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Wisconsin at Miami: Orange Bowl Point Spread And Totals Picks
College Football Season Context
By any measure, these two teams have had successful seasons despite some bitter disappointment for both squads at the end. Wisconsin (12-1) stayed unbeaten until a close loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game effectively knocking the Badgers out of the playoffs.
Miami (10-2) took the college football world by surprise by staying unbeaten through its first ten games before an upset loss at Pittsburgh followed by shellacking at the hands of Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Now, Wisconsin and Miami will try to pick themselves off the mat while playing for pride and the right to put the finishing touch on a fine season.
Undoubtedly, Miami enters the Orange Bowl in worse shape, reeling after its loss to a 5-7 Pittsburgh squad and its humiliating 38-3 defeat against Clemson. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has to be wondering what could have been after falling to Ohio state 27-21.
The Line: Wisconsin -6.5 (O/U: 45)
The oddsmakers are making a pretty bold statement with this line given that Miami will actually be playing on its home field. That said, it doesn't take much in the way of critical analysis to determine that these two teams finished the season moving in opposite directions and that Miami will have to play much better than it did in its final two games in order to compete.
- Wisconsin ranks first in the country in total defense for a reason. These Badgers are tough, physical and nearly impossible to run against. Their pass defense isn't too shabby either (4th fewest passing yards allowed in the nation). They will get to face a Miami offense that has struggled at times this year (59h total offense).
- Much of the Hurricanes success this season has been built on an opportunistic defense that has created points and field position. Miami is #2 in turnover margin and turnovers gained.
- Miami won close games - less than a TD - against FSU, Georgia Tech and North Carolina
- All 12 of Wisconsin's wins were by greater than one TD, with 11 wins by more than 10 points
2017 Orange Bowl Betting Picks
As odd as it seems to say, this game has the feel of a mismatch. Wisconsin has been the statistically and visually better team this season, while Miami is probably not as good as its record indicates.
The Hurricanes were a bit injured late in the year, but that doesn't excuse the eggs they laid against Pitt and Clemson in back to back weeks in the most important games of the year. Some teams fall apart late in the season and that seems to be the case with Miami.
I think Wisconsin wins and wins big in this game if it can avoid turning the ball over. The Badgers are the more physical and disciplined team on both sides of the ball, so it's difficult to see Miami being able to get much going. I see Wisconsin pounding the rock and dominating the time of possession in this game with an exhausted Miami defense giving up big plays in the second half.PICK: Wisconsin -6.5 & UNDER 45 Bovada
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