Badgers football: Double-digit underdogs for just 13th time in last 20 seasons

2012-09-25T06:45:00Z 2012-10-04T22:07:00Z Badgers football: Double-digit underdogs for just 13th time in last 20 seasonsADAM MERTZ | Wisconsin State Journal | adam.mertz@madison.com | 608-252-6474 madison.com

Regardless of whether the betting line can be rationalized, it's always surprising when the University of Wisconsin football team is a double-digit underdog, as is the case for Saturday's Big Ten Conference opener at Nebraska.

As of Monday afternoon, the Cornhuskers were favored by 13 points, according to scoresandodds.com. We cite this figure for recreational purposes only, of course, and because there is some value in that it provides an educated perspective on how these teams are perceived after four games.

Only three other times during Bret Bielema's six-plus seasons as coach have the Badgers been such big underdogs. In each case, UW was the road team. In each case, the favorite covered the spread, albeit not without a fight.

  • No. 9 Ohio State was giving 16 points in 2009 in Columbus and won 31-13 thanks in large part to returning two Scott Tolzien interceptions for scores.
  • No. 1 Ohio State was giving 16 points in 2007 as well in Columbus and won 38-17, scoring 28 unanswered points in the second half.
  • No. 6 Michigan was giving 13 points in 2006 in Ann Arbor in Bielema's Big Ten debut and won 27-13, a game that was deadlocked at 10 until late in the third quarter.

This was a relative rarity for much of former coach Barry Alvarez's tenure as well. Starting with the 1993 Big Ten championship season, just nine times in 12 seasons was Wisconsin a double-digit underdog, with all but one of those matchups coming on the road.

Alvarez's teams clearly relished this status as giant underdogs. The Badgers won three of those games outright and allowed the favorite to cover just twice.

For those of you interested in more of this type of info, here's a complete rundown of the Badgers' odds in every football game from 1992-2010, from Phil Steele.

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(5) Comments

  1. HuskerBud
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    HuskerBud - September 25, 2012 8:09 pm
    Vegas is up to something...there has to be an underlying motivation to set the line that high. Vegas is full shenanigans! For example, I was there one year when Wisconsin played UNLV. Spread was some insane number and Wisconsin was laying the wood to the home team. All of the sudden...Boom... the lights went out. Literally, the lights went out in the 4th quarter, they called the game. Wisconsin fans rejoiced in the win and several thousand rushed to the sports book to get paid...errrr not so fast my friend. You see the game was never completed and therefore the game was declared off the board, all bet money returned, no payout for the winners. Needless to say there were a bunch of upset farmers ready to take apart several Sports Books in town that night.

    I was born and raised in Lincoln, NE and every year I drink the kool-aid that comes with all the preseason hype. Then the kool-aid turned sour after the trip to play UCLA. The number that will forever be stuck in my head is 653...we gave up nearly equal rushing and passing yards (insert vomit noise now). This wasn't Oregon or USC we played but UCLA with a new coach, new system and a Freshman QB.

    Now, all of the sudden after two cream puff wins people think the world is right back in the land of Red...it's not!

    We have huge defensive issues. The front four can't get pressure on the QB and they struggle with Pelini's two gap defensive scheme. The signle most overrated player in the B1G this year is Linebacker Will Compton. HE might rack up he stats but his tackles are coming 5 to 7 yards down the field...not exactly where you want that to happen. Don't even start with pass coverage, he is slow and out of position on just about every pass play.

    There is no way Nebraska beats Wisconsin by 13 points for that matter we would be lucky to escape with a home win. I predict, 300+ yards rushing for Wisconsin and a Nebraska win on a last minute FG. I pick this only because I am a true Homer Husker....
  2. bpro
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    bpro - September 25, 2012 5:40 pm
    I am afraid Vegas got it right, as expect the Huskers to stack against the run & just go wild with their offense scoring mega points. BB is on record that the Badger defense is in pretty good shape & improving & now this game shall serve as a good test. The timing of this game is probably not good for the Badgers as if "**** happens" & Huskers win big it might cause a season impacting reality check for the players
  3. dashhandsome
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    dashhandsome - September 25, 2012 12:15 pm
    They're a double digit underdog because no one gives out triple digit underdogs.

    Still, Bucky always plays to its competition, up or down. Bucky loses by 4.
  4. Mary67
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    Mary67 - September 25, 2012 11:52 am
    Badger fans are about to learn that pride is a hard pill to swallow.
  5. grampabucky
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    grampabucky - September 24, 2012 6:27 pm
    Don't believe it. Bucky by 6.
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