This Game doesn’t have as much importance as it once did with both teams out of the running for the College Football Playoff, but it’s still getting the ABC treatment. Both teams have three losses, but Wisconsin still has an outside shot at making the Big Ten title Game, though that’s not saying anything in the West division. The Nittany Lions were -9 point home favorites with an over/under of 55.5 as of Wednesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Neither one of these teams has had an easy season, but Penn State’s losses are at least respectable. Wisconsin lost at home to BYU and was handled in its last two road Games at Michigan and Northwestern. Without an elite defense, it’s just not the same for the Badgers and that’s where Penn State can step in, or at least that’s what the oddsmakers think. The Nittany Lions just scored seven points at Michigan, but it’s still an offense with an experienced quarterback in Trace McSorley and if Rutgers can Score17 points against Wisconsin, PSU should reach at least 30.
It’s been an ugly season for McSorley behind a sketchy offensive line as he’s completing just 52 percent of his passes and has only two passing touchdowns in the last Four Games. Because of those numbers and McSorley battling a minor knee injury, the Lions will likely lean on running back Miles Sanders, who quietly has 848 yards and eight touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry. Surprisingly, that may be enough in this Game because the Badgers are allowing almost 160 rushing yards per contest, and that includes giving up 182 to Northwestern a couple weeks ago. If Sanders can move the ball, that may be all Penn State needs because Wisconsin could have trouble scoring 20 points, something it couldn’t do against Northwestern. PSU’s defense is conveniently allowing the same 24.4 points per Game as Northwestern’s.
The other issue for the Badgers is that Jack Coan will likely get another start at quarterback for Alex Hornibrook, who picked up another head injury last Game. Coan hasn’t thrown an interception, but he’s also completing less than six yards per attempt, which is not a good rate no matter how you look at it. That said, there will be an opening for Jonathan Taylor to rack up yards because the Lions are allowing 172.2 rushing yards per contest. He’s having an outstanding season already with 1,363 yards and 11 touchdowns on 6.6 yards per carry, but in a matchup like this, that’s not enough. The Nittany Lions will likely stack the box and if Taylor is at five yards per carry or less, like in the Northwestern Game, Wisconsin will have trouble moving the ball consistently.
Even though each defense has struggled, this could be a lower-scoring Game due to inefficient offenses. It’s also likely this will go the opposite of 2016’s Conference title Game that PSU won 38-31. The Badgers are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 road Games, but 1-4 ATS in their last five overall. The Nittany Lions are 13-4-2 ATS in their last 19 home Games, but an odd 2-13-2 ATS in their last 17 Games following a straight-up loss. Penn State is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these schools, but that dates back to 2007.
Additional ATS Trends
Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Conference Games.
Wisconsin is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road Games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Wisconsin is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 Games following a win.
Wisconsin is 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 Games in November.
Wisconsin is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 road Games.
Wisconsin is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Games as an underdog.
Wisconsin is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 Games on grass.
Penn St is 2-13-2 ATS in their last 17 Games following a loss.
Penn St is 16-7-1 ATS in their last 24 Conference Games.
Penn St is 16-7-2 ATS in their last 25 Games as a favorite.
Penn St is 13-4-2 ATS in their last 19 home Games.
Penn St is 14-5-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Penn St is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home Games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Penn St is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Games as an underdog.
Penn St is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater.
Penn St is 3-7-3 ATS in their last 13 Games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous Game.
Penn St is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Games as a home underdog of 3.5-10.0.
Penn St is 22-8-2 ATS in their last 32 Games overall.
Penn St is 9-4-2 ATS in their last 15 Games as a home favorite.
Penn St is 16-5-2 ATS in their last 23 Games on grass.
Our Pick – Penn State -8.5