Last week was a good week for the betting column as the Badgers covered with relative ease and thanks to a Julius Davis fumble the over cashed late in the contest with Northwestern getting on the board. Wisconsin has now covered four straight contests and will look to make it five in a row against the Nebraska Cornhuskers this week.
The line for this week opened with Wisconsin as a favorite anywhere between 8 to 9 points depending on the sportsbook. As of writing this number currently sits with Wisconsin as an 8 point favorite at Draftkings Sportsbook, the official odds provider of Bucky’s 5th Quarter. As for the total, the number opened at 42 but has bounced around and currently sits at 41.5. We’ll dive into both of these numbers, but first, some notable trends.
- Wisconsin has covered four straight contests
- Nebraska has not covered in three of their last four contests
- Wisconsin is 19-23-1 ATS as a home favorite under Paul Chryst
- Wisconsin is 8-5-1 ATS with rest disadvantage under Paul Chryst (Nebraska off a bye)
- Nebraska is 8-4 ATS as a road underdog under Scott Frost
- Nebraska is 14-10 ATS after a loss
ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-8)
To me, this feels like a game where people are overthinking it. Wisconsin is on a roll, they’ve covered four straight and are bludgeoning teams week after week. Nebraska has had a ton of negative attention and limps in at 3-7. Should be an easy cover. Almost too easy for some, but not for me. I am laying the points as I think the bludgeoning continues for the Badgers.
One of the main reasons I believe that the Badgers continue this covering streak is the consistency factor at play here. Week in and week out this Badger defense has been incredible, and I don’t expect that to change much here. Additionally, the offense has found a game plan that has worked with Braelon Allen’s emergence and a passing game that is starting to find its groove.
On the other side, Nebraska has had absolutely no consistency whatsoever and will come into this game working through some serious changes to their staff. Heading into the bye week Nebraska opted to retain head coach Scott Frost, but after a 3-7 start someone's head had to roll.
In turn, Nebraska fired four offensive assistant coaches including their offensive coordinator Matt Lubick and quarterback coach Mario Verduzco. Now, I can’t imagine Nebraska will change up all that much offensively with just two games to go, but it could certainly make things messy and messy isn’t good when you’re going up against a team that is playing great, consistent football so I’ll lay anything under ten points here.
Over/Under? Over 41.5
The total for this game is a little bit tougher to decipher for me. On one hand, I think Nebraska’s offensive changes could cause some issues, but on the other hand, Adrian Martinez has put up some points against the Badgers in past meetings.
In 2018, Martinez and Company put up 24 points in a game where he was allowed to run wild, and in 2019 the Huskers put up 21. I do believe Jim Leonhard’s defense will be prepared for this test and likely step up and meet the challenge, but I think Nebraska could shake loose for more than the standard seven points that Wisconsin seems to allow.
On the other side, Nebraska’s defense has been pretty good this season, especially against the run. They’ve held backs like Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III in check, so they should be able to test this clicking Badgers offense some. With two strong defenses and two offenses that have had struggles at points throughout the season, it’s plausible to think under here.
However, one last thing you have to consider once again is special teams and turnovers. Wisconsin has cleaned that up over the win streak, but they still rank No. 88 in turnover margin. Nebraska ranks No. 89, and they’ve put the ball on the turf a lot this season. Wisconsin has been on a warpath forcing turnovers of late, so I think there could be some short fields in play.
Additionally, Nebraska ranks No. 128 in FEI, which measures all special teams into one number, so the Badgers could make some plays there or prey on a blunder from the Huskers. With that in play, it’s hard to side with such a low total.