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Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Football Pick with Betting Line Analysis

10/22/11

The Marquee game of the week in college football is in the Big 10 as Michigan State hosts the Wisconsin Badgers who come into East Lansing ranked 4th in the land and undefeated at 6-0. Wisconsin fields the #1 ranked offense in the country and the #3 ranked defense. The game opened up with Wisconsin favored by -7.5 and bettors on Monday morning said that's not enough as they pushed this line to -9.

If not for a blemish on Michigan State's dance card this year, in their game against Notre Dame, we wouldn't be able to bet this game fast enough. That game gives us pause, as it showed Michigan State to be vulnerable against a high powered offensive team. Unfortunately, it looks like Wisky has a defense too!

But let's not get too carried away, just yet. Among their victims, Wisconsin counts two 1-5 teams and one 1-6 team. There's also a 4-3 MAC team and 4-3 South Dakota. Yeah, they beat Nebraska, but the Nebraska defense even made the Ohio State QB's look good for a half! If that's not enough, this will be Wisconsin's 2nd road game of the year, their only other at Northern Illinois.

Mike Stoops just got fired over at Arizona for losing to top 10 powerhouses. Yet, Wisconsin snags a #4 ranking and all the accolades that go with it, making Bret Bielema look like a coaching genius. Hey, maybe Wisconsin is THAT good and they'll go on to win a national title. But that doesn't change the fact that their schedule is a friggin joke!

Back to the game.

These teams have played 4 consecutive years. Michigan State beat Wisconsin last year, at Wisconsin, 34-24 in a year that saw both of these teams finish 11-2. In 2009 it was a 38-30 Wisconsin win. 2008 saw a 1 point Spartan win and 2007 saw a 3 point Badger win. You see a trend? Yep. Close games each year. These programs are familiar with each other. They compete for the same talent and field teams of equal strength most years. This past year saw both teams return a half dozen starters on each side of the ball with the difference being Michigan State returning the QB who beat the Badgers last year, Kirk Cousins.

Michigan was putting up some impressive offensive numbers heading into last weeks game with the Spartans as well. Michigan State held them to 14 points. Wisconsin also put up some big time numbers last season, but Michigan State held them to their 2nd lowest point total of the year, 24 points. Then, on the big stage, in the Rose Bowl, TCU held the Badgers to 19 points in a 21-19 win.

These are two teams close in talent. Michigan State has the home crowd and the chance to move up in the polls by knocking off a much higher ranked team. They had a similar chance last season heading in to play #5 Iowa and they failed miserably, on the road, losing 37-6. Expect Dantonio to remind them of that.

Our score prediction model has Wisconsin by a score of 19-13. Michigan State may very well be all that stands between Wisconsin and a spot in the BCS Title game as the Badgers play Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois and Penn State the rest of the way, all likely wins. We're not so sure this weeks game is as easy as some may think. We're going to back Michigan State here. Michigan State +9 but watch the board. We'd obviously like to see +10 or more.

 

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