No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. No. 24 Michigan State
Spartans (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS), Week 5 NCAA Football, 3:30 p.m. EST,
Saturday, October 2, 2010, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich., TV: ABC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Wis -2/MSU +2
Over/Under Total: 52
Bet the Badgers/Spartans game using your credit card at a an online sportsbook that can and will get it to work for deposits: BetOnline.
The Big Ten Conference season kicks off Saturday in style with a
showcase duel of two Top-25 teams in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing,
when the 11th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers face off against the 24th-
ranked Michigan State Spartans on ABC.
Both teams enter Saturdays game with eerily similar results thus far
Both are 4-0 and are coming off of lopsided victories over
overmatched teams in what turned into controlled scrimmages last
weekend, with the Badgers pounding Austin Peay, 70-3, and the
Spartans drilling Northern Colorado, 45-7.
Both teams are also two weeks removed from a major test that they
nearly failed, with the Badgers slipping past Arizona State, 20-19,
and Michigan States gutsy fake field goal call the only thing that
saved them in an 34-31 victory in overtime at Notre Dame.
Now the preseason is over though and the meat of the Big Ten season
is upon both of them, with a huge test right away on Saturday to see
which team is ready to step to the front of the line of contenders
for the conference title in 2010.
Oddsmakers are predicting a tight game, labeling the visiting Badgers as slight 2.5-point favorites when the betting lines opened up early in the week. The early action at the window has been on the home
underdog Spartans and has caused the point spread to drop at most
sportsbooks, with some of them coming all the way down to Wisconsin by just 1-point, but a majority of them are down to just 2-points or
even 1.5-points in favor of the higher-ranked Badgers.
The over/under total is listed at 52 at the few offshore sportsbooks
that already have a total up on their boards. But most books havent
listed a total yet, so dont be surprised if the number is different
(or off the board) until later in the week.
The similarities these two teams share doesnt stop with the results thus far this season, as both squads feature a solid, veteran quarterback operating a run-orientated offense that tries to control
the game and the clock at the same time.
Wisconsins Scott Tolzien is a little for accurate (76.2 comp %) and
has a better average yards per attempt mark (10.13 ypc) than his
counterpart Kirk Cousins from Michigan State (67 %, 9.48), but
neither is expected to do much but just manage the game and hand the
ball off to a stud running back out of the backfield.
Wisconsins John Clay is the main bruiser for the Badgers (501 yards,
6 TD) who are averaging 257.5 yards per game rushing, while the
Spartans utilize a tag-team approach with Edwin Baker (449 yards, 7.9
ypc, 5 TD) and LeVeon Bell (396, 8.3, 7 TD) to rack up 231.5 yards
per game on the ground.
Saturdays game should turn into a test of wills though as both defenses have been strong against the run up to this point, with
Michigan States stop unit a little better statistically (85.2 ypg
allowed 10th in NCAA) than the Badgers (94.5 ypg 15th) at this
young stage of the season.
If something doesnt give and these teams are forced to win the game
by throwing the football, the Spartans may have an advantage because
of their health.
Two of the Badgers top receivers, Nick Toon and David Gilreath, have been held out of action the past few weeks due to a toe and concussion injuries, respectively. Both players are listed as
questionable for Saturdays game, but if they can get one or both of
them back it will help Tolzien and Badgers take the focus of their
passing game off of tight end Lance Kendricks and free him up over
The Badgers and Spartans have played some great games lately, with the winning margin of victory in last years game in Madison (a 38-30
Badger victory) being twice the margin of the previous two years
combined (a 25-24 Spartan victory at home in 2008; and a 37-34 Badger
win in 07).
The home team has not lost on its home turf since 2002, when the
Badgers won at Spartan Stadium 42-24.
Wisconsin does hold a 6-4 ATS advantage in the series, including two
covers in a row and a 3-1 ATS mark at Spartan Stadium since 2000.
The over wager has been a historically strong bet in the series, with
it cashing in six of the last seven head-to-head games. The only game
not to go over was the last one in Spartan Stadium in 2008, but the
games ending total of 49 missed the closing total of 49.5 by the
hook so it could have gone either way.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: On paper this game looks like its going to be one of
those last team with the ball wins it type of game. The Badgers have
the advantage on offense, but the Spartans are stronger on defense
and are at home, so in a close game Ill lean toward the defense and
homefield advantage. Take the home dog here. Take Michigan State plus
Don’t forget to check out our Week 4 NFL football picks (with analysis!)