... Not So Fast: Underdog Michigan Will Keep It Close at Wisconsin

michigan wisconsin

Willie Bee

Thursday, November 16, 2017 2:07 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 2:07 PM UTC

No. 5 Wisconsin faces its 2nd straight ranked foe this Saturday, and the Badgers are touchdown favorites on the NCAA football odds to take down visiting No. 24 Michigan.

NCAAF Season Record: 35-39-5 (-4.90)

Free NCAAF Pick: Michigan +7½Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Should we be on upset alert for Saturday’s matchup between Michigan and Wisconsin? If early wagering is any indication, the answer’s yes. BetOnline sent the Badgers out -9½, with that spread dropping two points as the bulk of the wagers for the 12 PM (ET) clash on FOX came in on the Wolverines. The total for the Big Ten matchup at Camp Randall Stadium has also been on the decline, down to 40 after beginning at 42.

The last unbeaten team in the Big Ten, Wisconsin rose to No. 5 in the latest CFP rankings while Michigan checks in No. 24 on the same list. The Badgers have already clinched the West Division title and spot in the conference championship. The Wolverines are a game behind Ohio State in the East Division race, and can really throw things into a mess if they can upset both Wisconsin followed by another upset of the Buckeyes a week from now.


Badgers Off Stellar Defensive Performance Vs. Iowa

Since getting demolished at Penn State, Michigan has reeled off three consecutive wins and covered the NCAA football odds as a 2+ TD favorite in the last two. The Wolverines built a 28-0 halftime lead in College Park last week, then coasted to a 35-10 victory over Maryland as 14½-point chalk. The offense barely crossed the 300-yard mark and ranks in the bottom half of the country in both scoring and yardage, but managed to play turnover-free for a 2nd straight week. They could be without leading rusher Karan Higdon, who is questionable with an ankle injury.

Wisconsin has plenty of injury concerns of its own, the biggest two being wide receiver Quintez Cephus and center Tyler Biadasz. Cephus has already run his last pass route of the year after being hurt in the win at Indiana two weeks ago, while Biadasz is questionable with a knee injury from the recent triumph over Iowa. Paul Chryst could once again be left depending on his defense, which isn’t a bad thing since the Badgers have one of the best units in the nation.


Rivalry Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

Because of the unbalanced Big Ten schedule, the Wolverines and Badgers are meeting for just the second time since 2010 with Michigan holding a 50-14-1 lead in the rivalry. Last year’s matchup in Ann Arbor was a defensive battle that finished 14-7 in favor of the Maize & Blue. Wisconsin was getting 11½ to collect for its backers a third consecutive meeting. The final didn’t reach the halfway mark on a 44½-point total, stopping a 4-game win streak for ‘over’ bettors.

The weatherman is calling for a good chance of snow showers in Madison during the morning on Saturday, temps staying in the mid-to-upper 30s most of the afternoon with a 15-20 mph NW wind to complicate things. I’m going to take the points for my free college football pick even though I’ve never had much luck betting on Jim Harbaugh teams.

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