No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Oregon State Beavers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, Septermber 8/4pm ET
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wisc. -8/Oregon St. +8
Over/Under Total: 51.5
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Week two of the NCAA Football schedule might not have all of the juice that week one had to offer but there are some good matchups like the one that has Wisconsin traveling to take on Oregon State. Both teams have questions to answer as the Badgers are looking to rebound from a sub-par performance in week one while the Beavers are eager to show what they have after having their opener postponed against Nicholls State. The online betting sites like Wisconsin as an eight point favorite with the over/under total for the game set at 51 and a half. Oregon State is on the moneyline at +250 with UW listed in the -310 to -335 range.
Wisconsin was given all it could handle last week from a Northern Iowa squad that found a way to pass the ball effectively after the half while nearly erasing a 19 point deficit. The Badgers did pull out a 26-21 victory but the secondary issues that plagued their 2011 season seem to have seeped into this year and their chances for winning a third straight Big Ten title likely rest in how the defense can limit big plays. Danny OBrien eased the fears that Russell Wilsons departure would be too much to overcome as the Maryland transfer threw for 219 yards and two scores in his debut. Montee Ball looked a little rusty after missing time in camp while recovering from concussion symptoms following an assault but did manage 120 yards and a score.
The Oregon State players and coaches must be chomping at the bit to hit someone other than themselves but Id bet they would have rather it been against Nicholls State than a potential Rose Bowl participant. A win, or at least a good showing against the Badgers would go a long way in forgetting a nine loss 2011 campaign and the Beavers and Mike Riley are looking to get back to a bowl game for the first time since 2009. Sean Mannion leads the team and is expected to take a step forward in his second year as a starter and the offense as a whole will need to be more consistent if there is any hope of hanging with the elite teams in the Pac-12 conference.
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Even though there is no fresh film on Oregon State from this year, Wisconsin had a good look at them in Madison last year when they earned a 35-0 win. Russell Wilson threw for three scores in his second UW start and Montee Ball rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns but it was the Badger defense that really shined. Wisconsin held OSU to just 284 total yards and less than 25 yards on the ground as the Beavers never found a way to sustain any momentum. Mannion did have some success and threw for 244 yards on the day and found a nice target in Markus Wheaton who grabbed 8 balls for 83 yards. Oregon State will have to find a way to get something going on the ground this weekend but that could be tough as UW defensive line and backers look like they are plenty capable of stuffing the run.
I wonder what this line would have been if Wisconsin would have come out and hung a 45-7 score against UNI. Id venture to guess it would have been more than the 8 that both Vegas and the Offshore books are giving them and I think the Badgers can comfortably cover this spread. There were some very troubling blown coverage assignment for Wisconsin but those oddly came from All Big Ten candidates Chris Borland and Mike Taylor so I dont think those two guys are going to have back to back bad games. The O-line figured some things out and the six new coaches got some real reps to see what may or may not work going forward. I live in Madison and Brett Bielema was very honest with the media this week about what he saw in week one and I would expect a good-ole butt chewing across the board in practice this week. Danny O looked good and it has to stress-out some D-coordinators that Wisconsin was willing to send both James White and Montee Ball into the slot from a dual back look.
Oregon State having the first game postponed is really the story here, I feel. All of the rust, missed assignment and nervousness nearly cost Wisconsin a win last week but they are through that while the Beavers get to handle it for the first time. State would have had to play an almost perfect game in order to win under any circumstances and it is very hard to play perfect in week one, unless you are Alabama, apparently. I expect a motivated Badger defense and a very motivated Montee Ball to arrive in Corvallis and while the offense as a whole might take a step back without Wilson and Nick Toon, it remains very balanced. OBrien hit eight different receivers last week, including both running backs, so Oregon States defense will still be the unit needing the most production to pull an upset. I see a run-heavy approach with Wisconsin looking to get Ball on track early so the game should be close into the second half but the road-grader O-line wears out the Oregon State defense in the later going. The Beaver run game struggles and while Mannion does some good things again against a suspect secondary, the home fans go away disappointed after a 30-14 loss. Thats also a vote for the under as I do not expect to see Wisconsin and new OC Matt Canada show too many new things before the Big Ten schedule begins.
Evergreens Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Wisconsin Badgers minus the points.
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