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2013 Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford odds and lines

The Stanford Cardinal are favorites heading into the Rose Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers, but it isn't by much.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanford Cardinal and Wisconsin Badgers head into the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena with the Cardinal as 6.5-point favorites over the surprising Big 10 champions.

The Cardinal were expecting to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Rose Bowl, but the Cornhuskers were upset by the Badgers in the Big 10 championship, leading to a matchup no one predicted heading into the season. Nevertheless, the Badgers have proven over the years that they know how to perform under the big lights, and the lights don't get much bigger than the Rose Bowl.

The Cardinal have outscored their opponents by an average of 11 points this season, almost a touchdown more than they are expected to beat the Badgers. The reason for that is that both teams have played well on the defensive side of the ball, never shown more than when the Cardinal shut down the extra-explosive Oregon Ducks offense. The Badgers give up 19.1 points and the Cardinal give up 17.5 points per game. It could be a close, old-fashioned, hard-hitting game, proving the spread correct after all.