Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin College Football Week 4 Preview and Best Bet


Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws a pass. John Fisher/Getty Images/AFP
Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws a pass. John Fisher/Getty Images/AFP


The Wisconsin Badgers might belong in Saturday’s Week 4 NCAAF picks when they face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Soldier Field.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Wisconsin Badgers

at Soldier Field


Something is not quite right with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS). They’ve won all three of their games thus far, but it took some work; last week’s 27-13 win over the Purdue Boilermakers needed a fourth-quarter rally to earn Notre Dame their only cover of the season, cashing them in as 7.5-point home faves on the NCAAF odds board. And yet they somehow managed to hold onto the No. 12 spot on the AP poll. It hasn’t been a smooth start for the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers (1-1 SU and ATS), either. But they should be the right choice for your Week 4 college football picks – if you can still get them as 4.5-point favorites at DraftKings by the time you read this. That’s a bargain price compared to most online sportsbooks, who have the Badgers laying up to 6.5 points at Soldier Field.

Making Cents

Before I delve into this matchup a little further, I should point out the difference in juice on these NCAAF lines. Here’s a sample of what’s available as we go to press: DraftKings: Wisconsin –4.5 (–120) SBK: Wisconsin –5.5 (–111) BetMGM: Wisconsin –6 (–110) PointsBet: Wisconsin –6.5 (–110) Price comparison isn’t the sexiest part of making NCAAF picks, but it’s very important if you want to maximize your returns. The question here is whether it’s better to pay the extra 10 cents in juice to move from –6 to –4.5, or just the extra cent to drop down a half-point to –5.5. The latter clearly gives you more value than Badgers –6 at the standard –110 juice. How about the former? Well, according to Michael Shackleford’s stats at Wizard of Odds, a spread of –6 works out to a “fair” moneyline (no vig) of –202, while –5.5 translates to –190, and –4.5 is the same as –169. If those numbers are good, and they probably are, you should be more than happy to shed that 1.5 points for just 10 cents in added vigorish, scooping up 33 cents in value in the process.

As for the game itself, Notre Dame are very much the public team in this matchup, and they appear to be over-rated at No. 12 in the polls; the F/+ Ratings at Football Outsiders have the Irish at No. 20 heading into Week 4, and the Badgers up in ninth place. This could be a “down” year for Brian Kelly’s squad with Jack Coan taking over at quarterback for Ian Book. And the stout Badgers defense will have plenty of inside information to work with – Coan was Wisconsin’s starting quarterback in 2019 before transferring to South Bend. Bet accordingly, and enjoy what should be a very competitive matchup at one of the most storied venues in the world of sports.

NCAAF Pick: Wisconsin -4.5 (-120) at DraftKings

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