With a stacked East, the Big Ten has one of the best divisions in college football. That’s just fine with the Wisconsin Badgers, who have owned the other half of the league and are favored to win the West again. As the East cycles through division winners, the Badgers are always at the top of the West, looking for their third division crown in four seasons. They weren’t expected to win it last season faced with a difficult schedule, but Bucky romped to 11 wins only to fall to Penn State in Big Ten Championship game. The Badgers have played in four of the six conference title games, but have come up empty in the last two.
The Alabama Crimson Tide best have sent the Wisconsin Badgers some thank you notes this offseason. If not for Paul Chryst’s kids not being able to see it all the way through, Nick Saban and company wouldn’t have gotten a fourth straight crack at the College Football Playoff and the opportunity to win the program’s 17th national championship. There’s unfinished business to take care off in Madison, and the Badgers return a team in 2018 that could just take it a step further.
Only the Ohio State Buckeyes ( +175 ) sit ahead of Wisconsin ( +300 ) on the college football betting odds to win the B1G this season. And for good reason. The Buckeyes bring with them a heck of a club in 2018, and a bulk of it was able to withstand what the Badgers brought to the gridiron in the B1G title game last season.
Still, there’s plenty to like about what Wisconsin has to offer. For starters, Jonathan Taylor is back to run roughshod upon opposing defenses after ripping off nearly 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He gets the benefit of having all five hogs up front that paved the way for his 6.6 yard per carry average back to open holes once again. That’s music to the ears of those looking to back him on the Heisman Trophy futures odds where he currently checks in with a +735 return on investment.
If ever there was a season the standout award would go to a running back, this could be it. Wisconsin’s offense is going to be a punishing group once again in 2018, but the unit’s overall ability to make it count will ultimately hinge upon Alex Hornibrook taking a giant leap forward now in his third year running the offense. He’s got some receiving playmakers to get the pigskin to. If he does, and the Badgers can rectify their turnover issues from a season ago, Wiscy’s offense will be one of the more potent in the country.
However, things shake out much differently on the other side of the ball. The linebacker core is in good shape with leading tackler Ryan Connelly manning the middle and T.J. Edwards and Andrew Van Ginkel wreaking havoc on the outside. Unfortunately, the Badgers need to replace three of four in the secondary, and the front wall is a bit unproven.
Still, Jim Leonhard has proven year in and year out that he’s Madison’s defensive guru. His unit ranked top three in a number of pertinent defensive categories last season, and only ranked behind Bama in overall defense. It might take some time, but Wisconsin will no doubt field one of the better stop units in the country once again.
Wisconsin boasts a season win total of 10 with heavier juice situated on the low side of that number. Why you ask? It’s quite simple really. After getting the benefit of taking on all the big boys at home this season, the Badgers actually have a tough road ahead in the 2018 CFB betting season. It can be argued that all five of their B1G road games can be lost with matchups set to go in Kinnick Stadium, The Big House, Ryan Field, Happy Valley and Ross Ade. The Big Ten as a whole is much improved this season, but the Badgers are the -230 chalk to win the Big Ten West for a reason.
Expecting more than 10 wins could be a bit much. Those road tilts at Michigan and Penn State will likely find Wiscy dogged, and if they drop both, at best you’re looking at a 10 win campaign for the Badgers. There’s just not enough value there for me to throw my hat into the ring. That said, this is a bona fide B1G title contender, and if everything falls right, it might be a scary CFP contender as well. I wouldn’t flinch in the least if you told me you have shares of Wiscy at 26-1 in your portfolio.
Week 1: W Kentucky at Wisconsin, Friday, August 31, 9 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 2: New Mexico atWisconsin, Saturday, September 8, 12 p.m. ET – Big Ten Network
Week 3: BYU atWisconsin, Saturday, September 15, 3:30 p.m. ET
Week 4: Wisconsin at Iowa, Saturday, September 22
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: Nebraska at Wisconsin, Saturday, October 6
Week 7: Wisconsin at Michigan, Saturday, October 13
Week 8: Illinois at Wisconsin, Saturday, October 20, 12 p.m. ET
Week 9: Wisconsin at Northwestern, Saturday, October 27
Week 10: Rutgers at Wisconsin, Saturday, November 3
Week 11: Wisconsin at Penn State, Saturday, November 10
Week 12: Wisconsin at Purdue, Saturday, November 17
Week 13: Minnesota atWisconsin, Saturday, November 24
The College football season is here, and that means there are plenty of stats and information out there to make accurate decisions when investing in the betting lines and totals moving forward.
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Here are the individual conference break downs for each conference. If you click on the conference links we will also break down each school team by team sorted by conference.
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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