The Wisconsin Badgers will look to implement their run-first style to capture a Las Vegas Bowl victory on Thursday. Still, the Arizona Sun Devils have made things tough on opposing running backs, so they very well might be able to cause the mild upset to cap off an impressive 8-4 season.
The end of the season was great for the Sun Devils, as they won 3 of their last 4 games against teams like USC and Washington, so you would expect them to be up for the challenge in front of them in this bowl game. Wisconsin should come in here full of confidence even though they lost their last game, as that last loss against Minnesota snapped a 7 game winning streak, so the Badgers formula has been working here in 2021.
Wisconsin Badgers Betting Preview:
Wisconsin will enter this game as 6 point favorites, and it is awfully tough to argue against that, as they have been on an absolute roll as of late and almost all of their losses came against ranked opponents. We also know exactly what the Badgers will try to do in this game: establish the run and play excellent defense on the other side of things to secure victory.
Even though this has been a nice season for the Badgers, it is important to talk about that last loss against Minnesota as they were totally shut down in a game they were expected to win. The Badgers running attack was inefficient, and QB Graham Mertz was unable to pick up the pieces and lead his team to a victory. The Sun Devils run defense is the stronger part of their overall defensive unit, so Mertz might be called upon more often to take advantage of a suspect secondary.
Even with that being the case, we should still be on the lookout for plenty of RB Braelon Allen, who really started to get rolling at the midpoint of the season, finishing up with 1109 total rush yards and 12 TDs. It was always going to be tough for him to fill the shoes of the Badgers’ previous running backs like Jonathan Taylor, but he has proven himself to be well and truly up for the challenge, so look for him to be a game-changer in this one possibly.
Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Preview:
You do get the feeling that Arizona is going to have to pull out every trick in the book for them to win this game, as this represents a pretty brutal individual matchup for their team. The Sun Devils are pretty good at stopping opposing runners allowing only 129.4 rush yards per game, but the Badgers are elite, allowing just 65.2 rushing yards on average. That will likely eliminate the un Devils best weapon, which has been rushing the ball with RB Rashaad White responsible for over 1000 yards with 15 touchdowns.
The next issue for the Sun Devils rushing attack will be that Rachaad White is not even playing in this game, as he has chosen to opt-out, and another one of their RB’s, Chip Trayanum, has chosen to transfer out of the program. That leaves most of the onus for this offense on third-year QB Jayden Daniels who has not quite taken the step forward many would have expected this year.
The one good thing is that Daniels has committed to coming back in 2022, so this will represent a good opportunity to build toward next year. Daniels managed 2221 passing yards this season with a TD to interception ratio of 10-9, with 6 of those interceptions coming in the last 5 games. He has plenty of rushing upsides; however, with their running back core depleted, he will also likely need to be the team’s leading rusher if Arizona State finds success here.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Prediction:
This 6 point spread seems like a bit of a gift here, as the Badgers should absolutely pummel the Sun Devils. This bowl season as a whole has been entirely unpredictable, so do proceed with caution, but there are no reasons on paper why I would not lean toward laying the points with the far superior team. Look for the Badgers to once again implement their methodical plan and for them to come out on top in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Free Betting Pick
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Verdict: Badgers -6
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Final Score Prediction: 31-10 Wisconsin