The Wisconsin Badgers recovered from an opening loss to Alabama to destroy Miami-Ohio 58-0, but can they now cover a second straight enormous spread vs. Troy?
The favored Big Ten powerhouse could potentially be overvalued at home on Saturday when the Troy Trojans (1-1, 1-1 ATS) of the Sun Belt Conference pay to visit to those 24th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (1-1, 1-1 ATS) at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI at 3:30 ET in a game available on Big Ten Network.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Troy as a humongous underdog for this contest with the current line at +34½ with odds of -106.
Nice Rebound after Alabama
Wisconsin was trounced by second ranked Alabama to begin the season 35-17, but the Badgers regrouped nicely with a huge drop in competition, annihilating the Miami-Ohio RedHawks 58-0 here at Camp Randall last week as 30½-point favorites. Wisconsin now finds itself as a prohibitive favorite again for the second straight week with this -34½ price tag attached here.
Troy opened up as the losing college football pick 49-21 at NC State, but the Trojans also appreciated a drop in class in Week 2 blowing out Charleston Southern of the FCS 44-16. The Trojan like to play a hurry-up no-huddle offense, and even though they are a Sun Belt team, they do have speedy receivers that can give a more physical Wisconsin defense a little bit of trouble, and remember that Troy may not need to score that many points to cover this huge number.
More Balanced Offense?
Wisconsin has always had a very run-heavy offense, but when the running game could not do a thing when starting running back Corey Clement was injured vs. Alabama, quarterback Joel Stave did his best to keep the Badgers in the game completing 26-of-39 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown, probably prompting those that have watched Stave’s erratic play the last couple of years to ask, “Where did that come from?”
Well, Wisconsin ran the ball much better vs. an outclassed Miami-Ohio team even with Clement sitting out with his groin injury as the Badgers amassed 188 yards on the ground on 4.2 yards per carry, but Stave again complimented the running game well by completing 19-of-30 passes for 236 yards and three more touchdowns.
However, we may see more of a vintage Wisconsin game plan this week even with Clement extremely doubtful as Troy has been inept stopping the run allowing an atrocious 257.0 rushing yards per game while actually being solid against the pass allowing 5.7 yards per attempt, so this unexpected dream run for Stave may be over as he goes back to being a game manager.
And while Wisconsin should do well on the ground, that can also result in more time-consuming drives that backers of prohibitive favorites do not want. Thus, we do not expect another 58 points from the Badgers here, with a scoring output “only” in the 40s probably more likely.
Nice Quarterback in Silvers
The Trojans finally said goodbye to long-time coach Larry Blakeney after last season after he had been the coach in Troy since 1991, and he has been replaced by the Trojans’ former offensive coordinator under Blakeney in Neal Brown, who at 39 years of age is the second youngest head coach in the FBS. And he certainly inherited a very nice quarterback in Brandon Silvers to make the coaching transition smoother.
Not much went right at Troy on Blakeney’s last season last year, but Silvers was, well, a silver lining while completing an impressive 191 of his 271 passes (70.5 percent) for over 1800 yards and 11 touchdowns vs. three interceptions. Well, that amazing completion percentage is exactly at that same 70.5 percent so far this year (31-for-44) with three touchdown passes and no picks while averaging a very good 9.0 yards per attempt in Brown’s offense.
Thus the Trojans are very capable of getting a few big plays here, trying to compensate for Wisconsin’s size advantage with speed, and if Wisconsin dominates the Time of Possession as we expect, even scoring only 10 points or so might be enough for Troy to cash this big underdog ticket.
Usually Let Down after Big Wins
Finally, those 58 points scored by Wisconsin last week could be considered a bad sign because the Badgers are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
That pattern may very well continue here with Wisconsin again playing to a very large spread, in fact a spread so big that just a couple of scores may be enough for Troy to cover the number in Madison on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Troy +34½ (-106)