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Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 7 vs. Illinois

Well, things certainly have changed in a week.

While Wisconsin has gone back to being a heavy favorite this week in its tussle with Illinois, the buzz among Badgers fans certainly has dwindled after last week’s loss at Michigan.

Yeah, no one is picking Wisconsin to lose this week (except one perhaps bitter Badgers fan, see below), but there isn’t the usual fervor in discussing the Badgers or in making picks.

We get that from the writers from around the country, after all, as mentioned, UW is more than three-touchdown favorite. But the fans …? Perhaps some are caught up in the NLCS, but I have the feeling its more than that. There were a lot of expectations surrounding Wisconsin this year (unfounded, in my opinion, which we touched on before the season in our five questions surrounding the team), and with the chance of a playoff out the window, some fans are just riding out the string.

But not here — we continue unbowed in finding predictions each week for Saturday’s games.

Here’s this week’s picks from around the web and Twitter:

The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 48, Illinois 21.

Pete Fiutak of Wisconsin 40, Illinois 16. “The running game will get things going, and then it’ll be Hornibrook, Hornibrook, Hornibrook, and the goal will be to get the running game back on track. Illinois doesn’t have any sort of a passing game to take advantage of the mediocre Badger secondary, and it’s going to be a long, long day against a run defense that will be fine.”

Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 14.

Mike Bainbridge of Athlon Sports: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 17. “On paper, this doesn’t appear to be an even matchup, even with the depleted Wisconsin secondary, and the Illini are probably catching the Badgers at the wrong time after the embarrassing performance last weekend against Michigan. Forcing another poor outing from Alex Hornibrook and creating a few splash plays on offense or special teams is a must if Illinois is to pull the upset. Against a motivated Wisconsin team on the road, that doesn’t seem likely.”

Athon Sports’ Mitch Light: Wisconsin 34, Illinois 13.

Jesse Temple of The Athletic ($): Wisconsin 41, Illinois 14. “Wisconsin already has played the top two defenses in the league in Michigan (238.0 yards per game) and Iowa (282.0 yards). The worst Big Ten defense belongs to Illinois, which is allowing 504.7 yards per game. This is the perfect game for Wisconsin to not only gash Illinois on the ground but also find more consistent success through the air. That should give Wisconsin’s defense, which continues to deal with injuries, some room to breathe.”

All three writers at the Illini Inquirer think Wisconsin will win. The scores: Jeremy Werner 45-20; Isaac Trotter 41-17; Ryan Easterling 38-17.

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 13. “Despite losing in blowout fashion at Michigan, Wisconsin hung on to a Top 25 spot. The Badgers won’t rise quickly, but a victory over Illinois and its susceptible run defense will put Wisconsin back on a winning path.”

Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Leader: Wisconsin 31, Illinois 10.

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Wisconsin 45, Illinois 16. “Their College Football Playoff hopes done, how do the Badgers respond? This should be a get-well week against a team they can physically dominate. Look for Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook to bounce back from the worst performance of his career (7-for-20, 100 yards, two interceptions at Michigan).”

Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 48, Illinois 20.

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 31, Illinois 0.

Al “Big Al’ Arend of the Herald-Palladium: Wisconsin 42, Illinois 10.

Bill Connelly of SB Nation: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 46, Illinois 21.

All seven analysts think Wisconsin will win but only one (Dennis Dodd) has the Badgers covering a 25 1/2-point spread.

All six analysts at pick Wisconsin to win.

Both Athlon Sports analysts are picking Wisconsin to win.

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