We are officially only 59 days and some odd hours away from Wisconsin’s opening kickoff against South Florida. Being this close to the season means teams are starting to come together and odds makers are starting to release lines and season win totals for the power five teams. While some books have already released their number for the Badgers, I tend to wait until various places release to get the best number. This morning Caesar's Palace released theirs for the SEC and Big Ten.
Wisconsin’s season win total opened up at eight at Caesars. The odds opened at even money on the over, and -120 on the under. This means that odds makers see 8 as a pretty fair number for the Badgers. I often handicap my own win totals and had Wisconsin at 8.5, so I think its a safe bet (pun intended) that the Badgers will stay in that range as we get closer to the season.
In 2018 Wisconsin was pegged for 10 wins at a lot of books and fell quite short of that mark for the regular season with, what looked like, a much more favorable schedule. This year, the Badgers appear to have a tougher schedule on paper, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically discount them entirely. It simply means that Wisconsin has a few tougher spots and a few more question marks than last year.
Finding value on either side of the play is going to be pretty difficult in my opinion. When analyzing the schedule, I see four games that should be wins right off the bat in South Florida, Central Michigan, Kent State and Illinois. Assuming the Badgers take care of business against those lesser opponents, they would be halfway to their total. That means you need at least five wins against the likes of Michigan, Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Minnesota. Now I full expect Wisconsin to win a few of those games, but none of them are slam dunks like they’ve been in years past.
In my opinion, I wouldn’t bet at 8. If you can get a bet at 7.5 i’d play the over, or 8.5 and i’d play the under. I hope the Badgers get well past that number, but with a lot of close games its hard to pinpoint 8+ wins at this point.