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Preseason college football lines: Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin

The Fighting Irish head to the home of the Packers for a midseason matchup with the Badgers.

Detail view of Notre Dame Fighting Irish player holding a Wilson football for a kick during the Camping World Bowl against the Iowa State Cyclones at Camping World Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. Notre Dame defeated Iowa State 33-9. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s not a College Football Playoff or national championship game, so you always have to consider that Notre Dame can win anywhere. And the Fighting Irish head to the Madhouse in Madison Lambeau Field for what should be a terrific matchup for the fans and a highlight game on the 2020 calendar.

Let’s take a look at a preview for the perennial Big Ten West champions, and the reigning Camping World Bowl champions, as this October game that might determine whether ND can qualify for the Final Four this season.

When and where

October 3rd
Time TBD
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Spread

Notre Dame -1

Money Line

Notre Dame -115
Wisconsin -105

Why the line is what it is

It’s enjoyable for college football fans to make fun of the Irish, who finished 4-8 once not that long ago. But ND has put up consistent seasons under Brian Kelly in a more challenging environment than ever for a private, Catholic institution in small-town Indiana that isn’t the easiest place to recruit.

After an 11-2 season with losses only at No. 3 Georgia (by less than a TD) and at No. 19 Michigan (a 45-14 fire-bombing), and with early Heisman Trophy candidate Ian Book returning, there should be a chance for the Irish to improve in 2020. Book had 3,034 yards passing and 34 TD’s with 546 yards rushing and 4 rushing TD’s last season, and with Jafar Armstrong returning he should have even more options this season.

Wisconsin is a huge favorite to win the B1G West, but it’s the Triple A side of the conference. Bucky will be looking for their seventh Big Ten title game, but they haven’t won one since 2012. Running back Jonathan Taylor leaves a big hole on his way to the NFL’s first round, and the run-first Badgers have Nakia Watson as the likely starter.

Senior Jack Coan should start at quarterback, but will need to improve on 2019 (18 TD’s, 5 INT’s) if the Badgers are going to get back to the top of the mountain. But Wisconsin is a run-first team, and Paul Chryst returns enough on the offensive line where the holes should continue to open for any running back.

Why It Might Change

If Ian Book were to get hurt, you might see the favorite in this game flip considering how small the spread is. But until the season kicks off, this number should stay in place otherwise. There’s no other irreplaceable player on either roster, and Book’s previous backup Phil Jurkovec is heading to Boston College.

Where The Value Is Now

There just might not be much of any. How these teams will do in 2020 likely comes down to depth at offensive line and in the front seven defensively. And without a spring practice to shake out the depth chart, these will be two of the tougher teams to grade until we hit fall camps and see depth charts and injuries.

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