The Wisconsin Badgers will welcome Eastern Michigan to town in a non-conference game. Wisconsin continues to fool the Big Ten with a brutal offensive performance in their first game against Penn State. The Badgers scored just 10 points after gaining 359 yards of offense.
For Wisconsin’s sake, they’ll hope to get back on track against Eastern Michigan, where the talent gap is much larger in comparison to Penn State. The Badgers need to execute better on the offensive end.
On the other hand, Eastern Michigan won their first battle with a 35-15 win over St. Francis PA. We won’t make much of that win, but Eastern Michigan did what they had to do and are now 1-0 on the season. That’s a confidence builder, if nothing else.
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
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- Opening Lines: Wisconsin -32; O/U 60
- Current ATS Line: Wisconsin -26
- Current Over/Under: 51.5
- Location: Camp Randall Stadium
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021
- Start Time: 7.00 p.m. EST
- Television: FS1
- Last Meeting: Wisconsin defeated Eastern Michigan in 1996 in their last meeting, 24-3.
Wisconsin lost their home opener to Penn State, 16-10. The defense kept the Badgers in the game, but the offense didn’t. Going into the season, the thought was that Graham Mertz would transform into a premier quarterback and take Wisconsin to the promised land.
Instead, he went 22-for-37 with 185 yards passing and two interceptions. One of the interceptions was crucial as it was basically the deciding play in the red zone. His QBR after the game was over was at 18.5.
But we can also look on the bright side. Wisconsin still outplayed Penn State, and if one or two throws went their way, Wisconsin would’ve won. The offense gained over 50 more yards than Penn State and 18 more first downs. The Badgers also rushed for 174 yards and dominated time of possession. Those are at least things the Badgers can grow on.
Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan’s 35-15 was not surprising. However, they did what they had to do to win. The quarterbacks dropped back just 22 times all game and completed 15 passes between Ben Bryant and Preston Hutchinson. Darius Boone Jr. led the running game as he raced for 107 yards on 22 attempts, including a touchdown.
- Badgers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight-up loss.
- Badgers are 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Over is 8-1 in Eagles last 9 road games.
*Line movement analysis based on the DonBest Las Vegas betting market ticker*
We’ve seen some wicked line movement in this one. Wisconsin has dropped a full touchdown from -32 favorites to -26 favorites. The total also shifted nearly 10 points in favor of the under. Many sharps weren’t happy with the Badgers performance last week.
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Wisconsin was a mess against Penn State. The entire passing game was terrible, from Mertz to the pass protection. I already mentioned this, but I need to mention this again. Mertz finished with a QBR of 18.5 with 15 incompletions on the afternoon, including two interceptions. He also had nine carries for -26 yards in the scoresheet. He’s not on the hot seat just yet, but he’s going to have to improve and get back to his old 2020 self soon.
The Badgers held Penn State to just 16 points, but the coverage allowed some huge plays, including a 49-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the difference-maker. Wisconsin needs to improve in a lot of areas. That’s one reason why the line movement has shifted in favor of Eastern Michigan.
However, with Eastern Michigan, we have no idea what to expect. This will be their first game against a Power 5 opponent. So while they looked good against St. Francis PA, it’s not saying much. The run game was potential except for the run block being abysmal, even against St. Francis PA.
The best portion of their game last week was the rushing defense. They held St. Francis to just 105 yards on the ground on 34 attempts. If Eastern Michigan is going to have a chance to pull off an upset, they’ll have to stop Wisconsin on the ground. I will find it hard to believe if the Badgers have much confidence in Mertz moving forward. Wisconsin is going to run a lot. It’s up to Eastern Michigan to get some stops.
Right now, there’s no way I’m backing this Wisconsin offense. I also don’t trust Eastern Michigan all that much against Wisconsin offensively. Therefore, I’ll ride the under at 51.5. It would’ve been nice to get that 60 number, but 51.5 should be more than fine.
Pick: Under 51.5 (-105 at DraftKings)
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Jason Radowitz is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him @Jason_Radowitz.