Last week, the Badgers lost a heartbreaker on the road to the Michigan State Spartans to sink them to 3-4 and kill what little hope they had at a Big Ten West title. As a result, the Badgers of course did not cover the spread but the over did get there given the multiple overtime touchdowns. Very much an up-and-down result, kinda like the entire Badger season.
This week, Wisconsin takes on the Purdue Boilermakers who they have dominated for the last decade and a half. Wisconsin comes in winners of 15 straight over Purdue dating back to 2004. Despite the losing record, Wisconsin currently sits as a 2.5-point favorite over the Boilermakers and the total for this game sits at 52. Let’s dive into both numbers.
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
ATS Pick: Purdue (+2.5)
This line makes little sense to me. Yes, Wisconsin has won 15 straight over Purdue but those past teams have nothing to do with these current teams. I make Purdue a 2-point favorite in my own numbers, so the value lies with Purdue here. I am not sure it will get to Purdue +3, but I’d wait to see if it might.
In years past, Wisconsin has had a tremendous amount of success on the ground against Purdue but I am not sure if that will be the case this year. Currently, the Boilermakers sit 13th in the nation in terms of defensive rushing success rate. They’ve been very solid against the run and Wisconsin has struggled when facing a good run defense this season. For comparison, Illinois ranks 2nd in the nation in that category while Ohio State ranks 6th. We saw what happened in those games. Purdue being just a few spots lower than that makes me feel like Wisconsin could have some issues leaning on the run game and when that happens all bets are off in terms of what you might see.
Over/Under? Under 52
If Wisconsin’s run game is struggling one would think you’d take to the air more, but I could also see the Badgers just trying to keep running into the same wall and see if it’ll eventually work. Either way, I think the Badgers are going to have some trouble offensively as Purdue is solid against the run and the pass defense numbers look good too. Additionally, they rank top 25 in Havoc Rating so they could really get some pressure on Mertz when he does drop to throw and stall out drives.
On the other side, Purdue is known for their pass-happy attack. Given Wisconsin’s struggles against the pass this season I think we all know the Boilermakers are going to look to throw it around on this secondary. However, the weather here concerns me a bit as currently, the forecast is calling for a 15 MPH crosswind at Camp Randall on Saturday. If that is the case, it makes it a lot harder to throw the football and might make Purdue use their run game a bit more. I don’t think the wind will completely hinder points being scored, but I do think it could make this game a little uglier so I think 52 points might be a tad bit too high. I make it closer to 49.