Technically, neither one of these teams is out of the College Football Playoff race, though a loss here would change that. Michigan is still looking for its first legit win and this would be it even though Wisconsin already lost to BYU. The Wolverines were decent -7.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 48 as of Tuesday at YOUWAGER Sportsbook.
It’s unknown just how good these teams are and how good the Big Ten is as a whole and that may not change after this one. Michigan has had an easier time against weaker teams in the conference, though struggled to get past Northwestern on the road. Wisconsin’s best win was at Iowa, a Game that required two Fourth-quarter touchdowns.
One would think these teams usually play each other tight, but three of the last Four have been decided by at least 14 points, including last year’s 24-10 win for Wisconsin. When they met two years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan won 14-7, though the Badgers have covered the last Four. There’s a good chance this Game goes similar to last year’s meeting, but in favor of the home team and Michigan will have the edge in the ground Game.
The Badgers got nothing out of Alex Hornibrook last season, but they won on the back of Jonathan Taylor, who had 132 rushing yards. Matching that total on the road will be tough, especially against this Michigan defensive front, but this ground Game has been the only thing that’s worked in Wisconsin’s favor this year. Most notably, Taylor ran for 113 yards at Iowa and will have to do that again to have a chance. UM is allowing one of the best marks in the country at less than 100 rushing yards per Game and for the most part kept Maryland bottled up last week. If Taylor doesn’t reach at least Four yards per carry, Hornibrook will be forced into more action and that’s usually not a good thing to bet on, as seen when he struggled against BYU.
To keep this Game tight, Wisconsin’s defense will need to be better since it hasn’t been as dominant as year’s past, most notably allowing 130 rushing yards per contest. The Wolverines have Shea Patterson at quarterback, but their offense is not dissimilar to Wisconsin’s in that they want to run as much as possible behind Karan Higdon, who has hit 100 yards in the last Four Games. If he can do that, Michigan will be in business, but if there’s any kind of resistance, Patterson will be asked to do more and the jury is still out on him. He’s had some good Games, but in UM’s two closest ones, he didn’t have a touchdown against Notre Dame nor Northwestern. Due to that lack of high-end quarterback play, it’s also hard to back Michigan for more than a touchdown against a good team.
The Badgers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road Games, but 1-4 ATS in their last five overall. The Wolverines are 5-1 ATS in their last six home Games, but 3-7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Wisconsin is 9-1-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings between these schools, but the home team is 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight.
Our Pick – Wisconsin +9.5