Wisconsin vs. Penn State Football Betting Preview
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
When: Saturday, December 3, 8:00 PM ET
Line: Wisconsin Badgers (-2) at Penn State Nittany Lions (+2) – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
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Betting on the Wisconsin Badgers (-2)
Last Saturday, the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers capped off their regular season on a high with a 35-17 win over the Minnesota Gophers, 35-17. The Badgers made it to the Big Ten Championship Game against Penn State with six-straight wins (4-1-1 ATS during that span), but also have a pretty significant concern to address entering this Saturday’s showdown in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Freshman starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook had to exit in the second quarter of the game against Minnesota with an apparent chest injury. While that might be a scare for Wisconsin fans, his backup, Bart Houston, actually filled in well in his place by throwing for a decent 124 passing yards with no interceptions.
The biggest reason, though, as for why the Badgers won’t suffer badly from losing their top QB is because they’ve been winning games on the ground and not through the air. Star running back Corey Clement had two of Wisconsin’s four rushing touchdowns in the win over the Gophers to go with 100 rushing yard on 23 carries. The team finished with 210 rushing yards as Clement secured his seventh 100-yard rushing performance and fourth multi-touchdown game of the year.
To top it all off, the Badgers have one of the most frightening defenses in the nation, which ranks third in averaged points allowed (13.7) and seventh in average yards allowed (292) for the season. This imposing unit certainly appears capable of containing a not-so impressive Nittany Lions offense, but then again…
Betting on the Penn State Nittany Lions (+2)
Nobody expected the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions to win the Big Ten East title this season over Ohio State, and that’s even with the Buckeyes having a better overall record this season than our underdogs from State College.
Penn State is on an even hotter eight-game win streak after routing the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, 47-10. The team, which defeated Ohio State earlier this season to ultimately advance to its first-ever Big Ten title game, got another fantastic outing from Trace McSorley on Saturday. The sophomore QB went 17-of-23 for 376 passing yards and four TDs against the Spartans and has been a lightning rod for the Nittany Lions’ win streak with 16 touchdowns to just two picks during the seven-game run.
McSorley, who’s averaging 9.1 yards per pass completion and has a QB rating of 150.3 for the season, needs keep his breakout campaign going on full tilt versus Wisconsin, especially with running back Saquon Barkley managing just 12 carries for 14 rushing yards and a score last Saturday. Barkley was also taken out of the second quarter of that contest with a slight injury. The sophomore’s no yardage monster, but he does have 15 rushing TDs for the year with seven of them over the last five contests. He’s currently listed as questionable for the championship game this Saturday.
All things considered, though, Penn State is only a borderline top-30 program in terms of both offense (28th with 36.1 points per game) and defense (30th with 22.8 points allowed). One thing of note as well: the last time the team faced a top-10 defense – Michigan in Week 4 – it mustered up just 200 yards of total offense.
Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions like their chances with everything coming of roses this magical 2016, all the more so since they’ve won four of their last five meetings against the Badgers since 2007 (SU/ATS).
The Badgers (-2) spoil the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten Cinderella journey, 23-20, and win their first Big Ten Championship since 2012.
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