NCAA Football 2019 Wisconsin Badgers Win Total
Line and Odds: Under 8.5 wins -102, Over 8.5 wins -114
FREE NCAAF Pick Wisconsin Badgers 2019 Win Total
Expectations were sky-high for a Wisconsin Badgers team that was ranked No. 4 in the nation before the 2018 season. The squad had a bevy of returning starters and a semi-favorable schedule avoiding a date with Ohio State — resulting in talk that the Badgers had an opportunity to challenge football juggernauts Alabama and Clemson for the national championship. Those hopes came crashing down after an early-season non-conference loss to BYU started a tailspin that never quite ended — leading to an 8-5 record and thoughts of what could have been.
Fast forward to this year, and now key injuries have healed, offensive inconsistencies have been addressed and expectations have tapered. Wisconsin has the talent each and every year to compete at the highest level of college football — the team just has to get out of its own way. Fifth-year head coach Paul Chryst has an ultra-successful track record with the Badgers, tallying a 42-12 record, but we’ve never seen his teams respond after an underachieving season.
A brutal Big Ten is waiting for them, and with a projected win total of 8.5, there isn’t much faith coming out of sportsbooks either. With the odds stacked against them, can Wisconsin bounce back to their elite ways or will they continue to succumb to the self-destructing tendencies that plagued them a year ago?
Under 8.5 wins (-102)
The uncertainty around the quarterback position at Wisconsin is concerning, especially considering the lackluster performances former signal-caller Alex Hornibrook put up during his tenure. The Badgers had a tough time moving the chains with the 118th ranked passing offense in the FBS, and Chryst and the gang don’t seem to know how to create a system to get consistent play from their field generals. Now Hornibrook has transferred to Florida State and in his wake are Jack Coan and newcomer Graham Mertz. It’s going to take some time for these new quarterbacks to adjust to the ferocious secondaries and blitz packages the Big Ten will throw at them but Wisconsin desperately needs one of them to step up to get the squad over the hump.
Having a big-time program with decorated five-star recruits can have its pros and cons. While they provide boosted playmaking on the field — the players can also turn into revolving doors to the NFL and the Badgers have an abundance of question marks all across their stout defense coming into this season. Ryan Connelly and Andrew Van Ginkel, two anchors in their linebacking core, have been drafted to the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, respectively. Wisconsin will crave a leadership presence from a couple inexperienced defensive captains to carry the Badgers to its usual greatness. New names with limited starts on both sides of the ball threaten another slow start as these players attempt to get acclimated to the physicality at the Big Ten level.
Over 8.5 wins (-114)
Who needs a quarterback when you have a Heisman hopeful at the tailback position? Junior Jonathan Taylor burst onto the scene last season with a masterful performance to the tune of 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns on his way to the Doak Walker award, given to the nation’s top running back. He has the power to crush a front-seven in-between the tackles and the speed to blow by defensive backs once he reaches the next level. Wisconsin can only go as far as Taylor can take them, and that ceiling is exponentially high. The Badgers are expected to be their typical smash-mouth self, riding their superstar and giants up front to wear down opposing defenses before delivering the haymaker punch in the fourth quarter. That has been the Chryst recipe for years, to loads of success and I don’t expect it to switch up anytime soon.
Other than a gladiator showdown with Ohio State at the Horseshoe in late October, Wisconsin has a surprisingly manageable schedule that could vault the Badgers to a Big Ten Championship run. Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Northwestern all are being played from the comfort of their own home and every crucial showdown appears to be spread out pretty evenly over the course of the entire season. Bringing these elite programs into Camp Randall stadium instead of traveling to those hostile environments is instrumental for Wisconsin to have the bounce-back season they covet.
FREE NCAAF Prediction Wisconsin Badgers Win Total
Since 2010, Wisconsin has only had two seasons totaling less than nine wins. Chryst is a master at rallying the troops, recuperating lost assets quickly and barring injuries, getting the most out of his team when facing adversity. With the most talented running back in the nation and a soft schedule for Big Ten standards, the cards are laid out on the table for the Badgers to return to greatness. It speaks volumes when their “down year” was still eight wins, and I feel as if the sky is the limit if they reduce their mistakes.
PICK: Over (-114)