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Michigan State

vs.

Wisconsin

Big 10 Football Championship

12/3/11

Wisconsin and Michigan State square off in the inaugural Big 10 Title game, in what will be a rematch of a regular season game played at Michigan State and won by the Spartans as time expired, 37-31. It was a game that saw both teams blow two touchdown leads while accumulating about 400 yards of total offense each. The title game will be played in Indianapolis with the Badgers favored by -9.5 and a posted total of 54.5. The game can be seen on ABC at 8:15 PM est. Saturday Night.

The winner of this game earns a spot in the Rose Bowl. A year ago, Michigan State finished tied with Wisconsin and Ohio State and they beat Wisconsin during the regular season, but Wisconsin had a higher BCS ranking and got the Rose Bowl trip, a loss to TCU. Now Michigan State will have to beat the high powered Badgers twice in one year for that elusive Rose Bowl birth.

Last week we used Penn State as a key release over Wisconsin and we took it on the chin. Wisconsin destroyed what we thought was a very good defense in Penn State. We still think the Penn State defense is a good one, but, with no offense to compliment that defense, the Badgers simply overwhelmed them. Any defense that spends most of a game on the field is going to tire. Unlike Penn State, Michigan State can move the football.

We'd use the same argument though, for this game, that we used for Penn State. In the few games where Wisconsin faced legitimate defenses, the games didn't get out of hand. Illinois, Ohio State and this Michigan State team. Sure the Badgers got their points, but it was roughly 30 points in those games, not the 50 and 60 points like we saw them put up against the likes of Purdue and Indiana.

The yards per point numbers here are almost even and that comes against a schedule that is identical in strength. Michigan State with a 12.8 and a 17.8 and Wisconsin with a 10.6 and 18.5. The yards per point line here would be Wisconsin -3.

Our model predicts a wider margin, 25-17 in favor of Wisconsin. There were only 4 common opponents here, with Wisconsin going 3-1 and winning in blowout fashion in their 3 wins. Michigan State was 2-2 with only one of their wins a blowout, the other being a 7 point win over Minnesota. Edge to Wisconsin as far as performance against common opponents goes.

Considering that Michigan State beat Wisconsin once already, and considering that this game is for all the big 10 marbles and a trip to the Rose Bowl, the price on Wisconsin seems a tad high. Sure, they blew out Penn State last week which is fresh on the minds of the betting public, and explains why 70% of the action is on the Badgers thus far. Sure, you'll hear how it's hard to beat a team twice in the same season and sure, you'll hear all about the mammoth offensive line that Wisconsin has and how it's bigger than most NFL teams. But let's not lose sight of the fact that Michigan State BEAT them once already.

The numbers we like to use suggest that this one comes in closer than the current pointspread. They also suggest that a straight up Michigan State win is not out of the question. A capable underdog, especially one of this size, with so much on the line, is right up our alley. We can't pass up taking a ton of points in a game that figures to come down to the wire. We'd like to see +10 or more but will put this out at the best available current number of +9.5. Watch the board, though we don't anticipate 10's. Michigan State +9.5

 

 

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