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Look for Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin to knock off Minnesota

Wisconsin-Minnesota hasn’t been such a major national game since 1962, when both teams ranked in the top five of The Associated Press poll.

Wisconsin started the season 6-0 with blowout wins against Michigan and Michigan State before getting upended by Illinois and humbled by Ohio State.

Minnesota controlled the Big Ten West after upsetting Penn State to reach 9-0. The Golden Gophers then lost to Iowa, ensuring the division would be decided in the final week of the regular season.

This matchup is tailor-made for Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. His offensive line is fourth in power success rate and sixth in stuff rate. Minnesota’s defensive line is 122nd and 90th in those categories.

The Badgers have played a tougher schedule and rank third in the nation in opponent passer rating, which should help against the Big Ten’s two leading receivers in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman.

Minnesota hasn’t had to play Ohio State and got pretty fortunate to beat Penn State, which is why this number isn’t larger.

Take Wisconsin -2½.

Four more plays (home team in CAPS):

GEORGIA TECH (+28) over Georgia: The Bulldogs have won three games by more than four touchdowns: 63-17 over Murray State, 55-0 over Arkansas State and 43-14 over Tennessee. Georgia has scored 30 or fewer points in eight of 11 games, averaging 21.5 in its six games since beating the Volunteers. Georgia Tech has lost two games by more than four touchdowns — at Clemson and vs. Virginia Tech — but has covered three of its last five. This is the Yellow Jackets’ Super Bowl, while the Bulldogs face Louisiana State next week in the SEC title game.

KENTUCKY (-3) over Louisville: Both teams run the ball more than 60 percent of the time, so the game probably will be decided at the line of scrimmage. Kentucky is better in the trenches, which helps explain why it has better stats in yards per carry and yards per carry allowed. The Wildcats also feature a top 25 pass defense and rank 41st in SP+ special teams compared with 80th for Louisville. Kentucky is on a 5-1 ATS run and is the better team.

Baylor (-14) over KANSAS: The Bears have trouble against teams that can take advantage of their leaky offensive line. The Jayhawks offer no such threat, ranking 96th or worse in line yards, opportunity rate, stuff rate and sack rate. Kansas upset Boston College (No. 111 in defensive SP+) and Texas Tech (No. 76) and almost upset Texas (No. 77) by exploiting bad defenses. Baylor’s defense (No. 17) does not offer the same kind of assist to a team that has allowed 51, 45, 50, 34, 38, 31 and 41 points in its last seven games.

California (-1) over UCLA: The Golden Bears are 5-0 this season when quarterback Chase Garbers throws at least 15 passes and 1-5 when he doesn’t. He has averaged 2.4 yards per attempt more than Devon Modster with a far better touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’ll play Saturday. UCLA also has been inconsistent, partially because of the health of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a former Bishop Gorman High star. Against Cincinnati, San Diego State, Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah, mostly teams with good defenses, the Bruins have failed to top 14 points. Cal will be playing in a bowl game, while UCLA just lost to rival Southern California.

Last Week: 1-4

Season: 36-26-3

More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Christopher Smith of AL.com, NOLA.com and MyBookie is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Follow @cfblocksmith on Twitter.

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