A Big Ten Conference game between two teams fighting for position in the West Division will unfold on Saturday. Both visiting Wisconsin and Purdue are coming off hard-fought wins achieved mainly by their defenses. They will try to keep the momentum going as October winds down. Let’s take a look at the matchup here for those who betonline.
|Game: Wisconsin (3-3) at Purdue (4-2)
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Television: Big Ten Network
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
The last meeting between these two teams was two years ago, in 2019. Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl that season. Quarterback Jack Coan, now at Notre Dame, led the Badgers to a 45-24 win over Purdue.
Next game: vs Iowa
The Badgers were once again stymied on offense, but their defense made a huge and timely play in a 20-14 win at home versus Army and its triple-option offense. With nearly four minutes left to play, Army trailed 13-7 and was backed up near its own goal line. Linebacker Leo Chenal busted into the backfield, created a sack and forced a fumble that the Badgers recovered inside the Army 5-yard line. Wisconsin scored for a 20-7 lead. Army did score on its next possession, but Wisconsin recovered the onside kick and held on for a six-point win.
The Badgers still haven’t fixed their problems on offense, but their defense can certainly win games for them. It did against Army and will be expected to do the same against Purdue.
The Badgers are 2-4 against the NCAA odds and 2-4 in over-unders,
The Badgers have been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks. Tight end Jack Eschenbach, inside linebacker Jordan Turner, and outside linebacker Aaron Witt are out for this game. Running back Isaac Guerendo has been ruled out for the season. The Badgers have two more offensive linemen and linebackers listed as questionable.
Next game: at Nebraska
The Boilermakers pulled one of the biggest upsets of Week 7, going into Iowa City and knocking off then-No. 2 Iowa. It wasn’t even close as the Boilermakers won 24-7 in a complete team performance.
Purdue would have won by a bigger margin had a receiver not tried to stretch the ball to the pylon, but it happily settled for a 17-point win and a big boost in its pursuit of bowl eligibility.
Purdue receiver David Bell is bound for the NFL. He is a star, much like Rondale Moore is becoming with the Arizona Cardinals right now. Bell collected 240 receiving yards vs Iowa in a masterful performance.
Purdue rotated quarterbacks in and out of the game, but Bell just kept making big plays against the Iowa defense. Wisconsin will try to figure out how to stop him.
The Boilermakers are 3-3 against the spread and 0-6 in over-unders.
Purdue suffered a number of injuries the previous few weeks, but it came out of the Iowa game with only one potential problem: Running back Ja’Quez Cross is questionable for the Wisconsin game due to personal reasons.
Betting on the Game
This is a very difficult game to bet on. Wisconsin has the stature and pedigree but hasn’t been playing well. Purdue played a magnificent game against Iowa, but the Boilermakers are notoriously inconsistent and volatile.
Purdue scored just 13 points at home against Illinois and Minnesota before awakening and playing a high-level game against Iowa. It’s really hard to understand most elements of these two teams. Knowing when they will play well or poorly are two consistent and profound challenges bettors have had when sizing up Wisconsin and Purdue this year.
Wisconsin giving three points makes Purdue a slightly better point-spread option, but it’s probably not enough points to make a defining difference in this game. Wisconsin played an ugly and close defense-first game against Army but still won by six points. Maybe if the line goes up to Wisconsin -4, you could bet on Purdue since the Boilermakers could lose by a field goal and still cover. Wisconsin -3 feels like a stay-away line.
The best play to make on this game is the over-under. Purdue has scored just 13 points in each of its last two home games. Wisconsin scored just 20 points against Army. The total of the Wisconsin-Army game was 34 points while total in the Purdue-Iowa game was 31 points. Betting the under, even a number as low as 40, seems like a solid play.
If these offenses come alive in this game, it will rate as a genuine surprise. Wisconsin gave up 41 points to Notre Dame, but remember that the Badgers threw multiple pick-sixes in that game and also allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown. Their defense doesn’t give much away, and neither does Purdue’s. The fact that the offenses are bad is one thing; the fact that the defenses are solid makes it easier to take the under for your college football picks.