Game Breakdown and Best Bets: Week 4 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 3 Ohio State
The Wisconsin Badgers showed up to play last week, defeating the New Mexico State Aggies 66-7.
I wish I could say the same for myself. Unfortunately, I went 0-4 last week, bringing my record to 2-6 for the season.
I have no choice but to stay positive. It’s a minor setback for a major comeback.
The Wisconsin Badgers will travel to Columbus to take on the No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, September 24. Kickoff is at 6:30 pm (CST) on ABC.
To find all our content for this week’s game, visit badgernotes.com.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Last week I said the Aggies of New Mexico State were one of the worst teams in all of college football (And I was right. I Need to take my wins wherever I can at this point).
This week is the opposite for Badgers. They are facing off against one of the best teams in the country, Ohio State.
The Ohio State offense has been an absolute juggernaut this season, averaging 47.7 points per game.
OSU is No. 7 in the nation in passing at 358.3 yards per game, and their running game is no joke either, averaging 207 yards per game, which is good for No. 34 in the country.
That totals to a whopping 565.3 yards per game, which is tops in the country.
It all starts with the Heisman favorite and potential number one pick in the 2023 NFL draft, quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Stroud is a true pocket-passing QB, completing over 72% of his passes this season for 941 yards, 11 touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
OSU’s Dynamic WR’s
Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been banged up this year, tweaking his hamstring in Ohio States’ week one matchup against Notre Dame. So, his numbers on the year don’t look the best, four receptions and only 36 yards. Still, he is an elite receiver who will have a breakout game at some point.
In Smith-Njigba’s absence, Emeka Egbuka, and Marvin Harrison Jr. have stepped up big time as 1A and 1B receiving options.
Egbuka has hauled in 20 receptions for 324 yards and three touchdowns, eclipsing his numbers from his freshman season in 2021.
Marvin Harrison Jr. has been stuntin’ like his daddy this season, collecting 18 receptions for 342 yards and five touchdowns.
This week, the Buckeyes receiving corps will easily be the biggest challenge for the Badgers’ defense.
Ohio State’s two-headed monster at running back could also cause issues for Wisconsin’s defense.
Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have been splitting carries evenly this season. Williams with 32 attempts, and Henderson with 29.
The duo has a combined 404 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this season.
Henderson did leave last week’s game against Toledo after the first drive with an undisclosed injury (he was seen wearing a walking boot after the game).
In summary, fuck Ohio State.
Last week was exactly what the Badgers needed. A dominant performance in all three phases of the game.
The competition was awful, but it still gives the fellas a little extra confidence heading into this week’s massive matchup with the Buckeyes.
Like Wisconsin, Ohio State boasts an elite defense, allowing only 278.7 total yards per game.
The offensive line needs another strong performance if the Badgers want to keep things competitive. Starting tackle Riley Mahlman will miss his third straight game with a leg injury. Expect Logan Brown and Trey Wedig to earn snaps in his place out at right tackle.
UW will try to establish the run, as always, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them take some deep shots early, considering the Buckeyes gave up touchdowns of 50, 40, and 23 yards against the Toledo Rockets last week. I would love to see Graham Mertz try to exploit that.
As for the defense, getting pressure on C.J. Stroud is a must. Stroud is not a quarterback who likes to run much, only collecting nine yards on seven carries this year.
If the Badgers give him time in the pocket, he will carve this defense up. Ohio State has a very strong offensive line, and thankfully, players like Nick Herbig and Keeanu Benton can neutralize that.
Herbig, Wisconsin’s star outside linebacker, is currently tied for sixth in the nation with four sacks on the season. Benton has yet to record a sack this season, but his numbers are still impressive, totaling eight tackles, eight pressures, and 1.5 tackles for loss through three contests.
I don’t have much else to say about the game, considering this will be Wisconsin’s toughest task all season.
Wisconsin Badgers Best Bets
As mentioned earlier, it hasn’t been a great start to the season for me. But that’s in the past. We’re on to this week.
Best Bets Season Record: (2-6-0)
- Wisconsin Badgers +19 (-110) – This is my favorite bet of the week. In our staff predictions article that came out yesterday, you’ll see that I have faith in the Badgers keeping this game close. I think they will pressure C.J. Stroud enough to keep it within the 19 points.
- Graham Mertz over 216 passing yards (+129) – Mertz is playing the best football of his life right now, and the Badgers will need some big plays to hang around in this one. Mertz has also gone over 216 yards passing in every game this season.
- Clay Cundiff over 36 yards receiving (+106) – Cundiff has been one of Mertz’s favorite targets this year and has gone over 36 yards in his last two games. I don’t mind him +300 to score a touchdown, either. Cundiff is easily the Badgers’ biggest red zone threat.
- Defensive or special teams TD scored by either team (yes +190) – If you’ve read my previous articles, this needs no explanation. I’m addicted.
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.
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Badgers Country. Let’s ride.