By Charles Jay
The Western Michigan Broncos finished their season a perfect 13-0, and even though they did not get to the college football playoff, they have made it into the New Year’s Six bowl games, which is a real step forward for the program. On Monday, they will compete in the Cotton Bowl against a Big Ten powerhouse, the Wisconsin Badgers, in a game that will begin at 1 PM ET on ESPN. The site is AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and as BetAnySports customers are watching it, they can place wagers in real time through the miracle of Live Betting Ultra.
Western Michigan (13-0, 9-4 ATS) was the Mid-American Conference champion behind coach P.J. Fleck. They have one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country in Zach Terrell, who completed 71% of his passes with an insane ratio of 32 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He ranks fourth in the nation quarterback rating this season. And he has one of the best receivers in the country at his disposal in Corey Davis, who caught 91 passes for four 1432 yards and 18 touchdowns. There is a balanced running attack as well, as the top two tailbacks combined for 2165 yards.
Wisconsin (10-3 straight-up, 9-4 against the football pointspread) is a team that relies on power, but that’s not a surprise. Coach Paul Chryst, a former quarterback at the school, stresses fundamentals, and this team, although not an offensive juggernaut, does enough to move the chains behind a generally potent rushing game. Corey Clement, who has a talent level comparable to some of the great Wisconsin backs to come before him, including Melvin Gordon, averaged 123 yards over his last eight games, and scored 14 touchdowns. He’s had a career of injuries, but he was, well, almost healthy this season.
In the Cotton Bowl betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Wisconsin is the solid favorite:
Wisconsin Badgers -9
Western Michigan Broncos +9
Over 52 points -110
Under 52 points -110
Passing is not a strength for the Wisconsin team. They will go with redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook in this one as the starter. He completed 58% of his passes with eight touchdowns. They have the luxury of being able to go to a senior as the “relief pitcher,” as Bart Houston was 66% passer with only three interceptions in 129 attempts. Wisconsin’s offensive line, spearheaded by left tackle Ryan Ramczyk, an All-American, gave up only 22 sacks.
Wisconsin certainly did not embarrass itself in its two regular-season losses, out gaining Ohio State before losing in overtime, and losing just 14-7 to Michigan despite having only 159 yards of offense. They would like to replay the Big Ten championship game, in which they lost the 14-point lead to Penn State. But overall they were seventh in total defense, and second in rushing defense, allowing only 3.2 yards per carry. The secondary allowed just 52% completions, so clearly Terrell is going to be challenged.
One of the keys here, as BetAnySports patrons may be aware, is that Wisconsin rarely beats itself. They had the ninth best turnover margin in the country, committed the second fewest penalties, and do a good job of possessing the football, taking their time while rolling up 35 minutes and 20 seconds average time. Western Michigan has some nice fundamental statistics as well; in fact, they have the second best turnover margin in the country (+19), were second best in the nation in converting on third down (54.2%) and they allowed only 14 quarterback sacks.
The difference here may be that Western Michigan had a hard time defending the run this season, allowing 4.7 yards per carry. And remember, this was against inferior competition. And they don’t do a great job of getting pressure on the passer, with only five sacks over the last six games. One of the things you have to do to pull off an upset is keep the other team’s offense honest. Although, as mentioned, Wisconsin is not hyper-productive offensively, they will have a size edge along the interior line, so Western Michigan will have to do something to overcome that.
BetAnySports customers are all set for the rest of the bowl games, as they can get reduced juice, giving them better odds, as well as Live Betting Ultra, which makes them or participant almost all the way to the end…… There are many ways to deposit, including your Visa card, person-to-person transfers and the virtual currency of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system!