Wisconsin and Purdue open their Big Ten schedule on Friday night. It is time to continue our College Football odds series with a Wisconsin-Purdue prediction, pick, and how to watch.
Wisconsin enters the game at 2-1. They took a 38-17 win over Buffalo to start the season, and after being up just four at halftime, the Badgers took over in the second half. The next week was not pretty though, as Wisconsin fell to Washington State. They were down 24-9 at the half, having their second straight slow start. Wisconsin made it a two-point game after a failed two-point conversion in the third quarter, but Washington State would score in the fourth for the win. The Badgers started slow again in week three, this time against Georgia Southern, sitting tied going into half time, before winning 35-14.
Purdue enters the game at 1-2 on the year. There was the opening loss to Fresno State, in which Fresno State scored a touchdown with 59 seconds left to win the game. After that, they squeaked out a seven-point win on a fourth-quarter touchdown over Virginia Tech to get their first win of the year. In week three they never held the lead in the game. Syracuse dominated from start to finish and would win 35-20.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Wisconsin-Purdue Odds
Wisconsin: -5.5 (-110)
Purdue: +5.5 (-110)
Over: 53.5 (-115)
Under: 53.5 (-105)
How to Watch Wisconsin vs. Purdue
Stream: Fox Sports App
Time: 7:00 PM ET/ 4:00 PM PT
*Watch college football LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Wisconsin Will Cover The Spread
A win for Wisconsin is going to start with their tandem of running backs. Braelon Allen has played well this year. On 36 carries he has 255 yards and four scored. He is getting solid blocking as well, with 152 yards after first contact, and an average point of first contact nearly three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Allen has also forced 14 missed tackles while having five runs over 15 yards and another one over 10 yards. Chez Mellusi joins him in the backfield. He had 40 carries for 268 yards and four scores this year. Mellusi is getting the game-quality blocking and has shown some quality speed at times. He has just caused four missed tackles this year, but there is no need to cause a missed tackle when he is out-running everyone on the field.
Wisconsin will also be looking for a good game from Tanner Mordecai. Mordecai is 69-101 on the year passing for 698 yards. Still, he has not been accurate at times this year. He has made six big-time throws according to PFF, but he also has two interceptions and has thrown four other turnover-worthy passes. He needs some help from his offensive line and receivers though. This year he has been pressured 29 times on 117 dropbacks. That has led to five sacks and 11 scrambles for positive yardage. Further, his receivers have dropped five balls this year.
On the defensive side of things, they are going to be looking to build on some good things they had in the Washington State game. In that game, they had 23 quarterback pressures, while getting five sacks. James Thompson Jr. had two sacks in that game, and one the year had eight pressures and three sacks. They will also look to keep up what they did against the run against Washington State. They had 11 stops for offensive failure against the run and an over 50 percent defensive success rate against the run. The Badgers also only missed four tackles against Washington State
Why Purdue Will Cover The Spread
For Purdue, it will start with Hudon Card playing well if they are going to cover. He has improved in all three games this year passing. This year he is 72-111 for 822 yards and three touchdowns. He has made four big-time throws according to PFF, but he has to protect the ball. In the game with Syracuse, he had an interception and four fumbles, losing three of them. He also threw four more turnover-worthy passes. Part of that can be fixed with better protection. Card has been pressured on 45 of his 126 dropbacks this year, leading to six sacks.
Purdue also needs a better running game. In the game with Syracuse, they struggled to run the ball. They had just 106 yards on 25 attempts, with 11 of the total yards coming from Hudson Card scrambling. Devin Mockobee had just 33 yards on 12 carries, with an average point of first contact behind the line of scrimmage. He also fumbled three times but did not lose any other them. Tyrone Tracey ran 10 times for 38 yards but also struggled with point of first contact, which was at the line of scrimmage. He did score in the game though.
There was some positive from the defense in the game with Syracuse. Purdue has 31 quarterback pressures in the game, leading to four sacks. Nic Scourton led the way with eight pressures and a sack, while Kydran Jenkins had another six pressures and a sack. There were some major issues though. Purdue missed 25 tackles in the game. Even more concerning was the fact that 13 of those games were in run defense, while they allowed Syracuse to have a 50 percent success rate on the ground. They also forced just one turnover in the game, which is something they will need to do more of if they are going to beat Wisconsin.
Final Wisconsin-Purdue Prediction & Pick
Purdue has been okay in the running game this year, but they have had trouble tackling. That is something that cannot happen in this game. Braelon Allen currently ranks 28th in missed tackles caused in all of FBS. Further, he averages 4.22 yards after first contact. Wisconsin is blocking well for him, and if Purdue does not wrap up, they will be in for a long day. Then, Purdue also has turnover concerns. Wisconsin has created six turnovers this year, good for 25th nationally. Purdue turned over the ball four times against Syracuse. Wisconsin has started slow in each of their first three games. That is going to change in this one. Take Wisconsin and lay the points.
Final Wisconsin-Purdue Prediction & Pick: Wisconsin -5.5 (-110)