Guaranteed Rate Bowl Pick: Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State Dec 27/22
Wisconsin Badgers (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Date and Time: Tuesday, December 27, 2022 at 10:15PM EST
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Point Spread: WIS -3/OKST +3 (Bovada – Deposit $200 get $100 FREE!)
Over/Under Total: 43
The Wisconsin Badgers battle the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix. This season might not have gone the way either of these teams was hoping, and after more than a month off, we have to really ponder who we can rely on in this spot. Both the Badgers and Cowboys ended the season on a losing note, last playing on November 26. The Cowboys fell to West Virginia, 24-19, while Wisconsin lost to Minnesota, 24-19. With a little success leading up to that, which at least suggests there’s still some fight left in these teams, we at least get two teams who were on a similar trajectory to end the season. Who can cash us the winning ticket on the 27th?
Hits to Both Teams
The transfer portal has cut a swath through both teams. Both starting quarterbacks with Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz and Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders, are gone. Opt-outs and transfers have left these teams ripped up with enough remaining pieces to make an analysis worthwhile. It seems like the Cowboys might have been hit a bit harder. They not only lose a four-year starter in Sanders, but their top tackler Mason Cobb and a slew of other talent. At times in Sanders’ tenure when he’s been injured, the results were not promising.
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Will Offense Be Scarce?
Relative to the kind of success these teams are used to, this was not a vintage year on offense for these squads. Nevertheless, the loss of a starting QB hurts. The bulk of Oklahoma State’s offense is aerial, and with them turning to either Gunnar Gundy or Garret Rangel, one has to think that puts a major hit on their production, with neither having really shined with 5 TDs, and 7 picks combined. But it’s not like the situation is any better for the Badgers with their two prospective starters for this game, Chase Wolfe and Myles Burkett, having not seen more than spot-snaps this season.
In defense of the Cowboys’ bleak-looking offensive outlook, they had gobs of time to prepare for this relative to other situations where they would be scrambling to keep it together. They retain ample aerial weaponry and could still be able to hit the scoreboard with some regularity. But in strange situations like this where both teams are dealing with offenses in less-than-ideal conditions and hands, one feels the need to put greater emphasis on weapons that won’t be totally dependent on QB-play to thrive. Towards that end, the nod goes to Badgers RB Braelon Allen. The Wisconsin run-game remains a fairly-reliable element, and even if this season was a letdown and Allen isn’t the greatest of the big-time Badgers’ backs to come around, it’s still a factor that figures to resonate in Phoenix.
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Matchup Issues for Oklahoma State
On both sides of the ball, the Cowboys seem to be facing issues that surpass what the Badgers might be dealing with on the 27th. For all of Wisconsin’s failings this season and the missing pieces going into this, their defense could be a big factor on a now-compromised Oklahoma State offense. Even under ideal conditions, running the ball is not a strength of the Cowboys, and against the Badgers’ run-defense, it won’t get any better. But with Oklahoma State’s aerial attack now in limbo, this doesn’t look like an ideal spot to pounce against a Wisconsin defense that also thrives against the pass.
In the Big 12, the Cowboys were going against a lot of offenses that had more horsepower than what was really a mediocre Wisconsin offense this season. Watching them close with a total of 41 points in their last three games didn’t really paint a great picture, either, so maybe Oklahoma State’s defensive woes won’t be exposed to such an extent in this game. Still, whoever starts under center for the Badgers won’t be facing one of the stiffer pass-defenses around. And again, it’s hard to picture this Oklahoma St. defense giving Allen that hard of a time.
Part of you wants to defer to Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his fine bowl record. He always seems to get his teams ready to perform in bowl season, and not all of those bowls were premier spots. He just might have to turn to his son Gunnar, and that offers a little motivational angle to a game where it’s hard to find a ton in this at least borderline letdown bowl spot. Still, you wonder if the veteran know-how of Sanders and what he was able to elicit from this Cowboys’ aerial game was most of what this offense had going for it, and without that, what is there?
Lay the Points
I get the feeling that this might be the kind of low-scoring affair that is more up Wisconsin’s alley. They’re more conditioned overall to come out OK in these kinds of battles, despite their uneven results this season. Their offense won’t be electric, but the presence of their run-game might be enough against an Oklahoma State team where it’s not easy right now to figure out what it is they’re going to do well. I sense the Cowboys can hang in there, with the Badgers crossing the wire a nose ahead. I’ll take Wisconsin in this one.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Wisconsin Badgers minus 3 points. Bet your college football bowl games for FREE by scoring a 100% real cash bonus up to $300 when you use bonus code PREDICT100 at MyBookie Sportsbook!