By Charles Jay
There will be some sort of reward for the winner of Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game between the Wisconsin Badgers and Penn State Nittany Lions, but it won’t likely be a berth in the four-team playoff that will determine the national champion. That may be upsetting for followers of these programs, but it is the reality. This game will take place at 8 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and BetAnySports customers will be able to place wagers on the contest while it is in progress, using the superior software provided through Live Betting Ultra.
Both of these teams have 10-2 records, and both performed better than expected against the pointspread. Penn State was 8-3-1 ATS, while Wisconsin was 9-3 against the number. Wisconsin began its season strong, beating LSU in the opener and starting Les Miles on his way out the door, and the only losses they suffered were to Michigan (14-7) and Ohio State (30-23). And here is where it gets interesting – Wisconsin is sixth in the Playoff Rankings, with Penn State seventh – and both Ohio State (2nd) and Michigan (5th) are ranked ahead of them, despite neither one of them being part of the conference title game. So does Michigan, which failed to win the division and has two losses, elevate into the top four if, say, Clemson loses the ACC title game? There will be a lot of angry people if that happens.
In the college football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Badgers are favored:
Wisconsin Badgers -3 (-115)
Penn State Nittany Lions +3 (-105)
Over 46.5 points -110
Under 46.5 points -110
With Wisconsin, there have been quarterback questions. The starter, Alex Hornibrook, suffered a head injury against Minnesota and his status has been in doubt. He is not necessarily a productive passer (just 58% with an 8-7 ratio of TD’s to interceptions) but he’s poised for a freshman, and he has been sharing the position a lot lately with Bart Houston, who has averaged almost a yard and a half more per attempt. The general perception is that Houston might be the better passer, and in the last three games he has led the Badgers on 17 drives, ten of which resulted in touchdowns. Some Wisconsin fans have more faith in him.
BetAnySports patrons realize that either way, the Badgers will have to get a lot of production from Corey Clement, who has had an injury-plagued career in Madison and has run for 1140 yards this season. He comes into this game on a streak of four straight 100-yard efforts, and earlier against Ohio State, he had 164 yards.
Speaking of running backs, Penn State’s star at that position, Saquon Barkley, is going to play, in all likelihood, despite a foot injury he suffered last week against Michigan State. Barkley has recently been named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year. Penn State is a hot squad, having won eight consecutive games and covering seven straight. One of those games was a 24-21 win over Ohio State, which is how they had the tie-breaker advantage over the Buckeyes in the East division. The Nittany Lions are 20th in the nation in total defense, while Wisconsin is third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 13.7 points a game.
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