WISCONSIN BADGERS (6-0)
at MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (5-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Wisconsin -7, Total: 49
Two of the nation’s top-15 teams do battle Saturday night when No. 15 Michigan State hosts unbeaten Wisconsin, ranked fourth in the nation. Football betting lines.
This is a classic battle of a high-powered offense against a relentless defense. The Badgers lead the nation in points and are beating opponents by a 50-10 average score. This includes a 107-24 scoring margin over their two Big Ten foes (Nebraska and Indiana). MSU has beaten Ohio State and Michigan in consecutive weeks, and leads the nation in pass defense (119 YPG) and ranks third against the run (67 YPG). Wisconsin just has too many weapons, as the Badgers can beat you both on the ground (258 YPG), and in the air with QB Russell Wilson, who leads the nation in passing efficiency (14 TD, 1 INT). The Badgers are eager to avenge last year’s loss in East Lansing, and have won nine straight conference games since that defeat. Expect WISCONSIN to run that streak to double-digits with a double-digit win on Saturday night.
These two highly-rated FoxSheets trends also support the Badgers:
WISCONSIN is 10-0 ATS (+10.0 Units) after scoring 31 points or more in 2 straight games over the last 2 seasons. The average score was WISCONSIN 50.0, OPPONENT 17.6 – (Rating = 5*). Odds.
Play Against – Underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (MICHIGAN ST) – off 2 straight wins against conference rivals, a top-level team (>=80%) playing a team with a winning record. (30-6 over the last 5 seasons.) (83.3%, +23.4 units. Rating = 4*).
Wisconsin has dropped three straight games at Spartan Stadium, but the offense runs much smoother under Wilson who is completing 74% of his passes this year. For his career, Wilson has an incredible ratio of 90 TD and only 27 INT in 1,308 pass attempts (1 INT per 48.4 throws). RB Montee Ball has 17 total TD, which is tied for the nation’s lead. He has 293 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in two Big Ten games this year, and will be a much larger factor in this meeting after only getting two carries last year against the Spartans. Sophomore RB James White ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries in the loss to MSU last year, and is a tremendous No. 2 back with 6.0 yards per carry this season.
Although the Badgers haven’t played a difficult schedule, their defense has also been stellar, ranking third in the nation in scoring (9.7 PPG), fourth in pass defense (145 YPG) and seventh in total yardage (268 YPG). Chris Borland is playing as well as any linebacker in the conference with 58 tackles (34 solo) and 8.5 TFL, which both rank among the top four in the Big Ten.
Michigan State also has a smart QB in senior Kirk Cousins, who was 20-of-29 for 269 yards, 3 TD and 2 INT in last year’s win over the Badgers. He has only eight TD passes this year, but he has completed 66 percent of his throws. His favorite target has been B.J. Cunningham who ranks second in the Big Ten in catches (7.0 per game) and receiving yards (104 YPG). Cunningham has been inconsistent though, with three games of 9+ catches and three games of five or fewer grabs. The key to this offense will be junior RB Edwin Baker, who is coming off a season-high 167 rushing yards against Michigan. He also ran for 87 yards on 18 carries in last year’s win over Wisconsin.
The Spartans have gotten consistently great production out of their defensive line. With seven sacks in last week’s win over Michigan, the team ranks eighth in the nation in sacks (3.5 per game) and 18th in Tackles for Loss (7.7 per game). Scores.