The 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl will be an exciting contest between the no. 6 Wisconsin Badgers and no. 10 Miami Hurricanes. The game will kickoff at 8:00 EST on Saturday, December 30 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Fans can watch the game on ESPN.
The Badgers enter this game as 6.5-point favorites over the Hurricanes. The over/under is set at 45 points. Click here for a full list of bowl game betting odds and links to game previews.
Orange Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Wisconsin vs Miami
Wisconsin is no doubt disappointed at how their season ended. After being a perfect 12-0 during the regular season, the Badgers came up a little short against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, losing out on both a conference championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The Hurricanes are in a similar boat, as they have to be upset with how their season ended. Miami lost to Pitt in their regular-season finale and then got humiliated by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. That being said, you can’t deny that starting the season 11-0 put the Hurricanes in the national spotlight.
Orange Bowl Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Miami +6.5
I’m going to take a small risk and lean toward the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl. This game will be all about Miami’s state of mind and motivation. If they come to play, which they should on their home field, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a close game that’s decided by less than a touchdown. I’ll bet that Miami will be motivated to play and make this a good game.
If you look at Miami’s season prior to the Clemson game, they typically played to the level of their competition. They were able to topple quality teams like Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. But at the same time, they would play down to lesser teams and struggle to put them away. I’m expecting the Hurricanes to rise to the occasion and play a competitive game. After all, being underdogs to Wisconsin on their home field won’t sit well with them.
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One thing to remember about Miami is that they were typically effective at stopping the run for most of the season. Even in their losses to Pitt and Clemson, those teams didn’t post impressive rushing totals. Obviously, the Wisconsin rushing attack is one of the best in the country behind freshman Jonathan Taylor. But if the Miami defense can continue to play tough against the run and keep Taylor more or less contained, the Hurricanes will keep this game close.
Even after a leading the Badgers to a 12-1 season, I’m still not sold on Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Even late in the season once he had more experience under his belt, Hornibrook never stopped being turnover prone, totaling 15 interceptions on the season. He also wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be in the Big Ten title game. If the Miami defense can contain the running game and force Hornibrook to beat them, the Hurricanes may be able to bust out the turnover chain a few times.
Of course, the Miami offense also has some questions to answer in this game. Wisconsin was third nationally in points allowed this year. To be fair, the Badgers did that against a modest schedule. But they are stout defensively nonetheless.
More importantly, Miami quarterback Malik Rosier was not at his best late in the season. The Hurricanes are also missing some of their best playmakers because of injury, which clearly hindered them against Clemson. Rosier and company need to use the extra bowl practices to get back on track. Even with the extra practice time, I’m still a little skeptical of the Miami offense at this point.
If the Hurricanes are going to win this game, their defense will have to be at their best. But in a big game on their home field, I have reason to believe that’ll be the case. Even if the Miami offense struggles, the Miami defense will play well enough to keep this game within a touchdown and maybe even do enough for the Hurricanes to win.