Big Ten Football Picks: (9) Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

Wisconsin opened -17 but has been bet up to -20.5 on the latest college football odds board

#9 Wisconsin at Nebraska
Time: 7 PM (CT), Saturday
Spread: WIS -10.5
Total: 46

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Wisconsin Badgers are 4-0 and have yet to encounter a bump in the road. The Badgers could get something of a test in Week 6 as it travels to face Nebraska as 10.5-point favorites in Big Ten play on Saturday. The game will air at 7 PM (Central) on the Big Ten Network, and it has an over/under set at 46 total points according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.

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Wisconsin sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook has made big strides since his freshman campaign a year ago. In 2016, Hornibrook threw for 1,262 yards with a 58.6 percent completion ratio, but he averaged just 6.97 yards per attempt and threw nearly as many interceptions (7) as touchdowns (9). This year, his completion ratio has climbed to 66.7 percent, he is throwing for nearly 10 yards per pass, and has nine TDs with just three interceptions. Hornibrook’s passer rating of 176.8 speaks for itself, and against BYU he was sensational in a 40-6 victory as he threw 18 of 19 for completion with 256 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

If Hornibrook can consistently get his receivers in those mid-range routes, the Badgers can be a forceful offensive team, as they have been thus far against some lackluster competition. Wisconsin has outscored its four opponents by a total count of 163 to 54, and no team has scored more than 24 (Northwestern last week). Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, Wisconsin has gone 5-1 against them. The Badgers nearly lost a 21-point-fourth-quarter lead last week, before its defense bailed it out with a safety, with less than a minute in the game. If the Cornhuskers are to cover this spread, it will do it with its defense again, most likely.

The Badgers rank in the top-10 in scoring defense (13.5 per game), rushing (74.3 yards per game) total defense (247 yards per game) and third-down stops (26.3 percent conversion rate). Wisconsin is coming off a game in which they had eight sacks. The team has 16 o the year. Freshman RB Jonathan Taylor leads the conference in rushing yards per game (129.5) and in rushing TDs (7). Troy Fumagalli at TE leads the team in catches (15) and total receiving yards (236). He is questionable for this game with a leg injury, however, which is a major black mark considering he is also tied for the team in receiving TDs (3).

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Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee had a big game against Illinois last Friday in throwing 17 of 24 for 246 yards with Three TDs and no interceptions. He was coming off a stretch in which he threw nine INTs (three were pick-6s) in three games, but Lee may have his accuracy back in check now. Nebraska will hope so, as leading rusher Tre Bryant is ruled out with a knee injury.

Devine Ozigbo has rushed for 100-yards and may have a bigger load, especially since Mikael Wilbon is still battling an ankle injury. Wide receiver Stanley Morgan returned from a one-game absence to catch eight passes for 96 yards and a TD last week, and he ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten in catches (26) and No. 2 in receiving yards (395). “Lee to Morgan Jr.” may be the theme of the game for Nebraska, but without enough backfield play, the Huskers should fall by about a touchdown—covering the +10.5 point spread.

Nebraska has won 20 straight night games and six of its past nine against ranked teams at home. Wisconsin has outscored opponents 98-14 in the second half this year, and the last two meetings between these teams have been decided by five total points.

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