The Wisconsin Badgers (6-3) travel to Happy Valley this weekend to take on the #14 overall Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3). Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST at Beaver Stadium and the game will be broadcast on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 11 college football odds, Penn State opened as a 8-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has remained unchanged after early betting, as the Nittany Lions are currently listed at -8. The total for the game is sitting at 55 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Penn State vs Wisconsin
Wisconsin had dropped two out of their last three games before beating Rutgers 31-17 last weekend to improve to 6-3 on the season overall. The Badgers dominated on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Scarlet Knights 473-333 while also picking up twice as many total first downs. QB Alex Hornibrook has been having an up and down season, throwing for 1,343 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, he has also been picked off eight times in nine games. RB Jonathan Taylor has been an absolute beast on the ground, rushing for 1,363 yards and 11 touchdowns. Things certainly haven’t been very well balanced for Wisconsin on offense, as they are just 111th overall in passing yards per game but a very impressive 4th overall in yards per game on the ground (273). As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 31.0 points per game (51st overall).
Things have looked fantastic on the other side of the ball, as the Badgers are currently holding opponents to just 20.9 points per game (25th overall). Wisconsin has really done a great job against the pass, as they currently rank 30th overall. However, they have been slightly less impressive against the run, allowing opponents to run for an average of 159.4 yards per game on the ground (61st overall).
Penn State got absolutely destroyed by Michigan last weekend, losing 42-7 on the road to the #5 team in the country overall. The Wolverines were dominant on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Nittany Lions 403-186. Penn State wasn’t every really in the game after the second quarter, as they trailed 28-0 early in the second half. QB Trace McSorley gave up a pick six and only found a way to lead his team to eleven total first downs. McSorley has thrown for 1,711 yards and 12 touchdowns while also rushing for 611 yards and nine touchdowns. He has had plenty of help from the dynamic RB duo of Miles Sanders and Ricky Slade who have combined for over 1,000 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Overall, the offense is currently averaging 37.2 points per game (23rd overall) on 429.1 yards of total offense.
Things have been pretty mediocre overall on the other side of the ball for the Nittany Lions, as they are currently giving up an average of 24.4 points per game (50th overall). They have really struggled against the run so far this season, giving up an average of 172.2 yards per game on the ground (79th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Wisconsin +8
Both of these teams haven’t been playing that well as of late, so something has to give in this particular matchup. Penn State has lost three out of their last five games while Wisconsin had lost two out of three before righting the ship in Week 10. I have a little more confidence in the Badgers right now, as the Nittany Lions have to be demoralized after such an embarrassing performance last weekend. Yes, they are averaging 5+ more points per game than Wisconsin, but they have also been giving up 5+ more points per game defensively. I still think that Penn State is the better team and is likely going to win straight up – especially since they are playing at home on Saturday – but anything over a touchdown is too many free points to leave on the table.
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The Badgers are a very solid 8-1-1 ATS in their last ten games in the month of November. They are also 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games against opponents with a winning home record and 7-1 ATS over their last eight games on grass. Penn State is only 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Novemeber and 2-13-2 ATS over their last 17 games following a straight up loss.
After digging a little bit deeper, I found another very interesting statistic – the last three meetings between these two teams have been decided by one score or less. Having to lay 8 points to take the home favorite in this spot is a little rich for my blood, especially considering that both schools have identical 6-3 records so far this season. I think it is much more likely that this game is decided by 3-7 points (or Wisconsin wins outright) than Penn State being up by two possessions by the time the final whistle blows. I’ll happily take the points and roll with the road underdog – give me the Badgers.