It was hard to predict Wisconsin’s ceiling this year after the pandemic altered the program’s 2020 season. A 1-3 could’ve derailed things rather quickly, only the Badgers bounced back and had a chance to win their division in the final week of the regular season. Losing to Minnesota was a stinging way to miss out on the Big Ten Championship Game, but the future appears bright in Madison. Wisconsin allowed the fewest total yards per game in college football and surrendered just 16.4 points per game, a top-five mark among FBS teams. But the real revelation was Braelon Allen. The freshman came to campus as a 17-year-old linebacker only to move to running back and erupt for 1,060 yards (7.3 per carry) over the final eight weeks of the season. The Badgers are touchdown favorites between Allen and a stifling UW defense.
Unlike Wisconsin, Arizona State had some lofty expectations coming into 2021, and you can absolutely argue that an 8-4 regular season classifies as not meeting those expectations. The Sun Devils had 20 starters back and finished second in their division on account of three losses in a fairly weak Pac-12. ASU wasn’t a bad football team, more of a confusing one. Its defense ranks top-30 in yards and points allowed while the offense was average outside of the run game, which racked up over 200 yards per game. Opt-outs make the Sun Devils a tough sell here. Leading rusher Rachaad White opted out while backup DeaMonte Trayanum is in the transfer portal, leaving ASU with its third-string back against Wisconsin’s stout run defense. Starting defensive backs, Jack J0nes and Chase Lucas also opted out for the Sun Devils.
This game is on Thursday, Dec. 30, with a 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff time on ESPN. Odds, Over/Under, Moneyline
Odds updated at 12 p.m. ET on Dec. 25. Click here for live odds. Betting Trends
Arizona State is 20-49 as underdogs in its last 69 games
Arizona State is 2-6 ATS after a win in its last 8 games
Wisconsin is 7-1 as favorites in its last 8 games
Wisconsin is 6-0-1 ATS in bowl games in its last 7 games
Click here to learn more about The Athletic’s FREE betting contest with BetPrep. Wisconsin-Arizona State storylines
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(Photo of Braelon Allen: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)