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Wisconsin at Illinois betting preview

Despite the struggles, Wisconsin comes into this game as double digit favorites. Huh?

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Badgers fell flat on their face once again and were not able to cover as slight favorites. The under was the right play all the way, but again turnovers and big plays late pushed this game over. It’s a tough beat, but not all that surprising given the Badgers’ inability to hang onto the ball.

This week, despite the aforementioned struggles, Wisconsin enters this game as double-digit road favorites over Illinois. The spread for this contest opened at 8.5 but has risen to a spread of 10 throughout the week.

The over-under for this contest opened at 42.5 points and has remained right around that area for most of the week. Let’s dive into both of these numbers after we look at some notable trends for the week.

  • Wisconsin is 15-6 ATS as a road favorite under Paul Chryst
  • Wisconsin is 18-10 ATS in road contests under Paul Chryst
  • Wisconsin is 10-10 ATS after a loss
  • Illinois is 3-1 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The under is 5-1 in Illinois contests this season

ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-10)

Look, I’ll make a pick for the sake of the column but my real advice would be for you to stay the hell away from this game. Right now Wisconsin doesn’t deserve to be favored by double digits against anyone, but if you’re wanting some action on it (like a real sicko) I still think Wisconsin is the side and I’ll tell you why, but I felt that was an important disclaimer to put out there.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The last two weeks I’ve backed Wisconsin and it’s come back to bite me. If you’ve bet against the Badgers you’ll have had a nice profit so far, and should maybe keep that train going until you lose. If you’ve bet with the Badgers, you might as well stay the course here in what is a buy-low spot.

Wisconsin has been bad, but I don’t think they’re truly as bad as they’ve looked. Yes, they’ve lost three games in rough fashion, but right now those are to three top-20 teams. Wisconsin doesn’t deserve your money, but neither does Illinois.

For me, if you’re betting a side, I think you’ve got to side with the team that has the strongest unit on the field and that is the Wisconsin defense. If you’re betting Wisconsin you’re thinking the offense will bounce back some, and the defense will continue to cause issues.

I think that will be the case, so I like Wisconsin here, but I don’t love it. I think my best advice would be to stay away or look for a place that you can put Wisconsin in a moneyline parlay rather than laying the double digits but for the sake of the column I will lay it with the Badgers.

Over/Under? Under 42.5

Honestly, I have been pretty indecisive on this total as well. On one side this seems like a total under play. You’ve got two teams that like to control clock and run the ball, with both groups currently in the top thirty in terms of time of possession. However, on the flipside, you’ve got two teams that could very easily turn the ball over and kill this under yet again.

NCAA Football: Eastern Michigan at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin has struggled to hang onto the football, which as a result has ruined the last two under bets despite them being the right side all day long. Add in the fact that Illinois could be turnover prone against a good Wisconsin defense and you could make a case for the over based on mistakes alone.

In the end, I sided with the under here because of the familiarity between the two styles of play, and the fact that we might have some weather in play here. Right now the forecast for this game calls for a 15 MPH crosswind, which greatly impacts teams ability to throw the football. Illinois will be fine with that, as they want to keep the ball on the ground. For Wisconsin, I do think they will look to throw more, but if the wind is whipping that might change the game plan some and keep it to a ground and pound attack, maybe with a guy like Braelon Allen?

Overall, there are a lot of factors in play here, but I think at the end of the day the under is still the more likely outcome in this spot.