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A season ago, Miami and Wisconsin met for a much match up in the Orange Bowl, but this year they will meet on a much smaller stage in the Pinstripe Bowl. The two teams took similar paths to this point. With high expectations and a top ten ranking to start the season, both the Hurricanes and Badgers struggled and ultimately finished with a disappointing 7-5 mark.
While neither team or fan base planned to be in this position, there is still a lot of value in trying to build momentum toward a more positive 2019. If that isn’t good enough for you, there are still bets to be made and won no matter the stage you are on.
The spread for the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl opened with the Badgers as a slight underdog at +3.5. Since then there has not been much sway either way, but oddsmakers did move Wisconsin down to +3 after getting a pretty strong backing from both public and sharp bettors. The Badgers are one of the more trendy underdogs of bowl season getting 74 percent of the bets and 85 percent of the total money wagered—meaning both Pro and Joe is riding with the underdog in this one. The under 48 has also been a popular pick from both sides as 96 percent of the money has been put on that side. To help you decide where you want to play, here are some notable trends for the Pinstripe Bowl:
- Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS in its last five games
- Miami is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games
- The total has gone under in 4 of the last five Wisconsin games
- The total has gone under in 5 of the last five Miami games
- Miami is 1-3 ATS in its last four bowl games
- Wisconsin is 4-0 ATS in its last four bowl games
The one notable trend that really sticks out to me here is how the two teams have fared in previous bowl game contests. Bowl games are very tough to play in as they pit unfamiliar teams and unfamiliar location in most cases. Some teams show up in these spots, while others appear to have no interest in it at all. The trends for these both teams are very noticeable, as the Badgers are 4-0 ATS in their last four while the Hurricanes are just 1-3. It’s clear that the Badgers tend to show up for these games, while the Hurricanes have struggled to produce of late. With the game being in a cold weather city, that only adds to the advantage of bettors taking Wisconsin.
The Pick: Wisconsin (+3)
As a self proclaimed sharp bettor (61 percent on CFB this season, no big deal) I do not really see a particular advantage to playing either side. Each team has their flaws, but that’s what most 7-5 teams have. The big thing for me is how the Wisconsin offense will fair against the Hurricane defense. While Miami as a whole may have struggled, it was not because of their defensive play as the Hurricanes own the No. 2 defense in the country, statistically (total defense). They have played extremely well on that side of the football, and with Jack Coan starting for the Badgers, you have to think that plays an advantage to the Hurricanes.
The struggle for Miami has been on offense. The Hurricanes have had multiple quarterback changes, and neither option has provided any real progress. They have turned the ball over at a very high rate all season, and with Malik Rosier starting at quarterback, I have a hard time finding confidence in Miami either. With Wisconsin being the underdog, and having the best overall player in Jonathan Taylor—coupled with a few All-Americans on the offensive line—they are the more sensible bet in this game.
My favorite play for the Pinstripe Bowl is the one that nearly everyone has made, and that is the under. When you look at the teams struggles and quarterback concerns, it is the only real play you can make and have confidence in. If you couple that with Miami’s dominating defense and Wisconsin’s style of play, you should be able to hit the under 48 mark in most cases. This game looks like it is going to be a grind it out, smash mouth football game that will stay close until the very end. If both quarterbacks can limit their mistakes and keep the turnovers low, this clock should bleed and you should have a very good shot at the under hitting. With 96 percent of the bets on it already, Vegas is begging for some sort of scoring, but I do not think they will get that in this one.