Online Betting Sports – Expert Picks, News and Betting Predictions: Big Ten college football preview: the Wisconsin Badgers.
Wisconsin Badgers Win Total
The Wisconsin Badgers are a shining example of what people think of when you think of Big Ten college football. Teams from Madison are constantly trotting out big, corn-fed offensive lineman for a talented running back to run behind while the team battles it out in a lower scoring slugfest. The equation seems to work for the Badgers as they’ve won double-digit games in 9 of the last 15 seasons.
Sportsbooks see this year as no different as BetUS has the Badgers betting line set at 9.5 wins.
Penn State (9/4)
The Nittany Lions had arguably one of the most disappointing seasons in college football last season after losing their first five games, but their record falls under the exception, not the rule, for coach James Franklin. Quarterback Sean Clifford comes back for an extra season, and Penn State looks to carry the momentum from the final four games of the season, which all resulted in wins. Wisconsin opens as a home favorite, according to BetOnline, with a betting line of -4.5 points.
Notre Dame (9/25) Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
A battle of two of the Midwest’s most prominent teams in one of the most iconic professional stadiums in the country. This game will also feature Notre Dame’s new quarterback, Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan. Coan takes over an Irish offense led by running back Kyren Williams that will be replacing long-time starter Ian Book and a host of offensive lineman up front.
The Irish made it to the College Football Playoff last season as a member of the ACC but are back to playing a mixed schedule as an independent team this season. BetOnline likes the Badgers in this neutral-site matchup as they open as a 3 point favorite.
Halloween weekend, at Camp Randall Stadium, against the Badgers biggest challenger in the Big Ten West, sounds like a recipe for a great fall Saturday in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes come into the season with the second-best odds to win the division (+190 Bovada) behind the Badgers (-120), and this game could be the deciding factor in who goes to Indianapolis for the conference championship game.
If Wisconsin is 1A in terms of teams thought of when thinking about Big Ten style of play, their counterpart Iowa is 1B. Expect this game to be a ground and pound, low scoring affair.
Wisconsin came out of the Big Ten gates fast in 2020 when freshman quarterback Graham Mertz made his debut against Illinois, throwing for 5 touchdowns and only one incompletion. Unfortunately for Mertz, he tested positive for COVID the following week and was never able to round back into the form the nation saw on that opening night. He returns to start this season behind a line that projects to feature four lineman entering their fifth season.
This sets up well for the Badgers to play their style of football. On the other side of the ball, fifth-year coordinator Jim Leonhard has helped Wisconsin develop a sort of nastiness on defense that the former Badgers safety played with during his time in Madison and his ten seasons in the NFL.
Over 9.5 wins. Bovada and BetUS both lean towards the over, with Betting odds being -120 and -130, respectively. The major games on the schedule lay out nicely at home or at a neutral site for the Badgers, and they avoid conference favorite Ohio State entirely. Wisconsin can afford two losses and still hit the over on this bet, and on paper, there aren’t any games that stand out where the Badgers shouldn’t be favored.
Wisconsin Big Ten Champions
Bovada has the Badgers at +600 to win the Big Ten championship, behind favorite Ohio State. Wisconsin won the first two championship games in 2011 and 2012 and have tacked on four runner-up finishes in the years following. BetUS has the Badgers betting line at +500 to take the crown.
Graham Mertz Heisman Trophy Winner
This seems like a longshot as Wisconsin quarterbacks haven’t typically had the stats that garner Heisman attention. The running backs have fared better in the voting process in recent years (Montee Ball, Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Taylor). If Mertz can channel the mojo he found in his first start last season and lead the Badgers on a playoff run, and he could make the trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony. BetOnline likes his chances (+2800) much more than Bovada (+8000) so take advantage of the extra juice in the betting line.