Wisconsin Win-Total Prediction
Can the Wisconsin Badgers get back to being among the elite in the Big Ten and national pictures in the 2017 season? Here’s our breakdown of Wisconsin.
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Wisconsin is listed with 25/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs. The Badgers are getting +280 odds to win the Big Ten, while their over/under total for regular-season wins is listed at 10.5. The over is set at +125, while the under is listed at -155.
Paul Chryst is stepping into his third season at the helm of Wisconsin. His first two years have been very successful. Wisconsin churned out a 10-3 overall record and 6-2 Big Ten record in 2015. The Badgers followed that up last season with an 11-3 mark last year and a 7-2 Big Ten record. Wisconsin has yet to win the Big Ten under Chryst, but the Badgers are 2-0 in bowl games and finished last season ranked ninth in the country.
Like usual, Wisconsin was amongst the best defense teams in the nation last season. The Badgers gave up just 303 yards and 15.5 points per game. They held opponents to only 96.9 rushing yards per game as well. T.J. Watt, the leader of the defense in 2016, is gone. He had 15.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks last season. However, T.J. Edwards, the linebacker that led the team in tackles with 89, is back to captain the defense. Also back is safety D’Cota Dixon, who had 60 tackles with four interceptions. Offensively, Wisconsin could use some help. The Badgers averaged just 28.4 points and 382 yards per game. Their pass game was very weak, posting only 179.1 yards per contest. Alex Hornibrook split time under center last year as a freshman and had 1,262 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2016. He is now the clear-cut starter as a sophomore. He will have to step up, as the Badgers lose their two leading rushers from last season, including Corey Clement, who had 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns. At receiver, Wisconsin brings back Jazz Peavy and Troy Fumagalli. The two combined for over 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016 and could have some good repour with Hornibrook.
Wisconsin will open the season hosting Utah State and also take on FAU at home while visiting BYU in non-conference play. In Big Ten play, Wisconsin heads to Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota. Home conference games include Purdue, Maryland, Iowa and Michigan. The Badgers have a favorable schedule. They get to avoid Ohio State and Penn State this year. They have a tough game at Nebraska early and an interesting matchup with Wisconsin late, but I think the schedule should work out well. The Wisconsin defense should remain strong despite the losses while the offense faces some big challenges. I am not sure if Hornibrook is ready to be “the guy” and I am not sure their run game will be able to continue to carry the team. While the schedule isn’t hard, I see Wisconsin having to grind out wins again and that is a dangerous way to have to win when oddsmakers expect you to win 11 of 12. I think Wisconsin slips up along the way a few times and will not quite get to 11 regular-season wins.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WISCONSIN UNDER 10.5 (-155)