Are Oddsmakers Too Confident In The Wisconsin Badgers In Luke Fickell’s First Year?

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Oddsmakers believe Wisconsin won’t waste any time before bouncing back in Luke Fickell’s first season.

The Badgers haven’t been truly competitive since the 2019 season, and after the 2022 campaign got off to an embarrassing start, Paul Chryst was fired.

Luke Fickell was poached from Cincinnati and he’s now in charge in Madison. Fans have high expectations, and do the sportsbooks.

Luke Fickell faces huge expectations with the Wisconsin Badgers. (© Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)

DraftKings dropped its win totals for the Big Ten, and the over/under is set at nine. Hitting nine wins would be a significant improvement over last season’s 6-6 regular season followed by a meaningless bowl win.

However, everyone knows oddsmakers, while often correct, can misfire from time to time. That leaves Wisconsin fans with one question:

Is the number attainable?

Nine wins sounds about right for the Wisconsin Badgers.

The most important part of any wins total over/under is the schedule, and this is where the Badgers catch a bit of a break in Luke Fickell’s first year.

Let’s run down the whole 12-game regular season slate with predictions assuming no major injuries:

  • Buffalo – Win
  • @ Washington State – Win
  • Georgia Southern – Win
  • @ Purdue – Win
  • Rutgers – Win
  • Iowa – Win
  • @ Illinois – Loss
  • Ohio State – Loss
  • @Indiana – Win
  • Northwestern – Win
  • Nebraska – Win
  • Minnesota – Win

As a man who lives and breathes Wisconsin football, that’s my early prediction for the 2023 campaign. I see things shaking out with a 10-2 regular season and a Big Ten West title.

The offense will look significantly different under Phil Longo and with Tanner Mordecai slinging it as QB1.

Will Tanner Mordecai be a star for the Wisconsin Badgers? (Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports via USA TODAY NETWORK)

However, Wisconsin fans are also used to disappointment and heartbreak. It’s definitely not hard to imagine the Badgers dropping an unexpected game. The home matchup against Iowa could prove to be an L at the end of the day.

Hell, the road trip to Washington State could also be a loss, and then the team is looking at an 8-4 regular season if the rest of the schedule holds as predicted.

Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai will lead the offense for the Badgers. (© Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK)

While some might look at the win total over/under and think oddsmakers are a shade too confident in Luke Fickell’s first year in Madison, I feel slightly the opposite. Nine wins is attainable, even with an unexpected slip. As any Wisconsin fan will tell you, there’s almost always one coming. I would never tell anyone how to bet, but nine wins, in my humble opinion, is going to be easier to hit than miss if the Badgers stay healthy. Take my advice or bookmark this page to roast me later. The choice is yours!

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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