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2013 Rose Bowl: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Stanford Cardinal Free Gambling Prediction & Preview

Badgers vs Cardinal NCAA Football Spread/Handicapping

Short of an appearance in the National Championship game, it’s always a privilege for a football program to play in the “Grand-daddy of ‘Em All”. Yet, the mere fact that 8-5 Wisconsin is representing the Big Ten in this year’s game, suggests just how zany the Big Ten Conference has been in 2012.

Rose Bowl Game (presented by Vizio)
Wisconsin Badgers (8-5) vs. Stanford Cardinal (11-2)
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 5:00 pm EST
Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA
Betting Information Courtesy of Sportsbook.ag
Wisconsin +220, Stanford -260
Wisconsin +6.5, Stanford -6.5
Over/Under: 47.5

ATS Matchup Stats | Gambling Insight!

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Ohio State went unbeaten and would have been a candidate to play for the national title, but its punishment levied by the NCAA meant that the Buckeyes would have no postseason play.

Ohio State did not even appear in the conference title game; it was on the heels of that powerful performance that resulted in the Badgers playing in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

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Wisconsin crushed Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship, dropping 70 points on the supposedly vaunted “Blackshirt” defense of the Cornhuskers. As a result, the Badgers will meet a Pac-12 opponent from northern California with a much more impressive 2012 resume.

Stanford has proven resoundingly that it is no longer an underdog or an afterthought in the Pac-12. Ranked #6 nationally, the Cardinal have victories over USC, Oregon and two wins against UCLA – these programs were all Top 25-ranked when Stanford took the field against them.

Stanford fields the 13th-ranked defense in the nation, yielding a stingy 17.5 points per game. Even more impressively, Stanford is accomplishing this the very next season after stud QB Andrew Luck was drafted first overall in last year’s NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock as a sports fan, you are familiar with Luck’s success at the pro level. Virtually everyone expected the Cardinal to take a step back with someone new under center, but it just hasn’t happened. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The pivot play has been handled adequately by junior Josh Nunes and  freshman Kevin Hogan, while the offensive duo of RB Stepfan Taylor and TE Zach Ertz has led to the lion’s share of Stanford’s points. But it is the defensive side of the ball that really makes this team go.

The Cardinal possess the nation’s third-ranked run defense and have made timely stops and forced timely turnovers on their way to an 11-win campaign.

Make no mistake, Wisconsin can “D” up too; the Badgers have the 12th-ranked run defense and are also in the Top 25 in points allowed. Both of these teams flaunt a similar style, in that they are adept at stopping the run and running the ball on offense. There is Stanford’s aforementioned Taylor, and for Wisconsin, it’s merely the player that just broke the FBS record for career TDs – senior Montee Ball.

After a slow start, Ball had another unbelievable season with 1,730 yards and 21 TDs. Ball had maybe the best offensive line in the country blocking for him last year, and he did more with less in 2012, from a supporting cast standpoint.

This is a tough one to call because Wisconsin is coming off the momentum of a 70-point outburst versus Nebraska in the conference title game, but Stanford has brought its A-game all season.

I think the Badgers are better than their 8-5 record suggest, but I’ll call for Stanford to win a close one in its home state.

Score Prediction: Stanford 21, Wisconsin 17

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