Wisconsin Is Guaranteed To Win The Guaranteed Rate Bowl

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Okay, “guaranteed” is definitely too strong of a word considering the coaching changes and opt outs for Tuesday’s Guaranteed Rate Bowl with Wisconsin Badgers (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5). But, it made the headline pop and possibly got you to click on the article.

Wisconsin alternated between winning and losing its last four regular-season games and lost the Paul Bunyan’s Axe trophy to Minnesota in their season finale.

The Wisconsin Badgers celebrate a big play on offensive against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Barry Alvarez field at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Badgers celebrate a big play on offensive against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Barry Alvarez field at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After a 5-0 start, Oklahoma State lost five of its last seven games and back-to-back games to end the year. The Cowboys took double-digit beatdowns in four of those five losses.

The Badgers are the right side in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. They they will win the trenches, Wisconsin is taking pro money in the betting market and the Cowboys are losing more production.

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline: Oklahoma State (+160), Wisconsin (-190)
  • Against the spread (ATS): Oklahoma State +4.5 (-110), WISCONSIN -4.5 (-110)
  • Total — 44 — Over: -110, Under: -110

‘Sharps’ backing the Badgers

Wisconsin opened as 3.5-point favorites but have been steamed up to -4.5 despite good two-way action in the consensus betting market for this game. 

However, DraftKings is reporting via VSIN that more than 55% of the cash is on the Badgers. Nearly that same rate of the bets placed are on the Cowboys.

Typically, the cash column is considered the sharper side of the betting splits since professionals wager a lot more dough than your average Joe

Also …

OK State’s opt-outs are more concerning

Both teams’ starting QBs from the regular season opted out of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. But, former Cowboys QB Spencer Sanders was a four-year starter. He had a bigger role in his offense than former Badgers QB Graham Mertz

Oklahoma State Cowboys QB Spencer Sanders scores a TD on a 14-yard run against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State Cowboys QB Spencer Sanders scores a TD on a 14-yard run against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Sanders was second on OK State in rushing yards and carries per game and tied for a team-high 8 rushing TDs. He was tied with RB Dominic Richardson who also opted out of this bowl game.

The Cowboys’ three leaders in tackles for a loss (TFL) will miss the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. LB Mason Cobb (13.5 TFLs), DE Brock Martin (10.5 TFLs), and DE Tyler Lacy (8.5 TFLs).

These opt outs for OK State will help …

Wisconsin win the trenches 

Since both teams have a wild-card under center and missing a ton of playmakers, the Badgers have the edge here because they are better on the line of scrimmage. Wisconsin is 21st in net line yards per snap and Oklahoma State is 84th.

Wisconsin Badgers RB Braelon Allen carries the ball against the Maryland Terrapins at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (John Fisher/Getty Images)

In fact, the Cowboys’ offensive line ranked just 106th this season in line yards per snap, according to Football Outsiders. Badgers leading rusher, RB Braelon Allen, is active for this game as well.

OK State averaged only 3.3 yards per rush during the regular season (ranked 109th) and Wisconsin allowed just 3.0 yards per carry (third). 

Lastly …

New Badgers coach Luke Fickell is the anti-‘Prime’

Unlike Deion Sanders at his new gig, the Colorado Buffaloes, Fickell isn’t trying to nuke Wisconsin’s football program. Upon meeting his new team, Deion effectively told the team he’s replacing them.

Fickell on the other hand retained Badgers interim head coach Jim Leonard for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl to run the defense and offensive coordinator Bobby Engram.

Here’s what Wisconsin’s leader in tackles, LB Maema Njongmeta, said about Fickell recently:

His messaging has been really consistent. ‘Hey, I’m here for you guys … I’m learning about you. I’m not trying to control anything just yet. I understand I have to let you guys finish this season off.’

Covers.com

It’s nearly impossible to figure out motivation in these non-New Year’s Eve bowl games. But, I’m more confident in Wisconsin being more motivated in this spot. Allen opted into playing and the Badgers reportedly liked playing for Leonard.

BET: Wisconsin -4.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Wisconsin Badgers' odds vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 1 p.m. ET.
The Wisconsin Badgers’ odds vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 1 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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