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BYU vs. Wisconsin betting preview

The Badgers are 0-2 against the spread. Will they cover in Week 3?

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NCAA Football: New Mexico at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Spread and Total are based on 9/13 odds. For the latest odds, visit The Action Network

I hope you faded my pick last week, as the Badgers were unable to cover the 36.5 spread. A late touchdown pass from Danny Vanden Boom set the game just over the total of 58 points. If the Badgers play a clean game in the turnover department, they probably end up covering, but there’s always excuses in sports betting. We’re past it and onto week 3.

The Badgers opened as 21.5 point favorites which was quickly bet up into the 22 range depending on where you play the game. Make sure to shop around for the best lines in this one as the books all have varying numbers. The total opened at 48 and was hammered by professional bettors, which quickly moved this number down to a current spot of 45.5. As it sits now, 81 percent of the money is on the over total while 44 percent is on Wisconsin to cover the spread. Here are this week’s notable trends:

  • BYU is 6-2 ATS on the road in September over their last eight games.
  • The total has gone under in 11 of BYU’s last 15 games.
  • Wisconsin is 3-6 ATS in their last nine home games.
  • In the Paul Chryst era, Wisconsin is 7-7 ATS in games favored by more than 20 points.
  • The Badgers are 2-0 ATS in their last two meetings with BYU (2013 and 2017).
  • Undefeated favorites with back-to-back spread losses have covered ATS in 59 percent of their following game.

So What Does It All Mean?

BYU has received some market inflation because of their upset win over Arizona, but last week the Cougars took a major step back. While they only lost by three points, the Cal defense did not allow the Cougar offense to score for nearly the entire game. BYU converted a scoop and score to give them their only touchdown in the first three quarters. The offense looked poor, especially on third down, and they now face an even better defense against Wisconsin.

While the Badgers are 0-2 ATS you have to take that with a grain of salt. Thirty-five points favorites are tough for any team to cover, and Wisconsin doesn’t play the type of football that makes those numbers any easier. A 21-22 point spread is much more manageable for a team like Wisconsin to take advantage of.

As mentioned earlier, the Badgers probably would have covered against New Mexico if they didn’t turn the ball over and lose possessions. I again think the turnover battle will be critical, but the Badgers defense should exhaust the BYU offense.

The Pick: Wisconsin (-21.5)

The trends say BYU has value on the road historically, but the Cougars are a shell of what they have been in the past. Their offense looked horrid last week, and I just don’t see how they will consistently move the ball against Wisconsin. If the Badgers can shut down running back Squally Canada [writer’s note: what a name, by the way] they should be able to make BYU one dimensional and get after Tanner Magnum. BYU was 4-of-10 on third down conversions last week, and will likely be battling the same issues this week.

The Wisconsin offense looked great last week, and while BYU has been good against the run so far, they haven’t faced an attack quite like the Badgers yet. With much of the focus being on taking care of the football, I expect the Badgers to play a clean game on the offensive side of the ball. If they do that coupled with added possession from a struggling BYU offense, I like the Badgers to run away with this one similar to the road contest last season. While I don’t think it will be as brutal as 2017, the Badgers should be able to get an ATS win in Week 3.

As for the total, I didn’t make an official pick simply because I don’t trust or like anything about the BYU offense to provide points. While the total is low at 46, you’ll still likely need 7-to-10 points from BYU, and I am not confident they will hit that mark. The total looks like it could hit either way, and with a last second loss last week I am going to stick to laying the points with the Badgers and avoiding the over/under in Week 3.