The Luke Fickell era officially begins as the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Buffalo Bulls in their opening debut matchup. Both teams finished 7-6 last season while also winning their bowl games to close out the 2022 season.
Wisconsin went through coaching changes after a disappointing end to the season and will be a different-looking offensively as well. Buffalo is looking to keep building on their improvements from the last few seasons and get into the conversation for the MAC title. Here’s our Buffalo vs. Wisconsin prediction and a betting and DFS preview.
Buffalo vs. Wisconsin Betting and DFS Preview
Wisconsin -27.5, Buffalo +27.5
Wisconsin -4000, Buffalo +1600
- Game time
3:30 p.m. EST
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
- Predicted Weather at Kick
87 degrees, partly cloudy, winds W at 5 to 10 mph
- How to Watch
FuboTV, FS1, Fox Sports App
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Top DFS Picks and Fantasy Plays
All values below come from FanDuel’s multi-team entries for the weekend. Looking to sign up for FanDuel? New customers bet $5 and get $200 in bonus bets guaranteed. Click here for more details.
- QB Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin
- QB Cole Snyder, Buffalo
- RB Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
- RB Chez Mellusi, Wisconsin
- RB Ron Cook, Buffalo
- RB Mike Washington, Buffalo
- WR Chimere Dike, Wisconsin
- WR Skyler Bell, Wisconsin
- WR Marlyn Johnson, Buffalo
While there aren’t any DFS picks at the time of writing, there are multiple players to keep an eye on for fantasy purposes.
Former SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai takes over as the starter for Wisconsin, which is completely changing their approach to an air raid offense. This change of philosophy should be beneficial for Mordecai since he ran the offense at SMU. It may seem like an adjustment for the Badgers, but Mordecai would be a good fantasy choice against a Buffalo secondary only returning two starters from last year.
The combination of Wisconsin running backs Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi running the football will hopefully not be overlooked in the air raid offense. Allen led the Badgers in rushing last season with 1,242 yards and 11 touchdowns. Look for those two backs to be more involved in the passing game, which could be how they make up the yardage that could be lost from passing the ball more.
Badgers’ wide receivers Chimere Dike and Skyler Bell will reap the benefits of the new offense the most, as they should see their production and touches increase dramatically. Dike and Bell were the top two receivers from last season, combining for 1,133 yards and 11 touchdowns for Wisconsin. They should be more attractive fantasy choices as their individual stats should double with an experienced quarterback and a new offense designed to throw the ball often.
In fantasy terms, any players for the Bulls are a risk as Wisconsin yearly has one of the best defenses in college football. Buffalo quarterback Cole Snyder makes an interesting choice after an 18-touchdown, eight-interception performance last season. Running backs Ron Cook and Mike Washington combined for 1,225 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, which could make them interesting choices, but they will split carries in the game.
Prediction for Buffalo vs. Wisconsin
Buffalo has ten total returning starters, with five on each side of the ball. The offense is expected to make a nice leap, scoring an impressive 28.5 points per game in Snyder’s first season as quarterback. Buffalo is very middle of the road at each position and could be in for another winning season, but they need to be in the running for a MAC title. We’re unsure if the talent is completely there to really compete with a Big Ten school like the Badgers.
Wisconsin’s offense will be a drastic change from the running ground and pound style they have been accustomed to for the last 30-plus years. New Badgers offensive coordinator Phil Longo has already stated he won’t move away from the running game, but this is a team that will be throwing it at a much higher rate than in the past. It wouldn’t be too much of a challenge for this offense to move the ball on Buffalo.
The Badgers’ defense has eight starters back on defense, and despite the loss of defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, the top ten talent is still there. In their 3-3-5 scheme and the lack of playmakers for the Bulls, Wisconsin’s secondary should be able to slow down the Bulls’ offense. This isn’t an offense Wisconsin should be worried about until maybe week two against Washington State.
This is a good game for Wisconsin to test out plays to see if they work for the players on the team. There might be some growing pains, so I’m not anticipating a 30–40-point blowout, but there is potential for the Badgers to put up points and yards. It’ll be a nice change of pace from what they have been doing prior to this season.
Wisconsin 35, Buffalo 14