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WISCONSIN OVER 9.5 WINS (-105) AND WIN BIG TEN WEST (-115)
One of the teams that should benefit the most from fans being back in the stands is the Wisconsin Badgers.
Over the last 10 years, Wisconsin is 55-9 (85.9%) on the ML at home and 25-4 (86.2%) in the past five seasons. Those are dominating numbers.
In 2021, Wisconsin will play seven of its 12 games at home. Wisconsin hosts Penn State, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Army, Iowa, Northwestern, and Nebraska at home.
They will be favored in all of those games and should go 6-1 or better and have 17 total returning starters, including nine on offense led by preseason All-Big Ten First Team quarterback Graham Mertz and a stellar offensive line.
Breaking down some important trends and notes from this team, the Badgers look like a solid bet to breeze through those seven.
Wisconsin won the last three against Eastern Michigan, a team I am high on, but 100% expect to lose to Wisconsin in this spot. The Badgers will meet the Army Black Knights for the first time. It should be another easy win for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin beat Iowa in seven of the last nine meetings, and the Badgers have handed the Northwestern Wildcats four straight losses. Nebraska is 1-8 in Big Ten play versus Wisconsin, and that leaves two big games.
Penn State and Michigan. Historically, it does not look good. However, this season, both PSU and Michigan are not as good as they used to be.
Wisconsin will open the season at home versus Penn State, looking for their first win in quite some time. The Nittany Lions have handed the Badgers four straight losses, so the opening week will be a crazy one in Madison.
The tide has turned for Wisconsin versus Michigan. The all-time series is 51-17-1 in favor of the Wolverines, but the Badgers have won five of the last seven and get Michigan at home. I like that a lot.
Iowa and Penn State will likely be the two of the three toughest games of the season, but at least Wisconsin gets them at home, where (again) they are 25-4 in the last five years.
NBC's future model shows no movement on Wisconsin's win total and only a 10-cent change on their Big Ten West odds, but the largest move (+300) has been for the entire conference -- Wisconsin to be the Big Ten Champion.
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On the road, Wisconsin will play Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers and Minnesota, plus a neutral field matchup in Chicago with Notre Dame. That's only four road games and a neutral field matchup, very ideal.
The four Big Ten opponents combined to go 10-20 overall last season and had a 2-13 home record.
Wisconsin should roll through through right through that road schedule. Notre Dame has won seven of the past 10 meetings with the Badgers, but a neutral field game instead of it being in South Bend (Notre Dame) makes a difference.
With only Penn State, Notre Dame and Iowa as the preseason top 25 teams on Wisconsin's schedule, and two of those three being at home, I like the chance they go my predicted 10-2 (or better) through 12 games.
Did I mention they avoid playing Ohio State and Indiana this season?
Nope, I saved the best for last.
The Badgers have two of their three toughest games in the first three weeks (Penn State, Notre Dame), in addition to three of the first four games are at home (Notre Dame neutral).
If they go 2-1 or 3-1 through the first few games, we could see nine straight wins to end the year, no joke.
With no OSU or Indiana, Wisconsin can finish on a serious run the last two months of the season.
The Big 10 West is Wisconsin's to lose.
Pick: Wisconsin Win Total Over 9.5 Wins (1u) and to win the Big 10 West (1u)
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