The second week of the 2012 college football season features an intriguing BIG 10/PAC 12 match up with the 12th ranked and defending conference champion Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) of the Big 10 travelling to Corvallis, OR to take on the Oregon State Beavers in their season opener this Saturday (4:00pm ET) afternoon. The Badgers struggled to defeat Northern Iowa at home last week in a 26-21 win, when they were favored by 32.5 points going into the game.
The Badgers will showcase a highly regarded transfer at the quarterback position for the second season in a row as Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien replaces Russell Wilson under center. O’Brien looked decent in his debut last week, throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns against Northern Iowa. Stud running back Montee Ball (1,923 rushing yards and 39 combined TDs in 2011) returns for the Badgers, and he had a sub-par game last week averaging only 3.8 yards per carry. The weak spot for the Badgers on defense appears to be their secondary, which allowed big plays late last week to make the game much closer than it should have been.
Oregon State returns sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion this season after a debut season in which he threw for 3,332 yards with 16 TDs and 18 INTs. DT Castro Masaniai and MLB Feti Unga will be key players on defense as the Beavers attempt to slow down a Wisconsin running game that thrives behind a massive offensive line and the dynamic Ball. OSU will need Masaniai to penetrate the middle of the Badger line, and Unga will need to shadow Ball all game long for OSU to have a chance in this game.
Wisconsin vs. Oregon State Spread and Betting Odds:
Wisconsin Badgers -7
@ Oregon State Beavers +7
Over 49.5 (-110)
Under 49.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv <- $250 Free Bet
Wisconsin vs. Oregon State Pick:
Wisconsin is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games. Oregon State is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games and 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The under is 502 in Wisconsin’s last 7 non-conference games, while the over is 13-5 in their last 18 road games and 37-18-1 in their last 56 games overall. The over is 5-1 in the Beavers’ last 6 non-conference games and 5-2 in their last 7 games on field turf. The Badgers won last season’s meeting in Madison by a score of 35-0, to cover a 20 point line.
Both teams have something to prove in this game, the Badgers want to prove that last week was a fluke and that they can win big on the road against a quality opponent; Oregon State is playing its first game of the season and would love to upset a top-25 team and prove they will be a force to be reckoned with in the PAC-12. Oregon State was overmatched physically in last season’s meeting, but they did have some success through the air as Mannion threw for 244 yards with no picks as a freshman in a tough road game. The Badgers do not have the same talent they did last season, and Oregon State should feature a pass-heavy game plan at home against the more physical Badgers. Look for Ball to have a much better game against a relatively soft PAC-12 defense, and for O’Brien to throw more than he did last week in a game that should be much more fast-paced. These two teams have both been terrible ATS in recent play, so taking either one is too risky here. Look for a much more competitive, high-scoring game than their last meeting with both teams throwing the ball. Take the over in this one.
PICK = Over 49.5