Pick – Trends
We don’t know a whole lot about either one of these teams at this point, which will make this one of the harder Games to look at. What we do know is that neither team has allowed a point this year. While none of their opponents were all that great, it’s still something to look at. Wisconsin is the No. 20 ranked team in the nation, but they come in as 5.5-point road underdogs at GTBets.
Arizona State opens Pac-12 play next weekend at Stanford, so it’s a wonder if that Game will be on its mind at all. The Sun Devils were a strong home team last season, with their only losses coming against Oregon and two points to UCLA. With plenty of returning players, they’ll hope to improve on last year’s eight wins and maybe finish in the Top 25.
Wisconsin’s main problem will be dealing with quarterback Taylor Kelly. After throwing for 3,000 yards and 29 TDs a year ago, Kelly got off to a nice start with 300 yards and five touchdowns in his first Game. Kelly’s receivers may be ASU’s biggest question though with a lot of new faces. Kevin Ozier is the best returnee outside of tight end Chris Coyle, who had 57 grabs. Sophomore Jaelen Strong led the team with six catches in the first Game, but running back Marion Grice led in yards. After 679 rushing yards and 41 receptions in 2012, Grice should expect to see the ball more this season.
The Badgers usually have a stout defense, so don’t expect Kelly to go off for another five touchdowns. Wisconsin held a similar Pac-12 team to 10 points a season ago at Oregon State. The total for this Game is set at a fairly high 53 points, but that can easily hit the under if both defenses play to their ability. Most Wisconsin fans are still iffy on how new coach Gary Andersen will affect the program. This Game will be an ultimate test to see where the Badgers are at.
While they have a new coach, Wisconsin is still a heavy running team. Montee Ball is gone, but they still have Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement, who all have at least 250 rushing yards and two touchdowns through two Games. That will be ASU’s first task, stopping the Badgers’ running Game. Next up is Joel Stave, who has thrown an interception in each Game so far. against better opponents, Stave will need to take better care of the ball, even though his completion percentage is at a solid 71.7 percent. Jared Abbrederis (10 catches, 184 yards, three TDs) is once again Wisconsin’s top target at wide receiver.
The Badgers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Pac-12, while the Sun Devils are 6-1 ATS in their last seven vs. the Big Ten. Going further, the Badgers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 on the road and the Sun Devils are 6-2 ATS in their last eight at home. The numbers point to Arizona State, but Wisconsin is an usually large underdog in this Game, which means it’s not getting a whole lot of respect with its new head coach. That could change this weekend.
All we have to go on here is last season. Both of these teams return a bunch of key starters on both sides of the ball and are relatively intact. Had they played at the end of last season, this Game would have been pretty close to a toss up, making the points worth a look with Wisconsin.
That being said, we’re going to take a different approach in this one. We’re simply going to buck the public. The betting trends at 5dimes.com show us that 78% of the wagers taken thus far have been on the Badgers, so we’ll join the minority and go the other way. Arizona State -5