Last week the Badgers came out and dismantled the Michigan Wolverines, covering the spread with ease. All in all, that’s probably one of the easier bets you’ll have all year. Unfortunately for myself the dominating performance pushed the total over, but I was worried that might happen if Mertz was able to play. Either way that puts the column 1-1 last week, and 1-3 on the season overall.
This week the Badgers head to Evanston to take on an undefeated Northwestern team in a crucial Big Ten West matchup. Wisconsin currently sits as a 7.5 point favorite, and the total for this game sits at 44. We’ll dive into both of these numbers but first here are some notable trends.
- Wisconsin is 15-5 ATS as a road favorite under Paul Chryst
- Wisconsin is 18-8 ATS as a road team under Paul Chryst
- Wisconsin is 1-5 ATS in its last six contests against Northwestern
- Northwestern is 55-40-1 ATS as an underdog in the Pat Fitzgerald era
- Northwestern is 8-1 ATS against Wisconsin over the last nine contests at Ryan Field
- The total has gone under in six of the last seven matchups between Northwestern and Wisconsin
ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-7.5)
When you have two coaches that have been at their respective schools for quite some time you start to get some very noticeable trends. Some trends will clash this week as Paul Chryst’s ATS record as a road favorite will meet up with Pat Fitzgerald’s impressive home dog mark.
Both coaches are great in these spots, so maybe that constitutes a wash. Northwestern has been great in recent years against Wisconsin, especially at home, but many of those contest we’re outside of the Paul Chryst era so it’s hard to read into them too much. Given that, I think you need to look outside the trends in this matchup.
Overall, I think this line is spot on at the current moment. I can easily see this game being a seven point affair and losing on a hook at 7.5. With that being said, I feel much more confident in Wisconsin covering late than I do Northwestern. I think this game will be similar to last year where it will be close throughout, but Wisconsin breaks it open and covers late. I trust the Badger offense more at this point in time, and if the run and pass game click at the same time I can see them widening the gap.
If you can get a “7” I think you’re safe, but for right now I’ll trust the road favorite giant in Paul Chryst to be aggressive and cover the spot here.
Over/Under? Over 44
If you’ve ever read any of my betting columns you know that I hate betting overs. I think I’ve bet three this season and all of them have been losers, the latest being that putrid Washington/Oregon State over where the two sets of bums scored like 45 of the 51 points needed in the first half and didn’t score again. Anyway, I am not a fan of overs but this total is so low it’s hard to feel comfortable with it. One busted play or a couple quick scores and you’re sweating from the get go.
Both of these teams rank in the top-20 in time of possession with Wisconsin ranking No. 1 and Northwestern No. 17. Possessions will be limited to very few, but I think the Badgers can score a little bit more than expected here. I like what Wisconsin has done so far this year, and I think the run and pass game will both be better this time out than it has in years past.
Pat Fitzgerald can prepare for a typical Wisconsin offense and quarterback, but Graham Mertz allows the Badgers offense to be a bit different than in years past with the vertical passing game. With that in play and Paul Chryst appearing to be more aggressive this time around, I think the total is a bit too low here.