No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers (6-2)(4-4ATS) v. Indiana Hoosiers (4-5)(5-3ATS) Saturday, Nov. 7, 12pm ET, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Big Ten Network
By Evergreen of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wisconsin -11/Indiana +11
Over/Under Total: 54.5
The Wisconsin Badgers travel to Bloomington this weekend to take on the Indiana Hoosiers in a match between two teams headed in opposite directions. The Badgers are looking to finish the year strong and make a case to play on New Years Day while Indiana has made a habit of not finishing games and are now on bowl berth life support. The game kicks at 12pm ET and can be seen regionally on The Big Ten Network.
Wisconsin sits as 11 point favorites with most online bookies and are commonly found at -450 on the moneyline with Indiana around +350. The over/under for the game is 54.5 which may sound a little high until you factor in Wisconsins 45 point per game average in the last four against the Hoosiers. The over is 7-1 in the last eight games between the schools.
Wisconsin took the 2008 edition of this series by a 55-20 score and has won four in a row dating back to 2005. The road team has a 5-2 against the spread mark in the last seven meetings.
The Badgers are fresh off a 37-0 home victory against Purdue, getting back to their roots as a run-heavy team with 266 rushing yards on the afternoon. The win comes broke a two game losing streak and landed Wisconsin at 21 to 24 in the various polls. At 3-2 in the conference, the Badgers are likely out of the Big Ten championship picture, but runner-up spot is still possible if they run the table. Wisconsin is 4-0 against the spread this year against sub-.500 teams, but hasnt played well as the heavy favorite with just a 1-8 ATS mark in the last nine where they are favored by 10 or more.
The Hoosiers come in losers in five of the last six, including games against Iowa and Northwestern in which Indiana held two score leads in the second half. Indiana has bested only last place Illinois in conference and sit just ahead of the Illini at 1-4, tied for ninth. The Hoosiers havent picked themselves up off the mat this year, going 1-4 against the spread after losing a game the week prior.
The Wisconsin offense have been very balanced this year, averaging 198 yards per game through the air and 194 more on the ground. The rushing attack is ranked 22nd in the nation and the Badgers average nearly 30 points per game. Everyone is getting into the act in carrying the ball as well as three wide receivers have at least four carries a piece. The Badger D has been better than advertised all year and now have some very nice yards allowed ranks, including a 21st best in total yards allowed at 302 per game. UW is the best in the Big Ten in stopping the run at 107 yards per contest and allows 21.8 points per game.
Scott Tolzien plays a smart brand of football as QB of the Badgers and they win when he takes care of the ball. On the year, Tolzien has hit on 62% of his passes for 1,523 with 9 touchdowns against 8 interception, most of which came in the two losses. John Clay is a load at 246 pounds and leads the team with 839 rushing yards and 10 scores. Nick Toon has established himself as the most consistent receiver, leading the group with 32 grabs while the TE combination of Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks is often too much for opposing linebackers to shut down.
Indiana is pretty pedestrian on offense, averaging just 354 total yards per contest, but does throw the ball with success to the tune of 232 yards on average. The run game adds another 122 yards with the Hoosiers averaging 23.7 points per game. The IU defense is prone to getting torched through the air, giving up 255 yards to opposing quarterbacks and allowing 28.2 points per game. Wisconsin may not air it out come Saturday, but the Badger run game is likely the best the Hoosiers have seen to date.
Ben Chappell calls the signals for Indiana and while he has had a nice year in throwing for 2,054 yards, he has been picked 10 times along with his 10 scores. Darius Willis totes the rock and his 4.7 yard average deserves some more attempts per game, but the Hoosiers have often had to throw to early and often this year. Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher have 111 catches and nearly 1,300 yards between them as the 63 and 65 receivers are a nightmare for most DBs to cover.
Wisconsin reports OL Travis Fredrick, OL Bill Nagy and RB Zach Brown as questionable for Saturday. If Brown is unable to play, freshman Montee Ball will back up John Clay.
Indiana reports RB Zach Davis Walker, K Nick Ford, S Jerimy Finch, OL Alex Perry, DE Fred Jones, DE Darious Johnson, CB Chris Adkins and WR Aaron Burks as questionable for Saturday.
Evergreens Pick: I dont think the Badgers will notch another blowout win this week, but they seem to have Indianas number regardless of where the game is played. Look for a pretty comfortable win for the Badgers with a late Hoosier score making it 33-20.