Orange Bowl Betting Preview – Wisconsin Badgers at Miami Hurricanes
Well, the Wisconsin Badgers were indeed disappointed that they missed out on an opportunity to go to the four-team college football playoff, but they had their chance and could not win the conference title game. On Saturday night they will take on the Miami Hurricanes in what is a tough assignment, as they are, in effect, the visiting team in the Orange Bowl, kicking off at 8 PM ET at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. If you are a BetAnySports customer, you can take advantage of reduced juice, giving you better value in the football odds, and then after the game kicks off, you can place wagers as the game is in progress through the magic of Live Betting Ultra.
Wisconsin had its 13-game winning streak broken when it lost 27-21 to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. It is said that they have played a relatively soft schedule, and maybe that’s true, but they have nonetheless shown the characteristics of a lot of great recent Wisconsin teams. The Badgers rank first in the nation in total defense and in Passing Efficiency Defense; second in rushing defense, and only two teams in the nation have surrendered fewer points per game than they have (13.2).
Miami had won its first 10 games of the season, bringing them to #2 in the national rankings and squarely in the middle of the playoff picture. This included victories over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, which both came by hefty margins and were back to back on the schedule. But then the roof caved in, as they inexplicably lost to Pittsburgh and then were routed 38-3 by Clemson in the ACC title game.
So Miami comes into this home game with a record of 10-2 straight-up and 5-7 against the points. Wisconsin is 12-1 straight-up and 8-5 ATS.
In the college football odds posted on this Orange Bowl game by the folks at BetAnySports, Miami is actually the home underdog:
Wisconsin Badgers -6.5
Miami Hurricanes +6.5
Over 45 points -110
Under 45 points -110
One of the keys for Miami will be to force turnovers; with their +15 margin, they were second best in the nation. And this has to be a particular concern for Wisconsin, because their quarterback, Alex Hornibrook, has been rather turnover-prone, throwing 15 interceptions on the season. So they are going to have to put him into situations where he can avoid mistakes, and the best way to do that is to establish the ground attack. Jonathan Taylor, a true freshman, has had a sensational season, rushing for 1847 yards, but he is looking to redeem himself for rather poor effort against Ohio State, where he had only 41 yards in 15 carries. It’s been critical for the Badgers to get Taylor going on first down, and that has contributed to their 48.8% success rate in third down situations.
BetAnySports patrons may not know this, but by contrast, Miami has been awful on third-down, and that is not only rather unusual, but bizarre for a team that will be playing in a major bowl game. The Hurricanes have converted only 29.4% of the time, which leaves them 124th out of 129 Division I teams. Their top running back, Mark Walton, suffered a season-ending injury against Florida State, and while Travis Homer has shown flashes, he is also not necessarily someone who could be counted on, as 53 total rushing yards over the last two games would attest.
We are also not overwhelmed by the accuracy rate of Malik Rosier, Miami’s starting quarterback, who has completed only 55% of his throws. Wisconsin’s a defensive front will have to be on the lookout when Rosier takes the ball down and runs with it, however, as he might wind up being Miami’s primary ballcarrier in this game.
It can be argued that Miami defeated the better level of opposition, although that is something of a close call. And speaking of close calls, the Hurricanes have had them, against the likes of Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Florida State, and they are ranked outside the top 40 of the NCAA statistics against both the pass and the run. So if they can’t force a lot of bad decisions out of Hornibrook, or penetrate a typical massive Wisconsin offensive line, they might be in a rough position here. In a small recommendation, we are laying the points.
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