College Football Pick
This Game doesn’t look like much on the outside, but it does have some significance. Wisconsin needs to win if it wants a spot in the Big Ten title Game. Minnesota has outperformed expectations this season, but that won’t stop them from being large underdogs. The Badgers were -14.5 point home favorites early in the week.
Wisconsin still has a legitimate shot at reaching the College Football Playoff, but that’s only if they win out, the Conference championship included. The Badgers’ only two losses came at Michigan and home to Ohio State in overtime. since those losses, they’ve quelled any opponent, winning at Iowa and home to Nebraska. To close things out, they’ll need to dispose of a solid Minnesota team.
The Gophers have eight wins, but it’s hard to say if any of those can be considered good. They weren’t challenged in non-Conference play, yet barely beat Oregon State and Colorado State. They even had trouble beating Rutgers at home in a 34-32 Game. The only thing we know is that they can play to the level of competition as seen in their three losses, all by a touchdown or less. Maybe their best result all season was a three-point loss at Penn State.
The problem is that Wisconsin has won this meeting 12 straight times. Despite nothing from their passing offense last year, the Badgers ran for 257 yards and Four touchdowns in a 31-21 road win. That could easily be the case this time around, although probably lower scoring.
One of Minnesota’s touchdowns last year came on a pick-six, while their final touchdown was in garbage time. They ran for just 53 yards, while Mitch Leidner threw three picks. Nothing has changed for the Gophers except that they aren’t making Leidner throw as much, which is why his interception total is lower. He still only has six TDs and eight INTs on the year.
Wisconsin may have the best run defense of any team they’ve seen this season, and that will be problem some for both Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith. Those guys have beat up on weaker opponents, but couldn’t do much against a defense like Iowa’s.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Minnesota doesn’t reach double digits in this Game.
The Gophers are OK defensively, but again, gave up 32 points to Rutgers. The Badgers will take the same approach as last year and pound the run Game between Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale. Clement has hit 100 yards in five of the last six Games and should reach that mark again. As long as Alex Hornibrook doesn’t throw any interceptions, this offense will be fine. He’s only attempted 21 total passes in the last two Games.
If Minny’s defense can get a few stops, the under is a good possibility here with the result going similar to Minnesota’s previous Game against Iowa (14-7). However, Wisconsin’s offense is a bit better than Iowa’s.
The Gophers are 5-0-2 ATS in their last seven road Games but haven’t covered in their last Four following an ATS win. The Badgers are 8-1 ATS in their last nine Conference Games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven home Games. The over has hit in a surprising eight straight meetings between these teams played in Madison, while the underdog is 7-2 ATS in the last nine overall meetings.
Our Picks – Wisconsin -14.5 and Under 44