Big Ten Championship Game Pick: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin
NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Wisconsin -9.5
Wisconsin fans are probably still having nightmares about the Hail Mary pass that Keith Nichol caught with no time on the clock to beat the Badgers 37-31 in October. The Badgers will get their chance at revenge this weekend in the first Big Ten Conference Championship Game. The winner of this one will be going to the Rose Bowl. It’s all on the line this Saturday night in Indianapolis.
Michigan State has proven that last year was no fluke. Mark Dantonio’s team is definitely for real. Jerrell Worthy is the anchor of a terrific defense that has helped this team go 10-2 straight-up and 8-4 ATS this season. The Spartans defense is only allowing 15.4 points per game this year. Isaiah Lewis leads the team with four interceptions. There really isn’t any part of this defense that can be pointed to as a weakness. The impressive balance on defense has helped Michigan State immensely this year.
Kirk Cousins is a senior quarterback for Michigan State, and he is having his best year in his final season with the team. Cousins has cut down on his interceptions (just six this year), and he has thrown for 2,700 yards and 21 touchdowns. The rushing offense hasn’t been as good as last season, but that has been because the offensive line has been dinged up. Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker form a solid tailback tandem for this team. Michigan State scored at least 31 points in each of their last four contests.
Wisconsin’s offense has been a well-oiled machine all year long. Russell Wilson has given the team an added threat with his arm and his scrambling ability at the quarterback spot. Wilson has thrown 28 touchdowns against only three interceptions this year. He has a stellar completion percentage of 73%. Even though the Badgers are capable of airing it out, their bread and butter is still the power running game. Montee Ball averages 6.5 yards per carry, and he has piled up the touchdowns in a big way this year. Ball has 29 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns. The Badgers average 45 points per contest this season.
The Badgers defense entered the season with plenty of question marks, but they have been great this year. The secondary is tremendous talented, and they don’t let anything behind them. The front line has continued to pressure the quarterback well. Occasionally, the team has been hurt by an opponent who can run the ball effectively. Wisconsin is giving up just 15.2 points per game.
Wisconsin will be ready for this game. The Badgers have the much more complete team. I think Wisconsin gets a nice measure of revenge and heads to the Rose Bowl for a second straight year.
Free College Football Pick: Wisconsin -9.5
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