Rose Bowl Odds
The sixth-ranked Stanford Cardinal (11-2) host the Wisconsin Badgers (8-5) Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 5:00 PM ET in the Rose Bowl, which takes place in Pasadena, CA. Oddsmakers have listed Stanford as a 6.5-point favorite and have set the total at 47.5.
Why Stanford Covers
The Cardinal can focus on the task at hand while the Badgers are dealing with Bret Bielema bolting for Arkansas.
Former head coach Barry Alvarez will serve as interim coach for this game, but it’s going to be tough for him to devote adequate time to getting the team ready to play when he has to deal with interviewing new coaching candidates. I know the assistants will help him out, but everyone will be taking on slightly different roles and responsibilities. This sort of thing can be tough on a football team, especially for the players who signed up to play for Bielema.
Wisconsin has relied heavily on its running game because its passing attack hasn’t gotten the job done. The Badgers’ reliance on the run could get them burned here. That’s because Stanford is one of the top run-stuffing teams in the country. It ranks third in the nation against the run with just 88.0 yards per game allowed.
The Badgers are 0-3 this season when being held below the century mark on the ground. They are on a 7-17 against the spread slide versus good rushing defenses that give up 120.0 rushing yards or less per game. They are on a 2-10 against the spread skid in road/neutral field contests versus good rushing defenses that allow 3.25 yards or less per carry.
It is also worth noting that Stanford is on a 6-0 against the spread run in road/neutral field games versus good offensive teams that average 5.9 yards or more per play. The Cardinal have won these by an average score of 32.0 to 22.4.
The Badgers are 0-5 against the spread in their last five non-conference games while the Cardinal are 10-1 against the number in their last 11 games against non-conference foes.
Why Wisconsin Covers
While a coach leaving before a bowl game can have a negative effect on a team, it can also serve as motivation. There are more than a few Wisconsin players that would love to win this game to shove it up Bielema’s you know what. Winning this game would really be sweet since the Badgers have lost the last two Rose Bowls with Bielema on the sideline.
Stanford played a lot of close games this season. Its defense kept it in every game, but its offense wasn’t good enough to pull away from most teams.
The Cardinal rank just 85th in the country in total offense with 376.5 yards per game and 71st in scoring with 28.5 points per game. They have a tough time moving the football on a Wisconsin defense that ranks 13th in the nation in total defense with 321.0 yards allowed per game and 19th in scoring defense with 19.1 points allowed per game.
Seven of Stanford’s victories came by seven points or less. Each of Wisconsin’s five losses came by seven points or fewer with four of them coming by three points. With this in mind, it is reasonable to think the Badgers can keep this one within the number.
I have picked Stanford to win this game. Check out the rest of my bowl predictions by visiting this page. Also, be sure to take a look at which team Brandon Lee, Carolina Sports, and Jack Jones have picked to win the Rose Bowl.