Penn State is 7-0 against the spread over its last seven games; Wisconsin is 7-1-1 ATS its last nine times out. So it’s a meeting between two of the best bets in college football this season when the Badgers battle the Nittany Lions in an unlikely Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday night on neutral turf at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Point spread: The Badgers opened as one-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 30.6-28.8 Nittany Lions (College football picks on every game)
Why the Wisconsin Badgers can cover the spread
Wisconsin owns a six-game winning streak after rallying to beat Minnesota last week 31-17. The Badgers trailed the Gophers 17-7 at the half, then won the second half 24-0, garnering a fortunate push against the spread as 14-point favorites.
Following a slow start, Wisconsin ended up outgaining Minnesota 362-286 and outrushing the Gophers 210-128. So that’s seven games in a row the Badgers have outgained and outrushed their opponents. Meanwhile, that nasty Wisconsin defense held UM to a three-of-14 performance on third downs and picked off Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner four times.
With Nebraska’s loss to Iowa last Friday, the Badgers clinched their fourth berth in six Big Ten championship games.
Why the Penn State Nittany Lions can cover the spread
Penn State owns an eight-game winning streak, consisting of seven covers and a push, after beating Michigan State last week 45-12, clinching the Big Ten East title and its first-ever appearance in the conference championship game. The Lions spotted the Spartans the first six points of the game and trailed 12-10 at the half, then won the second half 35-0, pulling away for an easy cover as 11-point favorites.
On the day, Penn State outgained Michigan State 463-343, as quarterback Trace McSorley hit on 17 of 23 throws for 376 yards and four touchdowns, each of at least 34 yards. McSorley now owns a 16-2 touchdowns-interceptions ratio during the Lions’ winning streak.
Penn State is also averaging a healthy 46 points per game over its last five games.
As the spread on this game indicates, these two teams are evenly matched. However, Wisconsin owns edges in the running games and on defense, and Penn State’s leading rusher, Saquon Barkley, is hampered by a sore foot. And while UW quarterback Alex Hornibrook is iffy with a head injury, replacement Bart Houston has already played a part in several victories this season. The smart money here at online betting sites backs the Badgers.
Wisconsin is 1-4 SU and ATS in its last five games against Penn State.
The total has gone over in Wisconsin’s last four games against Penn State.
Penn State is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games.
All college football lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the Odds Shark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.