Wisconsin vs. Arizona State Odds & Picks: Las Vegas Bowl Betting Value With Badgers
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Wisconsin vs. Arizona State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Arizona State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Wisconsin Badgers face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday night in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl. Both teams had conference title aspirations entering the season but fell short, and each will look to end its season with its ninth win of the year in Sin City.
Heading into the last week of the regular season, all Wisconsin had to do to reach the Big Ten Championship was beat Minnesota. The Badgers fell, 23-13, as seven-point road favorites, as they played a game for the 10th consecutive week without a bye.
The Sun Devils were the favorites to win the Pac-12 South after upsetting UCLA, 42-23, at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 2. However, two consecutive nightmare halves against Utah and Washington State (in which they were outscored, 56-7) cost them the South.
Which team will be more motivated in Las Vegas after falling short in conference play?
If the Badgers win and cover as six-point favorites, it will be because Braelon Allen has a big game. Wisconsin’s recipe for success this season has been elite defense and a strong rushing offense through Allen while limiting what it puts on quarterback Graham Mertz’s plate.
The Badges have a solid rushing offense led by Allen that ranks 40th in Rush Success Rate, 39th in Line Yards and ninth in rush play explosiveness. Before the last game of the season against Minnesota, Allen had rushed for at least 100 yards in seven straight games.
Allen’s unique combination of size and speed at 6-foot-2 is reminiscent of Derrick Henry. Although he was banged up at the end of the regular season, he should be fully healthy on Thursday.
The Wisconsin defense has been the strength of this team, though, because it has been elite at stopping opponents on early downs and creating Havoc.
The Badgers lead the country in Standard Down Success Rate Allowed and Rushing EPA/Play allowed while ranking second in Passing Success Rate allowed. Wisconsin also ranks third nationally in Havoc Created.
The Sun Devils are dealing with significant opt-outs on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, they will be without do-it-all back Rachaad White, who has opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft. White led the Sun Devils with 182 rush attempts, 1,006 rushing yards (5.5 yards per attempt) and 15 rushing touchdowns. He also finished second on the team with 43 receptions and 456 receiving yards.
Backup running back DeaMonte Trayanum — who finished third behind White and quarterback Jayden Daniels with 78 rush attempts, 402 rushing yards (5.2 yards per carry) and six total touchdowns — has entered the transfer portal.
Receiver Johnny Wilson missed half of the season with a hamstring issue and had begun practicing for the bowl game, but he entered the transfer portal and will not play. Center Dohnovan West (thumb) is also out.
The Arizona State offense led the nation in Line Yards and ranked seventh in Rush Success Rate. It also features a capable back available in Daniyel Ngata, who ran for three touchdowns and 6.4 yards per carry.
However, Ngata, Daniels and the ASU rushing attack will face its stiffest competition of the season in Wisconsin’s defense that ranks first in Line Yards and first in Rush Success Rate Allowed.
It will be a challenge for the Sun Devils to rush the ball consistently up the middle, so Daniels will need to make plays with his arm and improvise with his legs when nothing is there initially.
If Arizona State covers as a six-point underdog, it will need to overcome some significant absences and get a big game from Daniels.
Defensively, the Sun Devils will be without arguably their three best players: linebacker Darien Butler and cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Jack Jones, who have begun preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The losses of Lucas and Jones won’t be too painful against a poor Wisconsin passing attack that ranks 116th in Pass Success Rate and 123rd in passing explosiveness.
However, the Sun Devils will need to step up collectively with Butler out as the quarterback of their defense against Wisconsin’s rushing attack.
Wisconsin vs. Arizona State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Wisconsin and Arizona State match up statistically:
Wisconsin Offense vs. Arizona State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Arizona State Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||45||97|
|Plays per Minute||123||102|
|Rush Rate||64.8% (7)||61.3% (19)|
Wisconsin vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
In a battle between two teams that want to run the ball and play solid defense, I’ll ride with the Badgers and lay the points.
Wisconsin is more disciplined, has the better defense and should be the more motivated team. Paul Chryst is 5-1 in bowl games at Wisconsin, having gotten his team to buy into the style he preaches — unlike the Sun Devils.
ASU ranks 128th in the nation with 82.75 penalty yards per game (on nine penalties per game, which also ranks third-worst in the nation) and will likely give the Badgers a few unwarranted extra chances to convert on offense.
While I like Daniels at quarterback more than Mertz, the Badgers will have much more success on the ground with Allen, and they also have their best playmakers available.
Wisconsin’s defense will force Daniels to beat them through the air on passing downs, but Daniels and the ASU passing game won’t have enough consistency or explosiveness to convert on those key plays to cover.
Take Wisconsin to cover at -6 with value down to -8.
Pick: Wisconsin -6 (Play to -8)
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