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Wisconsin football: Central Michigan betting preview

Can the Badgers cover as huge home favorites?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at South Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Betting Preview had a solid start at 1-1, which was much better than my independent betting column that suffered a dreaded 0-5. It was my worst week in years, so hopefully you read this and not that a week ago!

The Badgers covered the 14 point spread early in the second quarter and never looked back, running over the Bulls (pun intended) 49-0. The over/under was a tough loss, as the Badgers racked up 49 points but cared more about the shutout than our bets. Rude IMO.

This week the Badgers return to Camp Randall Stadium for their home opener to take on the undefeated Central Michigan Chippewas. You may laugh, but it’s true. Despite the dueling unblemished records the Badgers opened as a 33 point favorite at some books, but quickly crept up to the 34.5-35 point mark.

The over/under opened at 50 but quickly got up to the 52 range. There’s a lot of ways we can look at this game, but first lets look at some notable trends for Week 2.

  • Wisconsin is 3-1 ATS in their home openers under Paul Chryst
  • Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS when favored by 30+ points in the Paul Chryst era
  • Wisconsin is 11-15-1 ATS in the Paul Chryst Era
  • Central Michigan was 0-6 SU last season on the road, but 4-2 ATS
  • The total has gone under in five of Central Michigan’s last seven games
  • The total has gone under in six of Wisconsin’s last nine games

ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-35)

There aren’t a lot of notable trends to divulge in this game because I tend to not look at team’s ATS history when they have a first year coach. With Jim McElwain in his first year at Central Michigan, it doesn’t make sense to look at too much other than 2018. It’s a different culture, scheme, etc.

For Wisconsin there is one notable trend and that’s Paul Chryst’s history in covering big spreads. In his time at UW, he’s covered a spread of over 30 points just once. There can be a multitude of reasons for that, but its definitely something to take notice of. I generally don’t take the Badgers when having to cover more than 30, but this week I am going to do it.

Why break my own rule?

Well, because I just don’t have a lot of expectations for Central Michigan in 2019. They were 1-11 in 2018, and I think its going to be a big rebuild year for the Chippewas this season. Last year they struggled mightily against the run, ranking 104th in rush defense. Sometimes you can compound that with a good offense, but the Chippewas actually had the second worst offense in the nation just ahead of Rutgers in 2019. They only return four starters to that offense, so maybe its a good thing, but to me I think Wisconsin is going to be way too much for Central Michigan to handle.

Over/Under: Over 52

71% of the money is coming in on the over, compared to just 52% of the bets. I’ll translate. The big money sharp bettors like the over, while the public recreational bettors like the under. A 16% difference like that is a good indicator of where the sharp money is lying vs where the public is lying.

On paper the recreational bettor will see Wisconsin had a shutout last week and run for the under, but the professional’s see a chance to take advantage of a lesser number. I fully expect the Badgers to put up 40+ points, which means you’ll need at least 12 from Central Michigan. I know the Bulls didn’t pull their weight last week in points, but Central Michigan should be able to get on the board at some point and in garbage time.

If the Chips can give you ten points, this should eclipse the 52 point mark. If not, Wisconsin could probably make up the difference. I like the spread, so it’s risky to play the under when laying 35 of the 52 points already.