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Purdue

vs.

Wisconsin

College Football

Free Pick

10/14/17

Wisconsin is ranked No. 7 in the AP Polls, yet no one is talking about them. Similar to last season, the Badgers have little buzz and a lot of that has to due with the schedule they’ve played. Playing in the Big Ten West can do that and it doesn’t get much tougher for them as the game against Michigan doesn’t look as difficult as once was. The Badgers were early -16.5 point favorite (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) against a Purdue team that could finish second in the division.

The Boilermakers are large underdogs here, but this team has already surpassed expectations to an extent, with three wins. Coming off a three-win season, new coach Jeff Brohm has his team looking like a legit competitor in every game so there’s little reason to look at last year’s 49-20 win for Wisconsin in this matchup. Purdue’s only losses have come at the hands of Louisville and Michigan and both were close for most of the way. While the Gophers led early against them last week, 18 points in the fourth quarter ended in another win and cover for Purdue.

While that’s the case, Wisconsin continues to move along under the radar. The Badgers haven’t covered in their last two home games and had trouble with Northwestern in the last one, but they’re still undefeated and the frontrunner for the division. The biggest worry for them is that the defense isn’t as dominant as a year ago and that’s led to some of the non-covers. To cover this one, the defense will need to step up against Purdue’s new offense.

Purdue still has some quarterback issues to go through as David Blough threw two interceptions in 10 pass attempts against the Gophers last game. He’s dealing with a slight shoulder sprain, but was healthy enough to start. Either way, that position isn’t settled for the Boilers with sophomore Elijah Sindelar playing more consistent in the past couple games, and in the opener. While the Purdue QBs have combined for 13 touchdowns, the running game has done little as leading running back Tario Fuller has missed the last two games with injury. Outside of him, Purdue hasn’t gotten much and that could be the case again as Wisconsin has one of the better rush defenses in the country, per usual, allowing only 2.8 yards per carry. With that being the case, it’ll be between Blough and Sindelar to keep up on the scoreboard, and while that’s possible, it will limit the team’s ability to move the ball at a consistent rate.

Wisconsin’s offense is almost the opposite of Purdue’s as the Badgers want Alex Hornibrook to pass the ball as little as possible as seen in his 107 attempts in five games. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor has done all the work, already with 767 yards and nine touchdowns, coming off a huge 249-yard performance at Nebraska. Purdue’s defense has been better this season, but it’s still not a lock down group after letting the Gophers go for 227 rushing yards last week. If Wisconsin can do the same, the result won’t be as pretty for the road team.

Purdue will see plenty of action in this game because Wisconsin doesn’t have the type of team to blow up the scoreboard. That could be enough to at least keep the Boilers around, although if they don’t have a running game, that may not be possible. The Boilermakers are 12-3-2 ATS in their last 17 road games and the Badgers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six home games. Purdue +16.5

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