The path is clear for Wisconsin to reach the College Football Playoff. Win out and the Badgers should be one of the top Four teams in the country. The only problem is that none of their remaining Games will come easy. The Badgers were -8 point favorites early in the week against Michigan as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
While Michigan already has two losses, this Game still has plenty of meaning, although mostly for Wisconsin. The Badgers are still getting disregarded on a national stage, yet are undefeated and just handled an Iowa team that ran through Ohio State the previous week. When these teams met last year, it was all about defense with the Wolverines winning 14-7 in Ann Arbor and things aren’t expected to change in this one.
In almost every category, these two defenses rank in the top 10 in the country. The Badgers give up 13.4 points and 248 yards per Game, while the Wolverines are at 16.4 points and 255 yards per Game. Michigan has looked better with Brandon Peters at quarterback, but level of competition is important heading into this Game. Peters has yet to pass more than 18 times in a Game as the rushing attack has done everything for Michigan. Top running back Karan Higdon’s status is of note as he deals with an ankle injury. Either way, Chris Evans can take over and Ty Isaac is supposedly healthy if it comes to it. But if Michigan’s running Game doesn’t work against this Wisconsin defense that allows only 81 rushing yards per Game, it’ll be on to Peters to pull the upset. So far, the third-string quarterback hasn’t been asked to do much, but that could change here.
The reason to take the Wolverines is on the other side of the ball because Wisconsin has similar issues with its quarterback. The Badgers are undefeated, but Alex Hornibrook leaves a lot to be desired, failing to throw for more than 200 yards in all but one Conference Game. He has thrown at least one interception in every Big Ten Game and even tossed two pick-sixes in the 38-14 against Iowa last week.
The Badgers are winning through their ground Game with Jonathan Taylor already at 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns. But similar to Michigan, things could be different in this Game against the Wolverines front line. If Wisconsin has any trouble running the ball, Hornibrook will be asked to do more and that’s not a good thing. For that reason alone, Wisconsin will be a hard team to back by more than a touchdown because Hornibrook simply can’t be trusted.
The Wolverines are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven vs. a team with a winning record and 1-7 ATS in their last eight following an ATS win. The Badgers are 2-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six following an ATS win. Michigan is 1-8-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – Wisconsin -7