Rose Bowl Odds and Picks: Wisconsin vs Stanford Predictions – Free College Bowl Picks 1/1/13: It remains one of the most prestigious and tradition-rich bowl games in college football, and Tuesday, the 99th installment of the Rose Bowl will add another chapter to the sport’s oldest bowl game. This year’s game features the traditional matchup of the Big Ten champ versus the Pac-12 champ as the Wisconsin Badgers (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten) take on the sixth-ranked Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12). Wisconsin will be making its third straight appearance in the Granddaddy of Them All after making the most of its free pass into the conference title game set up by postseason bans for both Penn State and Ohio State. Stanford on the other hand lost just two road games by a combined 11 points, including an overtime loss to Notre Dame, on its way to the Pac-12 crown. Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Cardinal are six-point favorites.

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Wisconsin’s offense definitely took a step back from the juggernaut it was last season with Russell Wilson under center, but the Badgers did average more than 30 points per game this year. Star Running back Montee Ball was the workhorse of the country’s 12th-best ground attack, and he enters the game with more than 1,700 yards and 21 scores. Fellow back James White provides a nice counterpunch, accounting for 12 touchdowns and more than 800 yards. The power running game has supported a solid defense, and the Badgers currently rank in the top 20 in the nation in points allowed.

For Stanford, a stingy defense and power running game have keyed the team’s success all year. Stepfan Taylor is the centerpiece of the offense, and he has topped 1,400 yards on the ground for the year. Meanwhile, Chase Thomas leads what might be the country’s best group of linebackers, and the Stanford defense as a whole ranks in the top 15 nationally in scoring. In addition, the Cardinal lead the country in sacks and have also returned four interceptions for scores.

The Badgers Win If:

If Wisconsin is going to knock off Stanford, Ball and the ground game will have to keep the Badgers within striking distance throughout the game. Wisconsin struggles to throw the ball as it is with the inexperienced Joel Stave under center, and if the Badgers get caught in a situation where they have to pass, Stave is going to get annihilated but Stanford blitz. On the flip side, Wisconsin can stay in control of the pace of the game if Ball is moving the chains. In the end, Ball is the better running back in this matchup, and if the Badgers make sure this game comes down to which back can make the most plays, Wisconsin should come out on a top in a low-scoring, bruising battle.

The Cardinal Win If:

Stanford’s defense is stout, and the Cardinal need to take advantage of a matchup with an average Wisconsin offense. In particular, Stanford needs to shut down Ball and the Wisconsin ground game early and try to build a lead. If the Cardinal can get out front, Stave is going to have to try to throw the ball to try to keep pace. If that happens, the Stanford pass rush is going to be turned loose. If the Stanford defense dominates the Wisconsin offense, the Badgers’ defense will eventually break under the constant pounding of Taylor and company.

Bottom Line:

Stanford definitely matches up well against Wisconsin in this game. The Badgers have to run the ball to score points, and the Cardinal have the fourth-best rushing defense in the country. That being said, Wisconsin isn’t too shabby on defense either, and Stanford is basically a one-dimensional, run-first team on offense, as well. This game has all the makings of a war in the trenches, and it is tough to see either side blowing out the other. Not to mention the fact the Badgers lost four of their five games by only three points and the other game by seven points in overtime. In the end, Stanford’s defense should help the Cardinal pick up the win, but Wisconsin has proven time and time again that it will keep things close even in a loss.

Prediction: Wisconsin Badgers (+6) Cover the Spread

BetOnline.com

Wisconsin vs Stanford Vegas Odds and Total
Date: 1/1/13
Line: Stanford -6
Total: Over/Under 47.5
Television: 5 PM EST on ESPN

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