The top game in the Big 10 this Saturday (3:30pm ET) game for week 13 of the 2011 college football season features two Conference title contenders with the 20th ranked Penn St. Nittany Lions (9-2) traveling to Madison, WI to take on the 15th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (9-2). Penn St. won a hard-fought game at Ohio St. last week as a 6.5 point underdog by a score of 20-14. Wisconsin has won three straight games, including a 28-17 win over a reeling Illinois team, failing to cover the 14.5 point line. Penn St. is 3-7-1 ATs this season, while Wisconsin is 6-4-1 ATS in 2011.
The Nittany Lions are clearly a team dominated by defense, as they have been traditionally. This has been even more necessary this season as the Penn St. offense ranks a dismal 107th in scoring with 20.9 points per game and 89th in total offense with 354.9 yards per contest. Quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Robert Bolden have not exactly kept defensive coordinators in the Big 10 awake at night with 185.9 YPG through the air (94th in the nation). The Nittany Lion defense has been outstanding, ranking in the top 10 in: points allowed with 13 per game (3rd), total defense with 287.4 YPG allowed (8th) and passing defense with 160 YPG allowed (6th). Wisconsin has been exceptionally strong on both sides of the ball, ranking 5th in scoring offense with 44.8 PPG and 12th in total offense with 479.5 YPG. The Badgers’ defense ranks 8th nationally with 15.9 PPG allowed and 6th in total yards allowed with 282.3 per game.
Penn St. vs. Wisconsin Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Penn St. Nittany Lions +14.5
@Wisconsin Badgers -14.5
Over 49 (-110)
Under 49 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.com
Penn St. vs. Wisconsin Pick:
Penn St. is 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games overall and 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record. Wisconsin is 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a home favorite, but 104 ATS in their last 5 Big 10 games. The under is 7-0-1 in Penn State’s last 8 games against a team with a winning record and 9-1-1 in the Nittany Lions’ last 11 games overall. The over is 24-9-1 in the Badgers’ last 34 Big 10 games and 6-2 in their last 8 games overall. The favorite is 6-0 ATS in the teams’ last 6 head-to-head meetings, and the home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. The under is 4-1 in their last 5 meetings. The two teams last met in 2008 when Penn St. rolled to a 48-7 dismantling of the Badgers in Madison.
With two outstanding defenses on display this Saturday afternoon and wintry weather starting to hit the Madison area, this could be the type of knock-down, drag-it-out slugfest that the Big 10 is known for. Penn St. in particular seems to only play that type of game lately. The Nittany Lions will have no choice but to play another of those games here as Wisconsin has a multitude of weapons on offense with QB Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball the main cogs, and Penn St. does not have the firepower on offense to keep op in a shootout.