Wisconsin Badgers Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Last year the Wisconsin Badgers ran the table in the regular season without getting a lot of credit for it. They played only two ranked teams, and they were both at home. A team short of big-name stars against a weak schedule and well outside of a major media market is not going to get pulses racing. Their chance at changing the narrative came against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, and they fell just short. Now they are back, they are again strong, but they face a somewhat tougher schedule. They still will likely play only two ranked teams, but the teams are better than the ones from last year, and both are road games for Wisconsin. If Wisconsin pulls off the same feat this year that they did last year then people will surely take notice. But that's a big if.
2017 in a Nutshell
The Badgers took care of business last year, being given a soft schedule and avoiding any frustrating missteps. Their nonconference season - Utah State, Florida Atlantic, at BYU - was a complete joke. To their credit, they dominated the three teams like they should have. They went through a tour of the cellar of the Big Ten, avoiding only Rutgers - Northwestern, at Nebraska, Purdue, Maryland, at Illinois, at Indiana. They were 9-0, but so would have been at least a dozen elite teams against that joke of a schedule, so they had yet to prove a thing despite nine wins. Things got a little tougher, but they beat an Iowa team badly that was ranked just barely in the Top 25 and then beat a Michigan team that made a habit of losing to every good team they played last year. The Badgers capped the undefeated season in style, winning 31-0 at Minnesota. But in the Championship Game Ohio State opened a 21-7 lead and then held off a charging Wisconsin squad to beat the Badgers for the second year in a row in the game. Wisconsin missed out on a playoff berth but rebounded nicely to come back from an early deficit and beat up Miami in the Orange Bowl.
Key Additions and Departures
The team lost five players to the NFL Draft, but the highest was picked 110th, so the losses weren't insurmountable. The core of this team returns - QB Alex Hornibrook is a junior, freakish running back Jonathan Taylor is only a sophomore, linebacker T.J. Edwards and corner D'Cota Dixon are back as seniors, and four of the five offensive line starters return. The defensive line lost a lot to graduation, but they still have plenty of depth there. Beyond the starters, you could be concerned about depth in a few spots, but if the team stays healthy they are in good shape.
The 20-person recruiting class featured just one four-star player. That's not great for a team that was just unbeaten in the regular season, but it is what consistently happens in Wisconsin, and they always find ways to make it work.
Biggest Area of Concern
QB Alex Hornibrook can obviously win a lot of games, but he lacks in accuracy - he had 15 picks last year. He needs to be more careful this year - especially in the two big games he will play this season - if he wants to repeat his trip to the Big Ten Championship Game. Depth behind him isn't ideal, so there isn't a great safety net for the team here.
Wisconsin Badgers Schedule Analysis
If Wisconsin is Wisconsin then the season should come down to two games. Their games against Western Kentucky, New Mexico, BYU, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Northwestern, Rutgers, Purdue and Minnesota are all very winnable, with only Iowa and maybe Northwestern being any real concern at all. But the other two are a different story entirely. In Week 6 Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor to play a Michigan team that has a ridiculous defense and, they hope, the best QB they have had in a long time. That will be tough. And a month later they travel to Happy Valley to play Penn State. One win between those two games should assure them another division win - and they may not even need that. But if they want to be relevant nationally they will have to really prove themselves against those two top opponents.
2018-19 Wisconsin Badgers Betting Odds and Trends
The season win total sits at the obvious spot - 10 games. The "under" is a mild favorite right now. They are +2500 to win the national title, which puts them in a group behind seven other teams, including their two big opponents. They are the second choice to win the Big Ten at +300, behind only Ohio State at +150. Their relative advantage compared to Michigan or Penn State there is owing to the far easier path to the championship game. Taylor is the third choice to win the Heisman at +850, just narrowly behind Bryce Love and Tua Tagovailoa both at +800.
2018-19 Wisconsin Badgers Predictions and College Football Picks
I think this team is good but not good enough. I expect 10 wins, but I don't see more than that. Their two tough road games are just too much. That should be enough to win the division again, but that will mean another championship game loss. This team is strong but not as strong as they look because of their weak scheduling.
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