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Cotton Bowl Betting Analysis - Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan

Cotton Bowl Betting Odds

Don’t forget that there are two undefeated teams in college football this season! The Western Michigan Broncos will be looking to claim their third Big Ten victory of the season and finish 14-0 when they face the Wisconsin Badgers in the Cotton Bowl on Monday afternoon. Surprisingly, PJ Fleck has decided to stay in Kalamazoo for another season so the Broncos will be fully focused when they take on the Badgers. Paul Chryst and Wisconsin better not take this team lightly.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Western Michigan Broncos
Date and Time: Monday, January 2, 2016, 1 p.m. ET
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Cotton Bowl Odds at Wisconsin -7.5, O/U 53.5
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Western Michigan Broncos TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

Going back to the BCS era, teams outside the Power Five are 6-2 when facing Power Five opponents. Boise State and Houston knocked off Arizona and Florida State respectively in the first two years of New Year’s Six Bowls under the new system, but the MAC is still looking for a win in a top-tier bowl. The conference’s one previous entrant, Northern Illinois, got hammered in the 2013 Orange Bowl by Florida State.

Wisconsin has been one of the best ATS teams this season. The Badgers are 9-3-1 ATS, but most impressively, they are 6-1 ATS outside of Madison. Although 53.5 seems like a low total, this is the highest over/under we have seen in a Wisconsin game yet this season even though the Badgers are averaging 40 PPG over their last four.

Western Michigan went undefeated outside of conference play this season with a 4-0 SU and 4-0 ATS mark. Included in those records are two outright wins on the road against Northwestern and Illinois. Under is 5-2 in Broncos’ road games this season.

Bowl Game History

Although the Cotton Bowl was somewhat forgotten about in the BCS era, this postseason game is once against a top-tier bowl under the College Football Playoff. Last season, this game was one of the two CFP Semifinal games and featured Alabama annihilating Michigan State 38-0 en route to a national title.

Neither Wisconsin nor Western Michigan have ever played in this game before, but the winner will have more victories in this game than Baylor or Texas Tech.

Team and Coaching Bowl Game History

Western Michigan is still a neophyte to the college football postseason. This will be the program’s eighth bowl game and the Broncos have yet to win a bowl game on US soil. Their win against Middle Tennessee State in the Bahamas Bowl last season was the first in school history and this would undoubtedly be Western Michigan’s biggest win ever.

The Badgers will be looking to win their first major bowl game since a Rose Bowl victory over Stanford on January 1, 2000. Wisconsin lost three straight Rose Bowls between 2010 and 2012, but has won two straight bowl games, including a 23-21 victory over USC in the Holiday Bowl last season.

Recent Games of Note

Western Michigan came close to letting its perfect season slip away in the MAC Title Game. The Broncos were in control for most of the game against Ohio, but needed a defensive stop in the final minute to seal the deal. Aside from that performance, the offense has been great all season long with the Zach Terrell to Corey Davis combination finding the end zone 18 times.

Surprisingly, it was Wisconsin’s defense that let the team down against Penn State. The Badgers were up 28-7 on the Nittany Lions with under 5 minutes to go in the second quarter of the Big Ten Championship Game, but that wasn’t enough to get the win. Wisconsin’s defense allowed four touchdown drives of more than 60 yards over the next 20 minutes of gameplay and that doomed the Badgers to a loss.