Image for Andre Viljoen Andre Viljoen - October 14, 2022

Wisconsin Badgers Football Team Preview 2019: Odds and Predictions

2018 Season in Review

After putting up three straight double-digit win seasons since coach Paul Chryst took over in Madison, the Badgers fell short of expectations with a 7-5 regular-season finish. Their run-heavy offense led by 2,000-yard rusher Jonathan Taylor, could not overcome an early-season loss to BYU. Defeats to ranked conference foes Michigan and Penn State would follow, while an October 27th loss to Northwestern would push Wisconsin outside of the AP poll.

On the bright side, the Badgers continued their recent streak of postseason success by taking down the Miami Hurricanes 35-3 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. That victory is the program’s fifth straight bowl win, the longest such streak in school history.

Key Returning Players (2018 Stats)

  • RB Jonathan Taylor (Junior) – 2,194 Rush Yards | 16 Rush TD | 7.1 YPC
  • TE Jake Ferguson (Redshirt Sophomore) – 36 Receptions | 456 Rec Yards | 4 Rec TD
  • OLB Zack Baun (Redshirt Senior) – 62 Total Tackles | 7.5 TFL | 2.5 Sacks
  • S Scott Nelson (Redshirt Sophomore) – 41 Total Tackles | 3.5 TFL | 6 Pass Def

The Badgers will once again have Taylor in the backfield, who should get some help from other playmakers who enter 2019 with more experience. Top pass-catchers A.J. Taylor, Danny Davis III, and Jake Ferguson are back on campus, while All-America honorable mention Tyler Biadasz is their top returning offensive lineman at center. Junior quarterback Jack Coan is the most experienced returning passer, although he should be pushed by the heralded recruit, Graham Mertz.

The defense will field a relatively young group with just two seniors projected as starters at this point in linebackers Zack Baun and Chris Orr. Wisconsin’s 3-4 set will likely feature juniors Garrett Rand and Isaiahh Loudermilk at the defensive end spots, while the secondary will be led by safeties Eric Burrell and Scott Nelson.

Key Departures

  • OG Michael Deiter (Graduation)
  • OT David Edwards (NFL Draft)
  • LB T.J. Edwards (Graduation)
  • S D’Cota Dixson (Graduation)

As one of the top NFL development programs, Wisconsin is used to mass attrition to the pro ranks. With five NFL draft picks in 2019, this past batch was no different. Like most years, the offensive line losses stood out, as the Badgers lost guards Michael Deiter and Beau Benzschawel as well as tackle David Edwards.

The linebacking corps also took a hit, as Andrew Van Ginkel, Ryan Connelly, and T.J. Edwards exhausted their eligibility, with Van Ginkel and Connelly getting drafted in the fifth round by the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, respectively. The Badgers will also be without quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who graduated and chose to attend grad school at Florida State.

Notable Recruits (Star Ratings and Rankings According to Rivals.com)

  • QB Graham Mertz – 4 Star | 6-4, 205lb | Blue Valley North HS | Overland Park, KS
  • OT Logan Brown – 4 Star | 6-6, 290lb | East Kentwood HS | Kentwood, MI
  • DT Rodas Johnson – 4 Star | 6-4, 285lb | St. Francis DeSales HS | Columbus, OH
  • OLB Spencer Lytle – 4 Star | 6-3, 218lb | St. John Bosco HS | Bellflower, CA

Long known for running a ground-and-pound offense, Wisconsin managed to bring in the second-ranked pro-style quarterback in Graham Mertz, who turned down offers from Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia. Also topping the class is offensive line recruit Logan Brown along with a pair of high school teammates in Spencer Lytle and Titus Toler out of St. John Bosco High School.

The Badgers added a big potential throwing target for Mertz in 6-5 tight end Hayden Rucci, while also landing cornerback Semar Melvin out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.

2019 Schedule

Date Opponent
August 30th @ South Florida
September 7th Central Michigan
September 21st Michigan
September 28th Northwestern
October 5th Kent State
October 12th Michigan State
October 19th @ Illinois
October 26th @ Ohio State
November 9th Iowa
November 16th @ Nebraska
November 23rd Purdue
November 30th @ Minnesota

After their season opener against USF in Tampa, the Badgers get to play five straight contests at Camp Randall Stadium, which includes tough matchups against the Michigan schools. Having to take on Ohio State at The Shoe will be tough to overcome, while Nebraska could be a scary matchup if the Cornhuskers show improvement from last year. Wisconsin will also have to seek revenge against rival Minnesota on the road to close out the season.

Wisconsin Badgers 2019 Team and Big 10 West Division Odds

New Jersey residents can log on to 888Sport to wager on Wisconsin’s win total, as well as their odds to win the Big Ten West Division. 

Big Ten West Division Winner – Odds

Sportsbook Big 10 West Winner Link
888Sport NJ +300

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Number of Games Won – Excluding Bowl Games & Play-Offs

Regular season only. Conference championship games do not count.

Sportsbook Over 8.5 Under 8.5 Link
888Sport NJ +110 -134

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

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AUTHOR

Andre Viljoen

150 Articles

Andre has been writing for WSN since February 2019, covering college basketball and college football. A graduate of Florida State and UNC-Chapel Hill, he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing sports and Magic: The Gathering.

Email: [email protected]

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