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LSU vs Wisconsin Free Picks : ReliaQuest Bowl Best Bets, #1 Predictions 1/1

Malik Nabers runs for College Football Player Props

LSU Tigers vs Wisconsin Badgers Best Bets : ReliaQuest Bowl Analysis & Massive Predictions

Football content contributor Ron Marmalefsky offers reliable betting picks on The ReliaQuest Bowl being played on January 1st, between LSU and Wisconsin. What are his takeaways and things to watch when considering betting? Find top predictions here.

LSU had one of the most dynamic offenses we’ve seen, maybe since Joe Burrow was around.  That’s two good ones for the Tigers, under two different coaching staffs.  Luke Fickell’s 1st year at Wisconsin was not a rousing success, but his plan is to build something sustainable. 

That sounds funny, given that Wisconsin has been solid for years, but Fickell is changing the way they operate, especially offensively.  Are these two teams thinking well beyond this crossroads bowl encounter?

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ReliaQuest Bowl Predictions and Best Bets: LSU Overview

LSU’s offensive numbers were scary.  They averaged over 46 points per game, 6.25-212 rush yards per game, and passed for over 4,000 yards.  Jayden Daniels couldn’t be stopped, with a 40-4 touchdown to interception ratio, a completion figure of over 72%, and an incredible rush stat line of 1,134 yards, with an 8.4 per-carry average and ten rushing touchdowns. 

He’s gone, replaced by Garrett Nussmeier, a more traditional QB.  He could be fine passing the ball but the loss of having a dual threat QB will be felt.  The million-dollar question is whether future NFL WR’s Nabors and Thomas will suit up. 

They combined for over 2,600 yards and 29 touchdowns.  If not, WR production will dip significantly. 

Can LSU’s Defense Hold Fast?

As for the defense, LSU has work still left to do.  The mediocre 4.45 rush defense of 2022 gave way to a 5.0 per carry figure this season.  The 57% pass defense got much worse, up to 63.5%.  Wisconsin is hardly a dynamic offensive team, but LSU is unlikely to suddenly get this defense right. 

So far, only one defensive starter, a CB is in the portal.  LSU’s sack ratio was 26-22.  Kicking was at 12-15.  

ReliaQuest Bowl Video Picks

Wisconsin Badgers vs LSU Tigers Prediction and Picks - ReliaQuest Bowl Picks

ReliaQuest Bowl Picks: Wisconsin Strengths and Weaknesses

The good news is that the Badgers were better by record this year, going 7-5.  The offense remained strong when running the ball, but lead RB Allen is gone.  The next two on the depth chart are projected to rush for about 4.25 per carry, so the Badgers will be decent, but not electric if I’m right. 

The good news is that they have a QB who can run as well, and might in fact lead them in rushing in this game.  Tanner Mordecai did damage passing the ball at SMU, but here his numbers were way down.  He completed 177 passes for just 1,688 yards, throwing just six touchdown passes.  He stretched the field with three 33 touchdown passes at SMU in 2022. 

I think he’ll have a solid completion % here (projecting 23 of 35), but he may not stretch the field, especially with two of his WR’s missing this game.  Both Dike and Bell easily had the best per-catch yardage on the team and will be missed.  In 2021 and 2022, Wisconsin allowed 2.7 and then 3.35 per carry, adjusted for sacks and kneel downs as per my formula. 

The surprise this year is allowing 4.25 per carry, and an average of 50 more yards.  There are some health issues with LSU’s RB’s, but I expect the Tigers to win the overall battle on the ground.  The pass defense was at 60%, exactly on my August projection. 

That number is a few percentage points higher if you take out the bad QB’s faced with Rutgers, Iowa and Minnesota (combined to go 40-80).  This is another LSU edge, but not a big one unless their top two WR’s play.  Like with LSU, one CB will not play.  Kicking was at 14-17.  The sack ratio was 29-18.

reliaquest bowl

ReliaQuest Bowl Best Bets – The Keys to The Game:

Will Wisconsin slow down LSU’s offense with the Tigers losing their dual threat Heisman Trophy QB?  If LSU’s top WR’s play, how does Wisconsin defend them? 

They faced only one comparable QB and elite WR (Ohio State, WR Harrison) and did hold the Buckeye’s to 24 points.  Despite the loss of RB Allen, do we trust LSU to stop Wisconsin’s rush attack?  Can Mordecai match his projected passing numbers AND use his legs to keep LSU off balance?

ReliaQuest Bowl – The Free Picks & Predictions

At the top of this preview, I noted that this game might not be that important to either team.  LSU is auditioning many of their underclassmen to see if they are ready to step up.  For Wisconsin, this would be a signature win over the big, bad SEC, but they have bigger plans than just reaching win #8.  Obviously, LSU would be much more heavily favored with Daniels at QB.

The Pick: ReliaQuest Bowl Prediction!

I might be on Wisconsin’s side IF I hear that LSU’s two WR’s are not playing.  Under that scenario, Wisconsin could limit big plays, hoping that their QB does enough to keep the below average LSU defense off balance. 

Bowl game wagering is all about timing this year.  Make sure you follow the local news reporters and keep an eye on any late breaking news.

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