The 12th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers will host the No. 19 Penn State Nittany Lions will look to erase the memories of 2020 with a victory to start the season. This will kick off a fantastic Saturday of Week 1 college football action on September 4th starting at noon ET in Madison, Wisconsin.
Penn State started last year with an 0-5 record, while Wisconsin saw a significant COVID-19 outbreak following a hot start to the season and went through a stretch in which they scored seven or fewer points in three straight games. Last season was an extreme outlier for both programs that have been consistently near the top of the Big Ten for many years and are expected to do the same in 2021.
Updated SP+ per team
Penn State: 10 (22 Offense, 7 Defense)
Wisconsin: 6 (32 Offense, 2 Defense)
Injury update for both teams
LB Charlie Katshir is questionable (undisclosed)
CB Al Ashford is out for the season (arm)
NT Keeanu Benton is questionable (ankle)
RB Jalen Berger is questionable (leg)
OL Logan Brown is questionable (head)
TE Cole Dakovich is out for the season (leg)
WR Danny Davis is probable (concussion)
WR Kendric Pryor is questionable (concussion)
RB Antwan Roberts is out indefinitely (suspension)
OL Joe Tippman is questionable (arm)
K Jack Van Dyke is probable (leg)
Wisconsin -5.5 (-110)
Total 49 (Over -105)
Bet Splits from DraftKings Sportsbook
Wisconsin: 61% of handle, 65% of bets
Over: 78% of handle, 53% of bets
Opening & current line
Opening line: Wisconsin -4.5
Current line: Wisconsin -5.5
Offense 14, Defense 10, Team 13
Offense 22, Defense 31, Team 23
Team 78% (56th of 130), Offense 74% (74), Defense 83% (49)
Team 84% (32nd of 130), Offense 86% (30), Defense 82% (53)
The pick: Wisconsin -5.5
Graham Mertz should get plenty of the attention for this Badgers team as the starting quarterback, but they are going to get this done in the trenches. Wisconsin has another fantastic group of offensive linemen, and the Badgers could take advantage of a Penn State defensive line that needs to replace NFL talent.
Wisconsin is expected to be very good against the run this season in what was a real strength in 2020, so Sean Clifford will need to beat them as he heads into his third consecutive season with a new offensive coordinator.
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