Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Wisconsin Badgers Betting Preview
The Irish and Badgers are meeting halfway in the Windy City in one of only two College Football games in Week 4 featuring two ranked teams. Despite their midwest ties and prominent success in college football, these two teams haven’t faced off in nearly 60 years. In fact, the teams have only played 15 times since the year 1900.
Chicago features a prominent home base for both Wisconsin and Notre Dame alumni, so Soldier Field should be packed equally with fans in red and navy.
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Wisconsin Badgers Team Preview
Wisconsin is 1-1 coming off a week of rest following a win over Eastern Michigan and loss at home to Penn State. The Badgers failed to cover the spread in Week 1, losing 16-10 to Penn State, but narrowly covered the 26-point spread against the Eagles in Week 2.
All the attention coming into the season was on Graham Mertz on the offensive side of the ball, but the sophomore quarterback has yet to throw a touchdown pass through two games. Some questionable decision-making cost the Badgers a chance to come out victorious in the Week 1 opener against Penn State. Running back Chez Mellusi has gotten off to a hot start, however, racking up over 130 yards per game.
Defensively the Badgers have started off the season strong. Neither Penn State nor Eastern Michigan had any success running the ball on Jim Leonhard’s defense; the unit has only given up 86 yards on the season. While the Eagles didn’t find any traction passing the ball, Sean Clifford accounted for most of Penn State’s total offense through the air and could have had more if not for a few underthrows. This week especially will be one to see how the Badgers hold up against the pass against a familiar foe.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Team Preview
The Badgers haven’t seen the Irish since 1964, but the familiar foe comes in the form of Notre Dame starting quarterback and former Wisconsin Badger Jack Coan. Coan lost his starting job to Mertz a season ago and made the decision to take his talents to South Bend to try and reignite his career. Week 2 thrust Coan into Irish fame after suffering a dislocated finger in the middle of a drive while trailing Toledo. The training staff popped the finger back into place, Coan tossed a touchdown pass, and became a fan favorite.
The Irish are off to a shaky but undefeated start to the season. Notre Dame knocked off Purdue in Week 3 and covered the -7.5 spread but had failed to do so in their 3-point wins against Florida State and Toledo. Overall the Irish have shown flashes of being a good team but have lacked the consistency to put teams away.
If we take a look at the betting odds, we can see that Bovada and BetOnline have the Badgers as a -5.5-point betting line favorite in this neutral-site matchup. The Irish come in as an undefeated underdog and the higher-ranked team in the matchup but currently sit with +195 betting odds to win the game outright.
Jim Leonhard and Wisconsin’s defense may have the upper hand in this fight after multiple years of facing Coan in practice, but Coan has been off to a hot start and will be motivated to knock off his former team. Can Graham Mertz find the end zone a few times this weekend and prove to Badgers fans that Paul Chryst made the right decision?
The total points betting line is set at 46.5 points on Bovada but taking the line on BetOnline gets an extra half-point at 47. The under seems more likely here with the defensive success each team has shown, and if Wisconsin can take care of the ball, the Badgers should cover the 5.5-point spread.