After stumbling through non-conference play, the Purdue Boilermakers will dive into the Big Ten portion of their schedule. It starts Friday (7 p.m. ET) when they host rival Wisconsin.
Wisconsin opened as a 7.5-point favorite but is down to -5.5 (-115), including -240 on the moneyline. Purdue, meanwhile, is +5.5 (-105) against the spread and +200 to win outright. The projected total has stayed relatively steady at 54 (-110 Over, -110 Under).
Do the Boilermakers have what it takes to pull off the upset? Or will the Badgers assert their dominance on the road? Read on as we break down the Wisconsin vs Purdue betting odds in our game preview.
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium; West Lafayette, Ind.
The Wisconsin Badgers are 2-5 against the spread over their last seven games. But in their last 16 games against Purdue, they’re 13-3 ATS. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers are just 1-4 ATS over their last five contests. They’ve also failed to cover in their last nine games against Wisconsin at home. The total has gone Over in five of the teams’ last six NCAAF matchups. That’s important to remember when assessing the Wisconsin vs Purdue betting odds.
Growing Pains for Boilermakers
After falling at home to Syracuse, now comes an opportunity for the Purdue Boilermakers to bounce back. It’s the second of three straight games at Ross-Ade Stadium, not to mention the opener to Big Ten play. Purdue is 1-2 (matching its record ATS) under new head coach Ryan Walters, having shown obvious flaws on both sides of the ball.
Saturday against Syracuse, Texas transfer Hudson Card completed 32 of 46 passes for 323 yards and a touchdown. But he also was intercepted once and fumbled four times, losing three of them. His propensity for turnovers could be a problem against a Wisconsin defense that’s registered 10 sacks in three games.
Expectations remain a tad low for Purdue. Remember, the Boilermakers were projected for only 5.0 wins. Much of that boils down to a brutal Big Ten NCAAF schedule, which includes a four-game stretch against No. 24 Iowa, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan, with a trip to Nebraska sandwiched in between. After struggling in non-conference play, is there even a remote chance the Boilermakers can hit that total?
Arguably the most troublesome aspect of Purdue’s start has been its defense. Remember, Walters, 37, is a defensive guru. His defense at Illinois finished the 2022 season first nationally in fewest points allowed and second in fewest yards allowed. In doing so, Walters was a finalist for the prestigious Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant. But through three games this season, Purdue is allowing an average of 30.3 points per college football scores. Odds are, Walters will straighten things out. But it’ll take time. Keep that in mind when evaluating the Wisconsin vs Purdue betting odds.
Badgers in Good Hands with Fickell
After falling out of the AP Top 25 poll with their loss to Washington State, the Wisconsin Badgers (2-1 straight up, 2-1 ATS) rebounded to beat Georgia Southern 35-14 on Saturday. The Badgers narrowly covered the 20.5-point spread, using a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Chez Mellusi to cap the scoring.
SMU transfer Tanner Mordecai has played fairly well for the Badgers, with a 67.3 completion percentage and 702 yards passing through three games. But the Badgers will need much more than him in order to cash in on projections. The Badgers were penciled in for 8.5 wins, with many forecasting them to win the Big Ten West in Luke Fickell’s first season at the helm. Fortunately, they have a strong run game (averaging 5.7 yards per carry).
Wisconsin’s defense has looked the part, too. The Badgers forced six turnovers — including five interceptions — against Georgia Southern. They also recorded six sacks. Granted, Georgia Southern was a nearly three-touchdown underdog. It’s no secret the Badgers will see superior competition in the coming weeks. But their performance can’t be dismissed. Fickell was one of the hottest names on the offseason coaching carousel, and his impact is already showing.
Handicapping the Game
Purdue’s future under Walters is bright. But it’s hard to overlook just how far the Boilermakers need to go to compete again near the top of the Big Ten. Syracuse gashed them for 35 points and 455 total yards.
Now the Boilermakers’ makeshift defense gets an even bigger test against Wisconsin, led by an experienced quarterback in Mordecai. Purdue is fortunate it’s at home — on a short week, no less — but that still shouldn’t make too big a difference. Do not overthink this one. Side with the better team to cover 5.5 points.
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