Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#355 Washington State vs.
#356 Wisconsin
Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by The Dominator

College football action on Saturday afternoon and we will see the PAC-12 Conference square off with the Big 10 Conference as the Washington State Cougars invade Camp Randall Stadium to grapple with the Wisconsin Badgers. Washington State took down Idaho by a score of 24-17 in their opener while the Badgers crushed Illinois State by a score of 38-0.

The Badgers lead the all-time series 2-0, but these teams have not meant since 1976.

Washington State Struggled In Their Opener

Yes, the Cougars won their opener against Idaho, but they did so by just seven points, despite being 28-point favorites. A win like that can not instill confidence in a team. The Cougars did go 7-6 last year, but with just 10 starters back from that team, they are expected to struggle this season. Phil Steele has them ranked 6th in the PAC-12 North this year.

Washington State normally has a good offense, but they scored just 27.8 ppg and 27.0 ppg in the last two years and this year could be worse as they have just four starters back on that side of the ball. QB Jayden De Laura is gone after tossing 23 TDs and just nine INTs last year and in steps Cameron Ward, who threw for 4648 yards with 47 TDs and just 10 INTs at Incarnate Word last year. Ward had a decent game against Idaho as he threw for 215 yards with three TDs and no INTs. Now he has to face one of the Best defenses in the Big 10, so we could see him struggle in this one. Nate Watson could be key to the offense after rushing for 117 yards last week on just 18 carries.

If the running game gets going, then it will take some of the pressure off of Ward. The Cougars allowed just 24.2 ppg last year, which is two TDs better than they allowed in 2020. WSU has six starters back on defense and they allowed just 274 yards of total offense against Idaho. The run defense gave up just 62 yards, but it will not be that easy against the 3rd best set of running backs in the nation. Washington State will see a lot of the Wisconsin backs in this one.

Rushing And Defense

Over the years, Wisconsin has been known as a team with a powerful ground game and an equally strong defense, but in the last two years, the ground game has been average at best. The defense has stayed the same. This year, the ground game and defense are expected to be on the same page and that makes the Badgers a very dangerous team. Despite having just eight starters overall, Wisconsin is still picked to win the Big 10 West.

The Badgers are off of a 38-0 home win over Illinois State And they rolled up 221 yards on the ground in the contest. Braelon Allen had 1268 yards rushing and 12 TDs last year and he picked up where he left off with 148 yards to go with two TDs in the opener. He is expected to have a huge season, especially since he is running behind the 4th rated offensive line in the nation. Graham Mertz is back at QB after a bit of a rough season that saw him throw just 10 TDs and 11 INTs a year ago. He threw for 219 yards with a TD and no INTs against Illinois State. If the ground game gets going, as expected, then Mertz could have a big game against a weak secondary.

Now to the defense, which will be among the best in the nation. That is despite the fact that they have just three starters back from a group that allowed just 16.2 ppg a season ago. This is a team that reloads on this side of the ball and they allowed just 243 yards of total offense to Illinois State. The Badgers will be facing a tougher offensive team in this one, but still, the Cougars are not expected to be great on that side of the ball this year.

 

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The Badgers are predicted to win the Big 10 West while the Cougars have been picked to finish last in the PAC-12 North and week 1 did tell us a lot about both teams. the Cougars faced FCS foe Idaho and won by just seven points, despite being 28-point favorites. Wisconsin faced Illinois state and they won by a score of 38-0. The Badgers have a strong ground game and they will run all over a Washington State defense that allowed 200-plus yards rushing five times last year. Wisconsin has just three starters back on defense, but they do have one of the best in the nation and Washington State has just four starters back on offense. The Cougars will not score nearly enough to keep this one close. Lastly, the Cougars are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games in September while the Badgers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game

Prediction: Wisconsin -17

Full-Game Total Pick

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The Badgers are all about running the ball and playing strong defense and that will lead to some low-scoring games for them this year. Wisconsin has one of the strongest defenses in the nation and Washington State struggled to score on an FCS foe last week. We also note that the Badgers will get their top two defensive backs for this one. I can not see the Cougars reaching double figures in this one. The Badgers will run all day on the Cougars and that will shorten the game. I also expect them to take their foot off the gas once they are up huge. That will prevent them from scoring a lot of late points. Lastly, the Under is 6-1 in Washington State's last 7 non-conference games and 19-9 in Wisconsin's last 28 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.

Prediction: Under 49
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Written By David Hess , "The Dominator"

David has always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so he combined the two to become a handicapper and a writer for us here at Winners & Whiners, along with StatSalt. All the information that David puts in his articles are well-researched and his predictions are well-thought-out. He is a big fan of all the major pro sports and the colleges making David a very versatile and constantly winning handicapper. David has been writing for the past 10 years and has been handicapping for over 20 years. He will help you beat the Man, so be sure and follow along.