Michigan Wolverines at Wisconsin Badgers Betting Preview
A quick hop over Lake Michigan for the Wolverines as they travel to Madison for their first big test of the College Football season. Michigan has dominated this matchup historically, winning 75% of the 69 matchups all-time. The Badgers, however, have turned the tide on this rivalry, going 7-4 against the Wolverines over the past 20 years.
Jim Harbaugh and Paul Chryst each took over their respective schools in 2015, and Chryst holds the head-to-head advantage at 3-2. The Michigan faithful hoped that Harbaugh would bring the success that Chryst has shown at Wisconsin with three Big Ten Championship Game appearances.
According to BetUs, Wisconsin Badgers are coming into the match priced as -130 favorites, while Michigan Wolverines are +110 to take the W. Bovada has slightly different betting odds, with Wisconsin being priced -125 to take the W, while Michigan are at +105 to grab an away win.
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Michigan Wolverines Team Preview
The Wolverines extended Jim Harbaugh’s contract at the end of 2020 to the surprise of most College Football fans. His tenure as the headman in Ann Arbor has left a lot to be desired. The Wolverines have struggled to win big games and haven’t made a conference championship since the game’s induction.
Could this be the year all of that changes? The Wolverines are off to a 4-0 start, albeit against a questionable schedule. The offense is largely predicated on the running game, which is averaging close to 300 yards per game on the ground. Cade McNamara has taken the majority of the snaps at quarterback but hasn’t been asked to do much.
The brightest spot for the team has to be the lack of turnovers. Michigan is the first team since Alabama in 2017 to start the season without a turnover through their first four games. The defense has followed suit, unfortunately, and hasn’t taken the ball away much in their own right, but a positive turnover margin has helped Michigan to their fast start.
Michigan currently sits at 3-1 against the spread after failing to cover the betting line at home against Rutgers a week ago despite jumping out to a big lead. The Wolverines have hit the under total points betting line in three of their four games, mostly due to the defense not allowing more than 14 points in any game.
Wisconsin Badgers Team Preview
The Badgers have had one of the tougher starts to a season in college football. Their Week 1 opener was at home against Penn State, which is now ranked in the top five nationally. A week ago, they took on Notre Dame at Soldier Field in Chicago, another top ten matchup.
The Badgers have started the season 1-2, losing to the top ten teams mentioned above with a win over Eastern Michigan sandwiched in between. A big reason for the rocky start has been the play of quarterback Graham Mertz.
The sophomore quarterback ended last week’s game with back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns to blow the score wide open. Mertz has thrown just one touchdown to his six interceptions through the team’s first three games.
The defense currently ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten in points allowed per game, but the numbers are slightly skewed. The team gave up 41 points to Notre Dame, but two touchdowns were a result of Mertz interceptions, and a third was returned on a kickoff. Jim Leonhard’s unit only allows 23 rushing yards per game as it stands to start the season.
This game will ultimately come down to turnovers. Michigan has proven they’re not going to give the ball away easily, while Wisconsin has done the exact opposite. If Mertz can find a way to protect the ball and let the defense shut down the Michigan rushing attack, the Badgers should be able to get a win over Jim Harbaugh and company.
Don’t expect many points in this one in another Big Ten slugfest.