Indiana Hoosiers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick
(10) Indiana Hoosiers (5-1 SU, 6-0 ATS) v. (18) Wisconsin Badgers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
NCAA Week 14
When: Saturday, December 5 at 3:30 pm ET
Where: Camp Randall Stadium - Madison, WI
Point Spread: IND +14/WIS -14 (GTBets - Deposit $150 get $150 Free! Real Cash Bonus!)
Over/Under Total: 45
The Big Ten is in its stretch run to the conference title game, and while there are a lot of eligibility questions to be answered, Week 14 brings some solid matchups with the Indiana at Wisconsin contest the best of the bunch. The Hoosiers are reeling a bit after losing QB Michael Penix to an ACL injury, but they are still having one of their best conference showings in years. They remain in place to inherit an East division title if Ohio State winds up short of the minimum six games played to qualify for Indianapolis. Wisconsin had designs on a potential College Playoff bid, but a loss to Northwestern and the cancellation of the Minnesota game has taken the Badgers out of any meaningful postseason discussions. These teams haven’t played often in recent years, with 2017 marking the last meeting. Indiana certainly hasn’t missed playing Wisconsin often as the Badgers have averaged 60 points per game in the previous five meetings between these teams. In comparison, the Hoosier have managed just 61 total points in those games.
Both teams have some very strong trends ahead of this weekend, with Indiana 4-0 against the spread in their last four as an underdog and a 7-0 ATS mark as a road dog. Wisconsin is 7-3 ATS in the last ten at home and 15-5 ATS coming off a bye. The Over is a popular bet with 67% of the public on that side, and the Over has hit in seven of the last nine Indiana games on the road with the same 7-2 mark in Big Ten play. The Over is 7-1 when Wisconsin is the favorite and 7-2 in the last nine UW games overall. Indiana is 13-3 against the spread in their previous sixteen overall, and the public likes that trend to continue with 64% of bets coming in on the Hoosiers at +14.
Next Man Up
2020 has provided many opportunities for bench players to step up, and junior QB Jack Tuttle will pilot the Hoosiers now that Penix is out. Tuttle was highly recruited out of high school, and Wisconsin was among those that offered, so the Badger coaching staff is somewhat familiar with Tuttle despite his relative lack of playing time. He completed all five of his attempts last week against Maryland, but Indiana stuck mostly to the ground and racked up 48 rushing attempts. Tuttle doesn’t bring the running threat that Penix did, but he does have quality weapons on the outside, with Ty Fryfogle (33-652-7) and Whop Philyor (32-367-2) perhaps the best 1-2 receiving punch in the Big Ten. Stevie Scott leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns and may be inline to take some more wildcat snaps as he did last week. Indiana will be running against a Wisconsin defense that is allowing just 67 rush yards per game, so Tuttle will have to be a factor at some point. Indiana is one of the better team defenses in the land, with twelve different defenders notching at least one sack so far. Eight players have at least one interception, and the team has sixteen total, the most in the NCAA. The Hoosiers are allowing 21.7 points per game and are the 22nd best third-down defense.
Back at Home
Wisconsin won its home opener six weeks ago but will play just its second home game of the season as CoVid has canceled multiple games. After a disappointing and mistake-filled match against Northwestern, Wisconsin should look to get back to basics with the run game. Freshman Jalen Berger has emerged over the last two games and now leads the team with 180 yards and has averaged six yards per carry as the lead back. Nakia Watson has 153 yards and two scores, with Garrett Groshek second on the team in receptions to fill the 3rd down back role. That trio is still finding its way, but Wisconsin enters the week 20th in rushing at 219 yards per game. Graham Mertz looked good through two weeks but made some freshman mistakes against Northwestern and was picked off three times. He is still completing 65% of his passes with eight touchdowns thrown, but the Badgers are probably better off with him attempting fewer passes overall against an aggressive Hoosier secondary. Jake Ferguson (18-181-4) leads the team in catches, yards, and touchdowns, and Kendric Pryor is on track to return after missing the Northwestern game. Chimere Dike has just four receptions but has proven a big-play guy with 20.3 yards per catch. Danny Davis is at 26 yards per reception but remains questionable with an undisclosed injury. The Wisconsin defense is the nation’s best in terms of total yards allowed and ranks 3rd in giving up 11.7 points per game. They are top-5 in third-down stops and QB rating allowed but have not produced the big play consistently with a pedestrian five sacks to this point.
Take Indiana and the Points
The Hoosiers are rolling, and while the loss of Penix will be a big deal for them, I think there is enough playmaking to get some points on the board against Wisconsin’s defense. The Badgers will be without CB Rachad Wildgoose after he opted out of the remaining games and declared for the NFL Draft. That gives Tuttle and those talented receivers one less quality defender to worry about. I think Paul Chryst will reign his young QB in after a tough outing, and a conservative Wisconsin offense may struggle to run away and cover this large spread. Wisconsin has handled Indiana in the past, but this is a different Hoosiers team, most notably on defense, and I have this game as close through the first half at least. I think Wisconsin will ultimately win behind a decent running effort and some play-action success like they saw against Illinois but a 27-20 final is good for an Indiana cover.
Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Indiana Hoosiers plus the points! Bet the game live at a sportsbook that has the BEST live betting platform on the planet, offers a 50% real cash bonus up to $250 FREE, has been online for almost 20 years and offers FAST hassle-free payouts! —> Bovada Sportsbook!
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