Aug 31, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers helmets sit on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 45-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Game breakdown and Best bets: Week 1 No. 18 Wisconsin vs. Illinois State

With the college football season returning, we’re excited to bring you our weekly betting article at Each week I’ll be breaking down the Badger’s matchup and reviewing my favorite bets for the game.

The No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers open the season Saturday, September 3, against the Illinois State Redbirds at Camp Randall Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 pm CST(FS1). 

With Illinois State being an FCS opponent, betting lines are next to impossible to find for the contest. And if you can find any action on this game, bless your heart, but it’s probably best to stay away.

Game Breakdown

Wisconsin football is known to play down to their competition, no matter the sport. But the Redbirds, who went 4-7 in 2021, don’t stand a chance in this game.

Expect the Badgers to do what they do best, run the damn ball, and play exceptional defense. And don’t be surprised if the defense finds paydirt against the lowly Redbirds. Especially with many new faces trying to prove the Badgers are still capable of having the number one defense in the country.

As for the offense, expect Bob Bostad’s offensive line to dominate. The size and pure physicality will be too much for the Redbirds to handle. Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi should be able to run all over this defense, which gave up an average of 137.5 rushing yards per game against FCS competition last year and a total of 351.3 yards per game in 2021. Both backs could easily crack 100 yards in this game.

As for the passing game, all you can hope for is a mistake-free and consistent day for Graham Mertz. It will be interesting to see how Mertz and the practically brand-new receiving corps mesh in week 1. Chimere Dike is the only returning receiver with a significant amount of production last season, registering 19 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown.

New offensive coordinator Bobby Engram joins the Badgers coaching staff after spending eight years with the Baltimore Ravens. One thing to monitor on the offense is the usage of tight ends in the running and passing game. The Ravens consistently used packages with 3-4 tight ends, and Mark Andrews became one of the premier receiving tight ends in the NFL under Engram.

Best Bets

With no betting lines for this week, here are a few futures to bet on if you’re feeling dangerous:

  • Wisconsin to win the Big Ten West +155
  • Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Championship +1000
  • Wisconsin to win the National Championship +8000
  • Braelon Allen to win the Heisman +6000

The only one here worth putting a sizable wager on is +155 to win the Big Ten West. Iowa(+360) and Minnesota(+425) are the only real threats to the Badgers in this division.

Check back next week for our breakdown and favorite bets as Wisconsin takes on the Washington State Cougars.

You can follow me on Twitter @FrznPizzaCooper
There you’ll find jokes, plenty of music takes, offensive line talk (especially anything Larry Allen related), Larry Bird highlights (I got a thing for Larry’s what can I say), and of course my work for

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Badgers country, let’s ride.

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