Orange Bowl Prediction: Wisconsin vs. Miami, Fla.

Last Updated: 2017-12-30

orange bowl free pickThe final bowl game Saturday is the Orange Bowl, which has Wisconsin laying 6.5 or 7 to the Miami Hurricanes and the total is 45. The line hit seven earlier, but has dropped down to 6.5 at a slight majority of sportsbooks, with the Badgers -6.5 (-115) or Wisconsin -7 (even) at a few of the places I’ve checked.

The Badgers were a plus 8.8 in offensive points this season, scoring 33.8 against teams who allow an average of 25 points. Wisconsin averages 5.1 yards per rush against teams who allow 4.1 yards per carry and the Badgers like to run the ball twice as much as they throw, averaging 45 rushes and only 22 pass attempts per game. Wisconsin has more rushing yards than passing yards, but are actually a bit effective when they do throw the ball, as they gained 8.4 yards per pass attempt against teams that allowed just 6.6 yards on the season.

On defense, Wisconsin allowed just 3.0 yards per carry to teams who averaged 4.4 and held teams to under 50% pass completions, which was 10 percentage points lower than those teams averaged. The Badgers allowed 1.1 fewer yards per pass attempt than their opponents averaged.

The Hurricanes weren’t quite as good in any category as the Badgers, averaging 4.1 more points than their opposition allowed and allowing 7.1 fewer points than their opponents allowed. The Hurricanes can run the ball decently, averaging 5.0 yards against teams who allowed an average of 4.6 yards per carry, but aren’t a very good passing team, completing fewer than 54% of their passes, although the average defense they faced only allowed 55% completions on the season. How much the Hurricanes’ dismal pass completion percentage has to do with the opposing defense and how much Miami quarterbacks are responsible is a bit of a guessing game.

The Hurricanes were up and down a bit this year, completely taking it to Notre Dame in a 41-8 thumping, but then turning around and getting drilled 38-3 by Clemson a week after falling to Pittsburgh 24-14 in a game they were favored by 12.

The Badgers are getting 56% of the wagers in this one and the line dropped to 6.5 at some of the sportsbooks that are known to cater to sharper players and have higher betting limits. On paper, it looks as though the Badgers won’t have any problems, but the Hurricanes are essentially at home and have great athletes, although not necessarily great football players, but the Badgers rely on winning the physical battles. Going to take a stab on the Hurricanes in this one.

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