The 2013 Rose Bowl is a traditional one pitting the Pac-12 Champion vs. the Big Ten Champion, which has not always been the case since the inception of the BCS. Thus, the Stanford Cardinal (11-2) will take on the Wisconsin Badgers (8-5), with the latter saving their best performance of the season for the Big Ten Championship Game where they destroyed Nebraska 70-31. Stanford is favored by -6½ points with the total set at 47.
WISCONSIN – STANFORD ROSE BOWL BETTING LINE:
OPEN: STANFORD -6.5 | CURRENT: STANFORD -6.5 | O/U: 47.5
1. Why Stanford will cover the spread: Stanford will cover this spread if its defense can contain Montee Ball and the rest of the Wisconsin running backs. The Badgers had an obscene 539 rushing yards vs. Nebraska with two 200-yards rushers as freshman Melvin Gordon joined Ball in that department. However, while that running game certainly merits respect, Stanford ranked third in the country in rushing defense allowing only 88.0 yards per game on 2.9 yards per carry, and the Cardinal’s physicality should translate well vs. a Big Ten opponent, unlike the other mostly finesse teams in the Pac-12.
2. Why Wisconsin will cover the spread: Wisconsin will cover the spread if its quarterback can have some early passing success to at least make the Cardinal respect the pass. Now who that quarterback will be depends on the condition of Joel Stave, who has not played since breaking his collarbone in an overtime loss vs. Michigan State on October 27th. If Stave cannot go, then Curt Phillips will start again after throwing just eight passes vs. the Cornhuskers, completing six of them for 71 yards. The Badgers will need to complete some passes early because no matter how great their running game is, Stanford will solve it if Wisconsin runs on practically every down.
3. Total Talk: While we are not calling for a total shootout by any means, this posted total is one of the lower ones this bowl season and we see this game sneaking ‘over’. This may sound crazy after a team rushes for 500 yards in a game, but we actually like Stanford’s chances of keeping the Wisconsin running game in check. After all, the Cardinal already slowed down a team with blazing team speed in Oregon, so why should it not have success against more of a power running game with its physical defense? We look for Stanford to take Wisconsin out of its element at some point and force it to throw, with the end result being the Cardinal generating points with their defense. Now believe it or not, the Wisconsin defense allowed 18 fewer yards per game then Stanford did (321.0-339-0) with the Badgers allowing 3.7 yards per rush and 5.8 yards per pass. However, Stanford faced the sixth toughest schedule in the country according to the Sagarin Ratings while Wisconsin had an SOS ranked 38th, so we think the Cardinal will move the ball well enough.
4. Betting Trends for the game: Stanford is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 non-conference games, and a notable cover this year came in an overtime loss on the road at top ranked Notre Dame. Wisconsin is 0-6 ATS in its last six games after scoring more than 40 points in its previous game.
Stanford 31 – Wisconsin 20
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