It’s a crossover battle between foes in the Big Ten Conference who came into the season with high expectations clashing in Happy Valley. The Wisconsin Badgers are on the road as they make the trip to face the #14 Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon. Wisconsin picked up a 31-17 win over Rutgers at home last Saturday to get back in the win column. Penn State was obliterated 42-7 on the road by #5 Michigan last Saturday as they continue to struggle. The all-time series between the teams is tied at nine wins apiece: Penn State took a 38-31 win in the last meeting, which came in the Big Ten Championship on December 3, 2016 from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Wisconsin Badgers Look to Earn Back to Back Wins
Wisconsin had dropped two of three but managed to get back in the win column as they defeated Rutgers. The Badgers are tied for second in the Big Ten West with Purdue as both teams are 4-2, one game behind Northwestern. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, they lost 31-17 to the Wildcats a couple weeks ago. The Badgers held a 10-0 lead at the half and extended the lead to 17-0 before Rutgers got on the board. Wisconsin outgained Rutgers 473-333, picked up 26 first downs while allowing 13 and controlled the clock by a 31:51 to 28:09 margin. The Badgers did commit two turnovers while not forcing a takeaway. Wisconsin is 2-7 ATS this season while the over is 5-4 in those contests.
Got it done together
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) November 3, 2018
The Badgers are 111th in the nation in passing offense with 174.2 yards per game and 4th in rushing with 273 yards a night. Wisconsin is 51st in the FBS in scoring offense with 31 points a game. The Badgers rely on their defense: they allow 20.9 points a game, which is 25th in the FBS. Alex Hornibrook is 100 of 172 for 1,343 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Jack Coan is 25 of 38 passing for 222 yards with two touchdown passes while Danny Vanden Boom completed his lone pass for a three-yard touchdown. Jonathan Taylor leads the Badgers on the ground with 208 carries for 1,363 yards and 11 scores. Taiwan Deal (65 carries, 438 yards, five TD) and Garrett Groshek (45 carries, 302 yards) are there to spell Taylor if he needs a breather. In the passing game, A.J. Taylor is tied for second the team with 24 receptions for 406 yards and three touchdowns. Jake Ferguson (team-high 25 grabs, 361 yards, three TD), Danny Davis III (24 catches, 265 yards, two TD), Groshek (17 catches, 142 yards, TD) and Kendric Pryor (16 receptions, 197 yards, two TD) are solid secondary targets. Rafael Gaglianone has converted all 36 extra points and seven of 10 field goals with a long of 42 yards.
Penn State Nittany Lions Trying to Regroup
Penn State has lost three of their last five games as they were throttled by a surging Michigan team that has won eight in a row. The Nittany Lions dropped to 6-3 on the season overall and stand 3-3 in the Big Ten East Division. Penn State was down 7-0 after one, 14-0 at the half and 28-0 after three quarters: they didn’t get on the board until just 1:59 remained in the contest. The Nittany Lions were outgained 403-186, lost the first down battle 20-11 and were dominated 37:56 to 22:04 in time of possession. Penn State committed three turnovers while not recording a takeaway: they allowed a pick six in the contest. The Nittany Lions are 5-4 ATS while the over is 7-2 this season.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) November 1, 2018
The Nittany Lions enter this game 81st in the FBS in passing offense with 221.3 yards per contest and 34th in rushing as they average 207.8 yards per game. Penn State is 23rd in the nation in scoring offense as they put up 37.2 points per game and stand 50th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 24.4 points per contest. Trace McSorley is 127 of 244 passing for 1,711 yards with 12 touchdowns against five interceptions while rushing for 611 yards plus nine scores. Sean Clifford is five of five for 195 yards plus two scores while Tommy Stevens completed six of nine passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and one interception while adding 58 yards plus two scores on the ground. Miles Sanders leads the team with 143 carries for 848 yards and eight touchdowns while Ricky Slade (26 carries, 155 yards, four scores) is the second back in the system. Juwan Johnson is second on the team with 21 catches for 293 yards and a score while KJ Hamler (team-high 29 grabs, team-high 518 yards, five touchdowns), Sanders (16 catches, 121 yards) and Pat Freiermuth (16 receptions, 222 yards, four TD) are the only other players with more than 12 receptions so far for Penn State. Jake Pinegar has hit 42 of 43 extra points but is just nine of 13 on field goals with a long of 49 this season.
- Nittany Lions are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in November
- Nittany Lions are 2-13-2 ATS in their last 17 games following a straight up loss
- Nittany Lions are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game
- Badgers are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games in November
- Badgers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Badgers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams have struggled recently and have to try and get back on track before the regular season winds down if they want to improve their bowl positioning. The Nittany Lions have dropped three of five while Wisconsin had dropped two of three before getting back in the win column last week. Penn State is at home and they’re the healthier team but we’ve seen the last three games in this series be decided by one score. Given that, you have to back Wisconsin in this one given Penn State’s recent issues. Take the points and the Badgers on the road.
Prediction: Wisconsin Badgers +8
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have been involved in higher scoring affairs in recent years. Wisconsin has an extremely dangerous ground game with Taylor, Deal and Groshek giving them a three-headed monster. The Badgers have been missing Hornibrook in the last couple games as he deals with a concussion. If he can’t go here, it would be Coan under center again more than likely. No matter who starts, leaning on the ground game is likely the M.O. for Wisconsin. Penn State has to find a way to regroup after being demolished by Michigan. Which team gets off the mat in this one and picks up the win?
The over is 9-2 in the Badgers’ last 11 games following an ATS loss, 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record and 7-3 in their last 10 on the road. Penn State has seen the over go 5-0 in their last 5 games following an ATS loss, 6-1 in their last 7 games following a straight up loss of more than 20 points and 11-2 in their last 13 games in November. The teams have gone over the total in each of the last five meetings: look for this one to end up over the total as well.
Prediction: Over 53.5