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Wisconsin Badgers (13) vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Picks and Predictions

13 November 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, November 14th
Time:7:30 PM ET
Network:ABC
Venue:Michigan Stadium
Spread:Wisconsin -4.5
O/U:54

The 1-0 Wisconsin Badgers will go on the road Saturday night to face off with the 1-2 Michigan Wolverines at 7:30 PM ET in Michigan Stadium. The Badgers come in as 4.5-point road favorites and we’re expecting quite a few points with a 54 over/under. It’s been a disappointing season for Michigan to date, but a victory over Wisconsin would help the morale. You can tune into the Big 10 showdown on ABC. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against Michigan.
  • Michigan is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Wisconsin’s last 6 games against an opponent in the Big Ten conference.
  • The total has gone OVER in 12 of Michigan’s last 18 games.

When The Wisconsin Badgers Have The Ball

The Badgers have had three total games scheduled, but they’ve only been able to play one due to COVID-related issues. They took care of the Illinois Fighting Illini 45-7 nearly three weeks ago in a game that was never in question. The Badgers threw for five touchdowns for the first time in a long time and the defense shut Illinois down in a major way. The Badgers have moved up to 13th in the country and a win here would put them into the discussion for a top-10 ranking.

This Badgers team is going to throw it more than you’re likely used to, and freshman Graham Mertz is why. The coaching staff has injected a boatload of hype into him in the offseason and he produced in game one, completing 20 of 21 passes for a 95% completion rate. He turned in five touchdowns and zero interceptions on top of 248 yards. Things couldn’t have gone much better for the freshman signal-caller in game one.

Mertz spread the ball around in the opener with five different pass-catchers making a substantial impact. In the Red Zone, he honed in on TE Jake Ferguson. He led the team with seven receptions for 72 yards and three touchdowns. He’s one of the best receiving TE’s in the country and will see 10+ targets in just about every game. Danny Davis III only caught two passes, but he was tied for the lead with 72 yards and a score. Jack Dunn and Kendric Pryor caught three passes apiece and are both going to have their games to go over 100 yards when defenses focus on Davis and Ferguson too much.

Wisconsin always wants to run the ball and they’ll do so with a three-headed attack in 2020. Garrett Groshek was the most effective (5.4 YPC) with 70 rushing yards on top of four receptions for 29 more yards. Nakia Watson got the most looks on the ground (19), and he will have to do better than 3.3 YPC. Isaac Guerendo carried it 11 times and he’ll be the number three unless Watson continues to struggle. All three will be able to stay fresh and offer different skill sets for defenses to prepare for.

When The Michigan Wolverines Have The Ball

The Wolverines season has turned into a disaster. Questions are surrounding the safety of Jim Harbaugh’s job for what feels like the fifth season in a row. After they opened the season with a win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, they’ve been beaten handedly by both Michigan State and Indiana in ugly games. The Wolverines were favored in both games and never had a chance to win. While the Wolverines might not have much to play for at this point, this is a rivalry game and both sides are going to come out on fire.

QB Joe Milton hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t been very good in either of these last two contests. They’ve needed him to step up and he simply hasn’t. Through three games, he’s completed just 60% of his passes for 869 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He’s added 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground and needs to run the ball more against Wisconsin.

Wideout Ronnie Bell has been the Wolverines lone silver lining on offense, catching 14 balls for 269 yards and a touchdown. Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, and Giles Jackson have all caught between eight and 10 passes, but none of them have separated from the pack. I expect Wilson to do so as he gains chemistry with Milton. Blake Corum and Zach Charbonnet have also contributed out of the backfield with five catches each.

They’ve been able to run the ball well, but it’s hard to do so when you’re playing from behind early. Hassan Haskins has carried it 20 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns, averaging a crazy 7.8 YPC. Charbonnet and Corum have each complimented with 10 or so carries and neither has been as good as Haskins, or even close to it. This entire offense will need to step up if they want to have any chance of covering this spread.

Spread Prediction

The Badgers looked promising in their opening game and they have a lot more to play for than the Wolverines. Graham Mertz looks like he’s going to be one of the best Wisconsin QB’s of the last decade and this Michigan defense has been sliced up by the pass in each of the last two games. The Badgers have a better offensive line and they’ll be able to run the ball as well. Michigan hasn’t shown an ability to run or throw it with any consistency and the Badgers defensive line was active in week one. They forced eight hurries and were in the backfield on what felt like every play. I expect Mertz to have a lot of success early in this game and for the Wolverines to struggle offensively when forced to air it out. I’ll take the Badgers up to a touchdown on the road.

The Pick: Wisconsin -4.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

This number is too close to call. I certainly like taking the Badgers and the points more. If forced to make a call, I will ride with the over. The Badgers are throwing the ball more than ever before and Mertz completed 95% of his passes in week one. That isn’t sustainable by any measure, but it doesn’t mean the Badgers don’t have something going on here. Give me over 54.

The Pick: Over 54

Final Score Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Michigan 25

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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