This Saturday the No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers (7-2, 4-5 ATS) will host the No. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-1, 6-2-1 ATS) in a huge Big Ten West showdown. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 EST at Camp Randall Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC. Oddsmakers currently have Wisconsin listed as a 6-point home favorite.
This will be the first time that these two teams have faced off against each other since the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game, which saw the Badgers win convincingly 70-31. There’s a good chance that the winner of this matchup will find themselves in the Big Ten Championship Game this year, as both are tied with Minnesota a top the West standings at 4-1 and each still has a game against the Golden Gophers left on the schedule.
Early Lean on Wisconsin -6
With the uncertainty surrounding the health of Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, I believe you have to take your chances and back Wisconsin at home laying less than a touchdown. While Abdullah is listed as probable on the injury report, there’s a chance he’s going to play in this game at less than 100%. Without Abdullah at full strength I just don’t see Nebraska being able to go on the road and keep this game competitive.
Abdullah suffered an MCL sprain against Purdue and the offense wasn’t nearly as effective once he left the game. Nebraska finished the game with a season-low 297 yards. That’s not a good sign considering how strong defensively the Badgers have been in 2014. It was already going to be hard enough for Nebraska to get their running game going, as Wisconsin comes into this game ranked 5th in the country versus the run (94.3 ypg) and are only giving up a mere 2.9 yards/carry.
Road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points off 3 straight conference wins against an opponent off a double-digit road win are just 10-32 (24%) ATS since 1992.
I know that Wisconsin’s offense is as one-dimensional as it’s been in years, but I’m confident they will be able to establish their running game against the Cornhuskers. The Badgers come into this game averaging 326 ypg on the ground, with a ridiculous 7.0 yards/carry. Nebraska has allowed at least 100 yards rushing in each of their last 4 games and their overall numbers against the run on the season are misleading due to a soft schedule. Keep in mind in that last meeting in the Big Ten Championship Game, Wisconsin put up a staggering 539 rushing yards on just 50 attempts (10.8 ypc).
Speaking of the Badgers high-powered rushing attack, Nebraska is just 11-24 ATS in their last 35 road games against teams who are averaging 200 or more rushing yards/game. Wisconsin on the other hand is 17-6 ATS in their last 23 home games against teams who are averaging 200 or more rushing yards/game. The Badgers are also 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games versus teams who average 31+ points/game and 12-3 in their last 15 home games after scoring 20 points or more in the first half of each of their last two games.
Road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points off 3 straight conference wins against an opponent off a double-digit road win are just 10-32 (24%) ATS since 1992. Adding to this is the fact that home teams in game involving two good teams (outscoring opponents by 10+ ppg) at least 8 games into the season after allowing 7 or less points in the first half of two straight games are 80-42 (66%) ATS since 1992.