Utah State vs. Wisconsin Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Wisconsin is the clear favorite in this game, as the Badgers are getting odds of -27.5 points against Utah State. The over/under total for the contest is listed at 52.5 points. These two last met in 2012, with Wisconsin picking up a 16-14 win as a 14-point favorite. Tonight’s game takes place from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin and will air live on ESPN.
Wisconsin is coming off an 11-3 record in 2016 in which the Badgers were 9-4-1 against the spread. However, Wisconsin was just 3-2-1 ATS at home. The Badgers weren’t known for having a great offense last year, averaging just 28.4 points per game. Defensively, Wisconsin was pretty dominant, allowing only 15.5 points per game After sharing time at quarterback for the Badgers last year, Alex Hornibrook is handling the full-time duties this season. He threw for 1,262 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Hornibrook has a pair of reliable receivers to work with in Jazz Peavy and Troy Fumagalli. The two combined for over 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. Wisconsin’s biggest question on offense comes in replacing running back Corey Clement, who rushed for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago. The Badgers should have some eager candidates, but none with much experience.
Utah State is coming off a disappointing 3-9 record in 2016, its worst showing since 2008. The Aggies were also 3-9 against the spread in 2016, including a 1-5 mark ATS in road games. Utah State averaged 23.9 points per game on offense while allowing 29.3 on defense. Quarterback Kent Myers threw for 2,389 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, but he also had eight interceptions. Myers is back to lead the offense again in 2017. He returns his leading receiver in Ron’quavion Tarver, who had 602 yards on 46 catches in 2016. Also back is Tonny Lindsey Jr., who led the team in rushing in 2016 with 763 yards and six touchdowns.
Wisconsin should be the better team tonight, but I don’t feel great about giving up nearly four touchdowns to Utah State. The Badgers barely averaged 28 points per game last season and they lost their top player in Clement. While I would expect the Wisconsin defense to keep Utah State in check, I don’t see the Badgers running over the Utah State defense. This game should be more competitive than some would think.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTION: UTAH STATE +27.5