Wisconsin continues to win and creep up in the rankings, but gets little national attention even at No. 5 in the AP Poll. The biggest reason likely being that the Badgers still haven’t played anyone of relevance and don’t for the reason of the season. In fact, as it stands, their first ranked opponent would be in the Big Ten title Game. against Maryland, they were large -24 point home favorites early at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
This spread feels a little big given that Wisconsin hasn’t won a Conference Game by more than 21 points yet. In its two home Games, the Badgers beat Northwestern by nine and Purdue by eight. This is far from a dominant team and one that hasn’t had many huge leads thus far. Maryland has fallen off plenty since the opening win against Texas, mainly because of quarterback injuries. They’ve lost big to UCF and OSU and most recently fell by 18 points against Northwestern.
The Terrapins may not have a defense and that’s why this spread is so big, but that means Wisconsin will actually have to score. With Alex Hornibrook at quarterback, things haven’t been easy for this offense. against mediocre competition in Conference play, Hornibrook already has five interceptions in his three Games on just 55 pass attempts. That’s a terrible rate and should be a reason every Wisconsin backer reconsiders betting on them. Of course, this is still a run-first team with Jonathan Taylor rushing for a ridiculous 468 yards in the last two Games to go with three touchdowns. It’s likely he’ll aim for that total again against a Maryland defense allowing 170 rushing yards per Game. If Taylor gets stopped a couple times, that could be enough for Maryland to cover.
But for Terps backers, that also requires them to Scoreagainst one of the better defenses around. The Badgers have great numbers and are allowing only 13.3 points per Game, but some of that has to do with competition.
LUckily for Wisconsin yet again, Maryland’s third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager is still nursing an arm injury and is day-to-day. If he can’t go, Caleb Henderson would be asked to start and he’d be the Fourth guy under center for Maryland this season. Even if Bortenschlager can go, he completed just 17-of-38 passes against Northwestern last week and while he had three touchdowns, that won’t happen again in this Game. The Terps will run as much as possible behind Ty Johnson (488 yard), but similar to the Northwestern Game, that may not work as the defense stacks the box against him. If Bortenschlager is forced to pass again, that could lead to an interception or two and two touchdowns at a maximum.
Wisconsin may be a hard team to back because of its offense, but this Game could get ugly if the Badgers Scoreearly. There’s a decent chance Wisconsin reaches 30-40 points, while Maryland doesn’t surpass 10. The Terps are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road Games vs. a team with a winning home record, while the Badgers are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven home Games.
Our Pick OVER 50