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Big 10 Pick
Purdue hosts Wisconsin in Big 10 action on Saturday at 12 noon est. in a game that can ve seen live on the Big 10 Network. The game is a toss up according to oddsmakers, with the current line "pick" at 5 Dimes and Betonline, with a total of 50.5. Early betting action at sportsbook.ag shows that bettors are favoring the Badgers in a big way, with 91% of their early wagers.
Suddenly, Wisconsin's offense doesn't look as bad as it once did. They are now averaging close to 32 points per game over their last three games. The main reason for this was a quarterback change to Joel Stave. Can they keep the scoring going against a Purdue team that looked deflated last weekend giving up 44 points to Michigan? The Boilermakers were in talks of possibly being a top team in the Big 10 Leaders division, but this recent blowout destroyed those expectations. A home win against Wisconsin may revive them, though.
With three starts under his belt, Stave has a solid 693 yards and four touchdowns. However, his less than 60 percent completion rate isn't to die for, in fact it's actually worse than Danny O'Brien, the QB he replaced. WR Jared Abbrederis has been Stave's main man catching at least six balls, 117 yards and a TD in each of the last three games. He's been great, but not many others have helped out in the receiving department. Montee Ball doesn't have the kind of numbers as he had last year due to the opposing defense's focus on him, but he's starting to come around with the help of Stave's arm. Ball now has 569 yards and eight TDs this year.
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After the last two weeks, the Purdue defense will have to regroup if they want to keep the Badgers from going off on them. The Boilermakers have allowed 85 points in their last two games to Marshall and Michigan.
Offensively, Purdue is also at a standstill. QB Robert Marve is dealing with an ACL injury, but was used in the fourth quarter against Michigan due to Caleb TerBush's ineffectiveness. No matter who starts, they'll have to keep the ball safe. Purdue QBs have combined for eight interceptions through five games this year. Wide receivers Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross are the main threats through the air. The two have combined for 63 receptions for 595 yards and six touchdowns. Because of their QB problems, the Boilermakers run the ball a lot and most of that goes through senior running back Akeem Shavers. Still, he only has 274 yards through 68 carries and three TDs. He compiled just 34 yards against Michigan last week. If Purdue wants to pull out a win at home, they'll need the running game to work.
This game is currently at a pick 'em, but Wisconsin has dominated this series as of late including a 62-17 beat down last season. In that game, Ball rushed for a monstrous 223 yards and three touchdowns. Obviously, Purdue will need a better run defense this time around.
The Badgers have beaten Purdue in six straight games and covered in all six of them. The under hit in five of those six games, as well. Things haven't been as nice for Wisconsin this year though, going just 2-4 ATS, but those wins have come in their last two games. The Boilermakers are 3-2, but those two losses have come in their last two games. The over has hit an incredible 10-1-1 in Purdue's last 12 home games.
Wisconsin has dominated this series in recent years. They have won 6 straight and only one of those, back in 2004, was close. When we look for teams ready to break through against a superior program, we look for signs that they have closed the talent gap, such as recent close games in the series. That doesn't exist here. Last years score was 62-17 and was preceded by scores of 34-13, 37-0 and 24-3.
If you like Purdue, we won't say don't play. Our numbers give them a shot here, with one model we use showing a straight up Purdue win by 5. However, we don't trust the Boilermakers. Their last time out, a 44-13 loss to Michigan, may be a more accurate measure of this team. Likewise, Wisky beating up on Illinois may be a sign that the Badgers have shaken off that rough early start and are now playing up to their ability. We have to pass this one.
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