Wisconsin vs LSU Prediction: ReliaQuest Bowl Odds and Picks

While LSU will be without Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels, there's still a lot to like about this offense against a Wisconsin squad that won't have much to counter with. We break it all down in our ReliaQuest Bowl betting picks below.

Jan 1, 2024 • 10:13 ET • 4 min read
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Not every New Year’s Day bowl game is treated equally. That's my way of saying welcome to the ReliaQuest Bowl, where the Wisconsin Badgers take on the LSU Tigers.

The Bayou Bengals are coming off a solid nine-win campaign but will be without Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels, who has opted out in favor of NFL Draft prep.

However, Daniels isn’t the only man sitting as the Badgers will be without several impact players, and the college football odds seem to think the Tigers will be just fine without the country’s most outstanding player.

I break down the ReliaQuest Bowl and bring you the best bet in my free college football picks for Wisconsin vs. LSU — for more ReliaQuest Bowl bets, check out our Wisconsin vs. LSU prop picks.

Wisconsin vs LSU best odds

Wisconsin vs LSU picks and predictions

Brian Kelly’s second season with the LSU Tigers wasn’t as successful as his first as they were unable to defend their SEC West crown.

However, this was still an exciting team that went 9-3 led by Heisman-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels. And if the Tigers had any sort of defense this season, a spot in the College Football Playoff wouldn’t have been out of the question.

Now, it’s no surprise that Daniels is opting out of this matchup but that doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t be potent on offense.

Highly touted recruit Garrett Nussmeier will make the start under center and it sounds like he’ll have some dangerous weapons at his disposal. Malik Nabers and Brain Thomas Jr. — who could both be first-round picks in the 2024 draft— have not opted out.

They will face a Wisconsin Badgers defense that has not been as strong as in years past. You can run on them a little bit and despite some solid overall numbers, the pass defense is suspect. The Badgers rank 57th in opponent completion percentage and 90th in defensive success rate vs. the pass.

To make matters worse, the Badgers defense will be missing three starters thanks to transfers and opt-outs.

Luke Fickell’s first season in Madison was uneven to put it nicely. The Badgers went 7-5 but they didn’t have any victories of note. Rutgers? Nebraska? Minnesota? Yeah, not great. They also had a five-game stretch where they went 1-4 and scored a combined 40 points in the four losses.

It felt like Wisconsin just didn’t have the personnel to run Fickell’s system, which is understandable in his first season, but he also brought in SMU transfer Tanner Mordecai to lead the offense and he just never found his groove. Backup Braedyn Lock wasn’t much better. As a team, Wisconsin ranked 90th in passing offensive success rate.

Of course, the Badgers relied on star running back Braelon Allen and he could have a big day against a porous LSU defense, but of course, he’s opted out. Meanwhile, starting wideouts Chimere Dike and Skyler Bell have entered the transfer portal.

So, sustaining drives could be a problem for the Badgers even against a suspect LSU defense. The Tigers are also getting back starters Mekhi Wingo and Zy Alexander.

It’s just difficult to see the Badgers keeping up with the Bayou Bengals in this bowl. I’m laying the points with LSU here as I think this line should be much closer to two touchdowns.

My best bet: LSU -9.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

Wisconsin vs LSU same-game parlay

LSU -9.5

Garrett Nussmeier Over 256.5 pass yards

Tanner Mordecai Under 180.5 pass yards

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Let's kick off my ReliaQuest Bowl SGP with my best bet: LSU -9.5. One of the reasons I think the Bayou Bengals can cover this number is because this could be the breakout game for quarterback Garrett Nussmeier. 

Some people may forget that LSU wanted Nussmeier to take the starting job from Jayden Daniels this offseason. That never came to fruition but it shows the confidence some in the program have in the young gunslinger, who has a talented arm (and even more talented weapons) at his disposal today. I hinted at the Badgers pass defense being suspect so let’s add Nussmeier to go Over 256.5 passing yards. 

While I like Nussmeier to put up some yards through the air, I’m not so confident with his counterpart Tanner Mordecai and I’m closing this SGP out with the Under on his 180.5 passing yards. Before you yell at me: I know, the LSU pass defense is bad... but they are getting some key defenders back and the Badgers are just devoid of all playmakers at the skill positions. 

Plus, there’s a chance Mordecai doesn’t even finish the game and he has landed below this number in five of his last six games.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Wisconsin vs LSU spread and Over/Under analysis

The spread for the ReliaQuest Bowl has seen some interesting line movement. LSU opened this matchup as about 10-point favorites but that fell to as low as 7.5 as many expected the Tigers to have more impact opt-outs than just Jayden Daniels. 

Now that it sounds like most of the LSU roster (Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. specifically) outside of Daniels will be available, the line has rebounded to around the opening line as of Friday.

I already broke down why I’m backing the Tigers, but they were also a great bet down the stretch going 6-1 ATS in their final seven games. The Badgers went just 4-6-2 ATS this season.

Meanwhile, the total hit the board at 55.5 and that’s where it remains at the time of writing. It feels a little like sportsbooks are over-adjusting to the fact Daniels won’t be playing.

Thanks to its elite offense and suspect defense, LSU was an Over machine this season, going above the number 11 times in 12 games.

The Tigers' offense led the country in scoring at 46.4 points per game. Now, they probably don’t hit that average without Daniels, but 35 points or so isn’t out of the question.

And even a bad Wisconsin offense should be able to put up a few scores against a defense that ranked 104th in opponent yards per play and 92nd in defensive success rate. I'd lean toward the Over here.

Wisconsin vs LSU betting trend to know

LSU went 6-1 ATS in its final seven games of the season. Find more college football betting trends for Wisconsin vs. LSU.

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Wisconsin vs LSU game info

Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Date: Monday, January 1, 2024
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET

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Wisconsin vs LSU weather

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