Wisconsin Small Favorite vs. Oregon on Rose Bowl Odds
Like many schools across the country, the Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks both kicked off this season with dreams of winning a national championship due to several returning NFL-caliber players on their respective rosters. Instead, the consolation prize will be a Rose Bowl matchup between a pair of Top 10 teams in the sixth-ranked Ducks (11-2) and eighth-ranked Badgers (10-3), who are listed as 3-point betting favorites on the college football odds.
Two of Wisconsin’s three losses came against the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, with each game very competitive for two quarters before the Big Ten champions ran away with both following halftime. The third loss was actually their first and came right before the first Ohio State meeting after an impressive 6-0 start (5-1 against the spread) on October 19, when the Illinois Fighting Illini stunned the Badgers 24-23 as massive 29.5-point home underdogs on the college football lines in a possible lookahead spot for them.
Wisconsin did manage to cover the spread in the second meeting with the Buckeyes for the Big Ten championship despite losing 34-21 as 16.5-point dogs after blowing a 21-7 halftime lead. The first meeting saw a 10-0 halftime deficit turn into a 38-7 rout.
In Oregon’s case, it was an uphill battle for most of the season following a 27-21 loss to the SEC’s Auburn Tigers as a 4-point underdog in the opener. The Ducks had numerous chances to beat the Tigers but ultimately came up short before reeling off nine consecutive wins (6-3 ATS) to put themselves back into championship contention.
Oregon’s second setback came versus the Arizona State Sun Devils 31-28 as a 13-point road favorite on the college football betting lines on November 23, and that loss likely kept the team out of the playoff field. Blowing out the Utah Utes 37-15 as 6.5-point underdogs for the Pac-12 title was not enough to sway the pollsters enough to take a two-loss contender.
It may seem overly obvious, but the best players on the field this Wednesday will play key roles and help determine the outcome of the Rose Bowl. What was not so obvious after the conference championship games is that Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert and Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor were locks to play in this game considering they are projected to be among the top players selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Neither Herbert nor Taylor were named Heisman Trophy finalists, mostly because their teams fell short of preseason expectations. But that should not take away from either player’s individual accomplishments this past season, which will get them highly drafted.
Herbert figures to be one of the first quarterbacks selected in the draft, and the senior threw just five interceptions all season. Two of those picks took place in the upset loss at Arizona State. Meanwhile, Taylor rushed for 1,977 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, with both numbers lower than he had during his stellar sophomore campaign (2,194 and 16). Regardless, he totaled more than 100 yards on the ground in 10 of 13 games, topping the 200-yard mark on four occasions, including three times in his last five.
Total Sits at 51.5 Points on Rose Bowl Betting Lines
The total of 51.5 points is an intriguing number for bettors to think about based on the performance of these two schools during the regular season as well. Oregon had totals close in the 50s only three times, and two of them finished UNDER. However, the OVER cashed in five of the last seven games for the Ducks following a 5-1 UNDER run. They scored 35 points or more in four of those five games that went OVER down the stretch. Surprisingly, Herbert did not throw for more than 280 yards in any of them.
For Wisconsin, the OVER cashed in four of its last five after the UNDER was 6-2 to start the season. In addition, the OVER was a perfect 4-0 when Taylor rushed for 200 yards, with the Badgers averaging just over 35 points per game. So a strong rushing attack for both teams late in the year does not necessarily mean this will be a lower-scoring affair.
*Odds as of December 31, 2019