(11) Michigan at (13) Wisconsin
Time: 11 AM CST Saturday
Spread: WIS -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The No. 13 ranked Wisconsin Badgers rolled through South Florida and Central Michigan, shutting both out, and winning by a collective 110-0. Now the Badgers host the visiting Michigan Wolverines, the No. 11 ranked team in the nation. Wisconsin is 3.5-point favorites on its home field, in a game with a low over/under set at 43.5 points according to NCAA Football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will kick off at 11 AM CST Saturday on FOX.
Thus far, Wisconsin has been dominant, but it has also not really been tested. The South Florida Bulls and Central Michigan Chippewas were not equipped to deal with the Badgers—Michigan, presumably, could be. Thus far, Wisconsin quarterback Jack Can has passed all tests. He has 564 yards on 76.3 percent passing with five touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is a nearly-spotless 184.5 and he averages 9.5 yards-per-reception. Behind him in the backfield, Jonathan Taylor has been dominant. He leads the team with 237 rushing yards, 6.8 yards-per-carry, and five touchdowns.
Nakia Watson is the No. 2 back and has 109 yards on 22 carries and a pair of TDs. The Badgers have averaged five yards-per-carry as a team and have nine rushing TDs through just two games. The team has scored another five TDs via the pass, with Quintez Cephus having two of those and Taylor having caught the other three out of the backfield. Cephus leads all receivers with nine catches (a team-high) and 169 yards. Taylor’s ability to catch and run makes him a unique talent at a key skill position, but we will see how well he fares against a much tougher Wolverine defense in Week 4. It will be his, and the Badgers, a first real test of the season. Kicker Collin Larsh has hit 15 of 15 PATs but is just 1 of 3 on field goals, with one of his misses being beyond midfield, however.
Michigan is 2-0 but has yet to face quality, either. It defeated Middle Tennessee 40-21 in Week 1 and defeated Army last out, winning just 24-21. The Wolverines will need to turn up the intensity to avoid disaster against a tough Big Ten rival this week.
Michigan fell from No. 7 in the rankings to No. 11 after needing two overtimes to defeat Army. Jake Moody hit a 43-yard field goal to end the knot, and the Wolverines narrowly escaped the disaster of a loss to a non-ranked opponent. Shea Patterson was mediocre at best, completing 19 of 29 for 207 yards but averaging just 7.1 yards-per-attempt with a paltry passer rating of 59.6. Zach Charbonnet rushed a lot, but not with great success. He picked up 100 yards on the day but needed 33 attempts for that. His three TD rushes redeemed him somewhat, but he had no attempts longer than 12-yards on the day. The rest of the team managed just eight yards, with Patterson costing Michigan 18-yards on his eight attempts. Ronnie Bell caught seven of the 20 receptions for 81 total yards, but Michigan failed to throw for a TD in the game.
Khaleke Hudson, Jordan Glasgow, Brad Hawkins, and Aidan Hutchinson all had double-digit tackle days, and the Wolverines had just one sack and just one tackle-for-loss in the game. That type of defensive intensity will not cut it against Wisconsin this week. There are a number of flags for this once top-10 football team that is already becoming exposed. Over two-thirds of bettors on Covers expect the Badgers to cover this week against Michigan.
ATS TRENDS (C/o Covers):