Wisconsin at Penn State Line
This Saturday the Penn State Nittany Lions will host the Wisconsin Badgers in Big Ten action. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 EST at Beaver Stadium and will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Oddsmakers have listed Penn State as a 2.5-point home favorite with the total set at 45 points.
Why Wisconsin Will Cover
The Badgers suffered a heartbreaking 14-21 overtime loss at home to Ohio State this past weekend. The loss dropped Wisconsin to 7-4 overall and 4-3 inside conference play. This team is a few plays away from being undefeated. Prior to their overtime loss to the Buckeyes, each of their three previous defeats had come by mere 3-points.
Wisconsin had little trouble disposing of the Nittany Lions the last time these two teams faced off. The Badgers went on the road and crushed the Nittany Lions 45-7. They out-gained Penn State 450 to 233 in total yards, thanks in large part to a rushing attack that piled on 264 yards on the ground.
Wisconsin comes into this game ranked 17th in the country with an average of 217.6 ypg on the ground. While the Nittany Lions counter that with the 9th ranked run defense (106.6 ypg), Penn State has had their troubles stopping the run this season. They allowed 234 yards in a 23-35 loss to Ohio State and 267 yards in 23-32 loss at Nebraska.
While the Badgers come in with a 5-6 overall record against the spread, they are a solid 3-1 ATS in their four road games this season and are certainly capable of adding to that mark with a win at Penn State. Wisconsin always seems to step up to the competition they face, as they are an impressive 33-15 ATS over their last 48 games vs a a quality opponent (winning percentage of 60% to 75%).
Why Penn State Will Cover
The Nittany Lions were able to rebound from a tough loss at Nebraska with a 45-22 win at home over Indiana as a 16.5-point favorite. With the win Penn State improved to 7-4 overall and 5-2 inside the conference. Most importantly for our concerns, the Nittany Lions are now 8-2 ATS as it seems like this team is undervalued every single time they step on the field.
That certainly seems to be the case this week. With the Nittany Lions ineligible to play in a bowl game, their season ends on Saturday no matter what. This team has invested too much into this season to not give it their all in the home finale.
While Penn State will be extremely motivated to finish off their season with a win at home, the Badgers could find it hard to get motivated for this game. Wisconsin has already secured a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. You have to believe they are going to be more worried about getting their players healthy and keeping them that way for their likely showdown against Nebraska (if they beat Iowa they win the Legends Division). A trip to the Rose Bowl is a lot more important than finishing the regular season with eight wins instead of seven.
On top of that, the Nittany Lions haven’t forgot how they ended last season with that horrible loss to the Badgers. This team will not only be motivated in the home finale, they will be out for revenge.