Northwestern Wildcats vs. Wisconsin Badgers Football Betting Preview
Where: Camp Randall Stadium — Madison, Wisconsin
When: Saturday, September 30, 2017 – 12:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
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Betting on the Northwestern Wildcats (2-1)
Similar to what they did last year, the Wildcats are being up-and-down this season. They have alternated wins and losses over their first three games – won 11 against Nevada, lost by 24 to Duke, and then blew out Bowling Green State this past Saturday, 49-7.
With that, we of course have a whole bunch of serviceable stats from the offense – not impressive, but decent enough. Quarterback Clayton Thorson, for one, is passing for 280.6 yards per game, while completing 63.9 percent of his throws and having a 4-3 touchdown-interception ratio. He’s nowhere near being a threat to the defense, but his upside for now is that he is coming off a 23-for-30, 370-yard, two-TD performance, so you can expect that he’s entering with confidence and rhythm.
Justin Jackson, as always, will provide damage from the backfield. Do note, though, that he seems to be having a down year, since he’s only netting 82.6 rushing yards per game this season, far from his 108.6 career average. He’s on pace to have the lowest ground yardage of his collegiate tenure.
On defense, more of the middle-of-the-pack numbers are present. Penn State is 52nd in points allowed (22.7) and 88th in total yards given up (410.3), and could only average one sack per game.
Betting on the Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers stomped their way out of their first three games of the season. They won all contests with an average winning margin of 33.3 points, with all opponents scoring 14 points or less.
Alex Hornibrook’s improvement is a huge part in the dominance. The junior is 49-for-70 (70 percent) for 701 yards this season, with eight TD tosses and only one interception. This past week against BYU, he displayed a near-perfect outing, as he seemingly showed zero respect to the Cougars’ defense, completing all but one of his 19 throws and tallying four passing scores with zero picks.
The QB is also spreading the ball well to his receiving corps, thus making the group dangerous. Tight end Troy Fumagalli and receiver Quintez Cephus are two of its biggest pieces; they combine for 25 catches, 370 yards and six TD grabs.
Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, who possesses good power and speed, is playing the decoy role well from the backfield, chipping in 438 yards and five rushing scores on 8.3 yards per carry.
Defensively, the Badgers should be just as impactful. The unit only allows 157.3 passing and 90.7 rushing yards per game (both ranked inside the top 20), and opposing QBs only complete 56.3 percent of their passes.
Wisconsin is 17-3 in its last 20 games at home (9-10-1 ATS).
The Badgers (-14.5) win and cover the spread, 35-20.
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