record to 9-1. The Warriors rank 19th in Division 2 on offense, scoring an average of 36.2. However, over the last 2 weeks, their average is down to 24.5 points per game. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 16.8 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 23rd in their division. Over the last 4 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 12 points per game.
Prediction: Winton Woods to win (99.15% chance of victory)