When I first looked at that line (Wisconsin + 9) , the “sucker’s bet” flag went up in my head. However, there are limited Big Ten games to handicap and after analyzing the game more closely, I believe Michigan State will cover the 9 points and here is why.
Both teams have great defenses. Michigan State is rated number 2 in the nation in total defense. (186 yds per game). Their defense is very aggressive and that leads to stupid penalties. They cannot afford stupid penalties against Wisconsin.
All year long, Wisconsin has been capitalizing on opposing teams penalties. Wisconsin is a fine tuned offensive machine. They have the top ranked scoring offense in the nation (50 points) per game. They rank 7th in rushing offense (257.5) yards per game and 8th in the nation in total offense (523) yards per game.
This is the first true road test for Wisconsin this year. Five of their wins have been at home, and one at a neutral site (Soldier Field) against Northern Illinois. At that game, the crowd was predominately Wisconsin fans, so they have yet to play before a hostile crowd. That will be a factor.
Michigan State is 4-0 at home. Surprising, I believe one of the main reasons that the line is so high is because of the quarterback play. Wisconsin’s quarterback “ Russell Wilson” is playing heisman style football right now. The transfer from NC State already has 1564 yds thru the air this year.
On the other hand, Kirk Cousins, who was supposed to be a heisman and NFL candidate has struggled. I believe Cousin’s is going to have a good game. He wants this game to be the springboard for him in the second half. Cousin’s has some major motivation for this one and he will have his game face on.
A major factor in this game will be if Ghoulston plays or not. At the time of writing this article, there has been no official decision on Ghoulston’s status this week. I believe it’s 50-50 if he plays or not. Of course it will be a huge lift for State if he escapes suspension for the cheap shot he levied at Michigan last week. Even if he does not play, I believe State’s defense is good enough to keep things close. However, I think that Wisconsin is too good and they should come out on top in a great, hard -hitting game.
Wisconsin is going to pound first, and if that doesn’t work then Russell Wilson will go to work with his arm and his legs. As I predicted last week, Purdue played tough enough to keep things close and cover the 12 points, losing 23-18.
DANNY DEE SAWICKI’S B1G PICK OF THE WEEK: MICHIGAN STATE + 9
LAST WEEK’S PICK: Purdue + 12 (W)
SEASON RECORD: 4-2-1