Wisconsin 2019 Betting Guide: Major Defensive Rebound Needed

Wisconsin 2019 Betting Guide: Major Defensive Rebound Needed article feature image

Nov 17, 2018; West Lafayette, IN, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers celebrate after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers, 47-44, in triple overtime at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin 2019 Betting Odds

  • National Title: 200-1
  • To Win Big Ten: 12-1
  • To Make the Playoff: 50-1
  • Win Total: 8

Wisconsin Schedule, Projected Spreads

What to Like about Wisconsin

The losses on the Wisconsin defense were completely overlooked heading into last season. While everyone knew about the offensive line and Jonathan Taylor, the 124th rank in defensive returning production is what made the difference. The Badgers fell outside the top 15 in defensive S&P+ for the first time since 2011.

The great news for Wisconsin is an overall rank of 29th in returning production for 2019.

Zack Baun read this one, just a bit, and @BadgerFootball turned it into a TD. pic.twitter.com/h5Gk6AWG9L

— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) October 27, 2018

The entire offense will return around a new starting quarterback. It may be highly recruited freshman Graham Mertz or Pinstripe Bowl starter Jack Coan. After a long and vocal quarterback battle in the summer of 2018 against Alex Hornibrook (now at Florida State), Coan is expected to be the starter against South Florida.

#Badgers coach Paul Chryst on QB Jack Coan: “I don’t think he’s changed a ton, and I don’t think he’s going to. But I think all those around him have. I think what he did and how he finished the year spoke volumes to the guys.”

— Jason Galloway (@Jason_Galloway) July 18, 2019

What Could Cause Problems

Although the defense returns some players from 2018, the loss of T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly at linebacker will be felt. The duo accounted for 27% of the team tackles with 21.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Safety D’Cota Dixon also moves on after leading the secondary in tackles.

But the bigger issue may be the losses on the offensive line, which has paved the way for two stellar seasons by Taylor.

Cole Van Lanen was THE best run-blocker in the nation last year and will once again help anchor the Wisconsin offensive line. pic.twitter.com/eHrY5Qj4gW

— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 21, 2019

Wisconsin will lose four lineman that took home All-American or All-Big Ten Honors. The offensive line combination of Delter, Benzschawel, Edwards and Dietzen represent a loss of 180 combined career starts. Center Tyler Bladasz returns and a host of others had playing time, but this will an inexperienced crew.

Other Nugget(s)

The schedule could not setup any better for a new quarterback under center. Wisconsin starts with South Florida and Central Michigan, both have a returning production rank less than 90 heading into the season. The Bulls lose defensive end Josh Black, who accounted for 8% of South Florida’s team havoc. Central Michigan will be without 6 of 7 starters in the front seven on Sept. 7.

The schedule does get tougher, as five opponents have a bye week before playing Wisconsin. Ohio State will also get an extra rest day before hosting the Badgers. Michigan, Kent State, Iowa, Nebraska and Purdue all get a bye week before playing the Badgers. Three of those games come in the month of November, when bye weeks are needed the most.

Bets to Watch

The Action Network win total sits at 8.4 for Wisconsin, which dictates a play on Over 8. The non-conference slate setup up nicely with South Florida and two teams from the MAC. Conference road trips to Illinois and Minnesota are doable, and the Gophers trip will be revenge from last year’s embarrassing loss.

The beef on this schedule comes to Camp Randall in the form of Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa. Wisconsin will be favored in six of their first seven games and their final three on the schedule.

No bet can be suggested on the Big Ten West with such a discrepancy in scheduling. While Wisconsin gets Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State from the East, Minnesota will play Rutgers, Maryland and Penn State. Nebraska will draw Maryland and Indiana in cross division action.

With Wisconsin visiting Nebraska and Minnesota, the safest bet is a team total over.

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