Sep 17, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Nick Herbig (19) reacts following a sack during the second quarter against the New Mexico State Aggies at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Game Breakdown and Best Bets: Week 6 Wisconsin Badgers vs. Northwestern Wildcats

Game Breakdown and Best Bets: Week 5 Wisconsin Badgers vs. Illinois


Game Breakdown and Best Bets: Week 5 Wisconsin vs. Illinois

Well, the impossible happened last week. I finally hit one of my best bets. In all fairness, I was only 1-4 on the week, but the one win is all that matters.

I was about 20 seconds away from going 3-2 last week. Illinois was set up to kick a field goal in the final seconds of the 3rd quarter but let the clock run out to the 4th quarter. They made the field goal to start the 4th quarter, which simultaneously made the under 43.5, and yes, there were scoreless quarter losers. But hey, such is life.

This week the Wisconsin Badgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) will head on the road to take on the Northwestern Wildcats (1-4, 1-1 Big Ten). Kickoff is at 2:30 pm (CST) on Big Ten Network.

To find all of our content for this week’s game, visit badgernotes.com.


Game Breakdown

Northwestern Wildcats

The 2022 Northwestern Wildcats stink.

Their only win this season has come against Nebraska, who is also trash and always will be (my hatred for Nebraska as a state and football program will never die. Cornhuskers, sweet nickname nerds).

The Wildcats love to throw the football. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski has attempted at least 37 passes in all five games this season. The results have been mixed, to say the least.

Hilinski has posted huge yardage numbers, totaling 1,429 passing yards this season, but that’s the only positive. Hilinski has thrown four interceptions, compared to only six touchdowns, and on top of it, he is completing only 59% of his passes.

The top two targets for Hilinski are wide receiver Malik Washington and running back Evan Hull.

Washington has posted 31 receptions, 347 yards, and one touchdown this season and could be a problem for a struggling Badgers secondary.

Hull, an all-purpose running back, has totaled 758 yards from scrimmage through five games. The Badgers, however, will need to be much more concerned about him in the receiving game.

Hull leads the Wildcats in receptions with 32 for 343 receiving yards and one touchdown. While only tallying 415 yards on the ground on 96 carries, for a disappointing 4.3 yards per attempt.

Compared to the Badgers stand-out running back Braelon Allen, who has 499 yards on 81 carries, for an average of 6.2 yards per attempt.

The Wisconsin Badgers have struggled to defend the pass all year and haven’t had the pass rush everyone expected before the season started. So I anticipate the Wildcats will air it out on Saturday.


Wildcats’ Defense

Northwestern’s defense has been below average this season. They’re giving up 384 yards per game, and a majority have come via rushing, allowing 173 yards per game on the ground.

Linebacker Bryce Gallagher has been the most active player for the Wildcats’ defense.

Gallagher has totaled 50 tackles on the season, with one forced fumble and one interception. He’s posted over 12 tackles in three straight games and will have to be busy again against the Badgers.

Also, keep an eye on Xander Muller, who collected 14 tackles against Penn State last week.

They will need to tighten up their run defense to keep this game close, or the Badgers could have a heyday.


Wisconsin Badgers

MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 01: Assistant coach Jim Leonhard of the Wisconsin Badgers calls out instruction to his defense in the second quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Camp Randall Stadium on October 01, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Quite frankly, I don’t have much to say about the Badgers this week that most fans don’t already know.

The last two weeks have been a disaster and ultimately led to the mildly surprising firing of head coach Paul Chryst on Sunday.

The biggest takeaway from this game will be what kind of energy interim head coach Jim Leonhard and the Badgers play with after looking completely flat last week against Bret Bielema and the Fighting Illini.

After posting only two total rushing yards AS A TEAM last week, I expect the o-line and Braelon Allen to try and make a statement in this game. With Northwestern’s subpar run defense, there is no reason that shouldn’t come to fruition.

Graham Mertz looked incredible during the 1st quarter last week, but it all went downhill. Mertz got zero protection from the offensive line, getting sacked five times, and the non-existent run game did him no favors.

All I’m looking for out of the offense this week is some consistent and disciplined football.


Wisconsin Badgers Defense

Turnovers and the lack of ability for the Badgers’ offense killed the defense last week against Illinois.

The defensive unit didn’t do themselves any favors either, though, committing multiple penalties in the red zone leading to multiple Illini touchdowns.

Outside of Keeanu Benton, the Badgers have failed to generate much of a pass rush the past two weeks. Against the pass-heavy approach of the Wildcats, that must change this weekend.

Nick Herbig has been very quiet the last two games; for a player of his caliber, that’s just not going to cut it. Herbig is the best player on the Badger’s defense, and he has to play like it against Northwestern.

With the Wildcats using a pass-heavy approach, the Badgers’ secondary will have its work cut out for them.

The good news for the Badgers is cornerback Alexander Smith is expected to make his season debut this weekend after battling a hamstring injury. It’s unclear how many snaps he will play, but the senior cornerback should bring much-needed improvement and experience to the secondary.

Lastly, the biggest challenge for the Badgers will be the simple fact they’re playing on the road against the Wildcats. Wisconsin is 1-6 in their last seven trips to Kyle Field, which is always a tough place for any team to play.


Best Bets

I was glad to get a win on the board last week, but it’s still been a disastrous season for me, betting on Badger games. This shit ain’t for the faint of heart.
Best Bets Season Record: (3-14….looking at this makes me want to puke)
  • The game total over 44 points (-110) – The under has been bad to me this season, so I’m switching my swagger up. I think there will be just enough offense in this game to get over 44 points. Each team has gone over this total in three of five games this season.
  • Braelon Allen over 122 rushing yards (+129) – this is my favorite bet of the week. Northwestern has allowed over 200 rushing yards in three of five games this season and let Miami (OH) running back Keyon Mozee run all over them for 171 yards on 21 carries. Mozee has a total of 308 rushing yards for the entire season. It’s a long way to say their run defense is trash, and Braelon Allen should have his way with them. 
  • Evan Hull over 30.5 receiving yards (-108) – Hull has posted massive receiving numbers for a running back to start the year and has gone over 30.5 in four of five games.
  • Graham Mertz over 200.5 passing yards (-113) – Mertz has played a lot of up-and-down football this season but has thrown for over 200 yards in every game except when the Badgers played at Ohio State.
  • Defensive or special teams TD scored by either team (+283) – As promised, I will take this bet every week until it hits. I’m addicted. A pick-six would be the most likely outcome here, with both quarterbacks struggling with accuracy. 

To place your own bets with BadgerNotes partner – MyBookie.AG – Click Here


Where to find me:

You can follow me on Twitter @FrznPizzaCooperThere 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 badgernotes.com.

Gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. Always bet responsibly.

Badgers Country. Let’s ride.

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