Oregon State Beavers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Point Spread – Pick ATS

Oregon State Beavers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS), 12:00 p.m. EST, Week 2 NCAA Football, Saturday, September 10, 2011, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis., TV: ESPN
by Badger, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: OSU +21.5/Wis -21.5
Over/Under Total: 56.5

After an embarrassing and demoralizing upset loss to Football Championship Series foe Sacramento State in overtime last weekend, 29-28, the Oregon State Beavers will have a long way to regroup in a short period of time, as the Beavers travel to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison to play the 8th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers Saturday on ESPN.

The opener against Sacramento State was supposed to be an easy test for the young Beavers, but instead it turned into a frustrating nightmare for head coach Mike Riley in so many ways the senior QB Ryan Katz stunk, the offensive line gave up multiple sacks, two turnovers, the defensive secondary was passed on at will by an FCS-school QB (sorry, Jeff Fleming, Im just saying) so many ways its hard to expect them provide much resistance to the top-10 Badgers on the road this week after that display.

Wisky is at the other end of the spectrum right now, coming off of an inspiring and impressive showing in front of a national audience in their, 51-17, season-opening win over UNLV last Thursday. Transfer quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 62 yards and another TD for the Badgers in his first game at Camp Randall in the victory, giving the Bucky faithful a lot of potential to dream about this season.

The early point spread out of Las Vegas opened with Wisconsin as 18-point favorite and almost immediately a stampede of public money pounded the Badgers up to where the number is now sitting at minus -21.5 or even minus -22 at some of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web.

The over/under total has yet to be released as of press time.

With all of the offense on the field, Id be surprised if the total is under 60 when it finally opens, since both teams combined for nearly a 1,000 yards of total offense last week in their openers (Oregon St. 496 yards; Wisc. 499 yards).

Wisconsins offense scored on every one of its first half possessions en route to a 37-3 halftime lead last week versus UNLV, and at 6.3 yards per attempt the Badgers two-headed monster at running back in James White (64 yards, TD) and Montee Ball (63 yards, 3 TD) only saw limited action in the blowout. The offensive line looks solid, the receivers caught the ball, albeit they were wide open on all that play-action, and Wilson quarterbacked the team like hes been in the program for years and not just the few months since his minor league season ended. There was a lot to like.

For the Beavs, the offense finally started to look like a typical Beavers offense as soon as Sean Mannion took over for Katz at quarterback in the second half. They also decided to start getting back to basics at it worked, as 191 yards of running back (and true freshman) Malcolm Agnews 223 yards rushing came after halftime. Mannion led them on a 70-yard yard in the final two minutes of the game and had the game all but won, but freshman kicker Trevor Romaine doinked the game-winning field goal off the right upright from 27-yards as the clock expired.

While Riley has yet to commit to Mannion as his starter at QB for this week against the Badgers, I think he would face a mutiny from his team and their fans if Mannion doesnt get the nod.

Plus, there will be plenty of familiarity within both offenses since Riley and Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst have a long history of coaching with each other. Chryst was Rileys coordinator in Oregon State and moved with him to the San Diego Chargers and back to Corvallis, so all told Riley and Chryst have been on staff together for nine years and should know plenty about what the other one is thinking as far as play calling.

Both offenses will have some game film to dissect too, because both Wisconsin and Oregon State showed some major weaknesses on defenses.

For Wisconsin it was that they allowed nearly 300 yards to UNLV (292), and especially the 3.8 yards per carry on the ground, although the Rebels did come out running some unbalanced pistol formations they had never shown before prior to this year.

Considering that Agnew is a stud freshman and is way better than anyone the Rebels had, add the fact the Beavers averaged 6.2 yards per carry versus Sacramento State, and together it does look like the Beavers might be able to run the ball on the Badgers, at least on paper.

But Oregon State will be forced to defend the pass better than they did last week. The Beavers secondary was gouged for 296 yards passing, plus they had three pass interference penalties and a fourth one negated because the Hornets scored the overtime-tying touchdown on the play despite the interference.

This will be just the second meeting all time between these two schools, with Wisconsin winning the first one back in 1961 at Camp Randall Stadium by a slim, 23-20 score.

Oregon State does have a few betting trends that bettors should be aware of in this game. Not only are the Beavers a good road team (13-3 ATS in last 16 roadies), but theyre also good as a huge road dog (4-1 ATS as road underdog of 10.5-points or greater) and underdogs in general (19-7 ATS).

Plus, even though the Badgers are a stellar 21-2 in game before October 1st under head coach Bret Bielema, the Badgers dont cover the number that well going just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games.

The over also has some strong trends, including a 4-0 mark in the Beavers last four non-conference games and an 8-2-1 record in the Badgers last 11 games, including a 5-0 record in their last five games at Camp Randall Stadium as a favorite.

Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the Badgers will handle the Beavers, however, the curent line at time of print is 21 which is 3 scores and a tad too much to lay. Take the Oregon State Beavers to cover the big betting line.

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