College Football Week 11 Predictions: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Minnesota Gophers

No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Gophers
Saturday, 11/12/11, 3:30 PM EST, TV:  N/A
Opening Point Spread:  Wisconsin -27.5
Current Betting Line:  Wisconsin -27
Opening Total:  63.5
Current Total:  63.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Wisconsin Badgers have won seven consecutive meetings with the Minnesota Gophers

Wisconsin Badgers are the only team in the country to rank among the top 10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense.  The Badgers tallied an impressive 62-17 win over the Purdue Boilermakers as 26-point home favorites last week, winning the statistical battle by 321 yards.  It also served a purpose in snapping a two-game losing streak.  “Two weeks that seemed like an eternity have just come to an end,” stated Badgers head coach Bret Bielema.  Wisconsin is 3-1 ATS as a favorite of 21.5 to 31 points, while the ‘over’ has cashed in all four of those games.

The Badgers have a punishing running game that is led by Doak Walker Award candidate Montee Ball, who leads the Big Ten Conference in all-purpose yardage.  Wisconsin is one of three teams nationally to average at least 240 yards rushing and receiving this season.  Quarterback Russell Wilson leads the country and is on pace to break the NCAA record in pass efficiency at 196.7.  On the defensive side of the ball, the team is fourth in the country in allowing just 156.9 yards per game, with Michigan State being the only one to throw for over 200 yards.

Minnesota has covered two consecutive games since a four-game spread losing streak, including a 31-24 loss to the Michigan State Spartans as 28-point road underdogs.  The Gophers actually out-gained the Spartans by 13 yards in that particular contest, which served as their first statistical win of the year.  That’s not likely to happen here against one of the best teams in the country, while also being held to fewer than 100 yards rushing in each of the last three meetings in this series.  Minnesota is 4-2 ATS as an underdog of 21.5 to 31 points the last two-plus years.

The Gophers will be meeting the Badgers for the 121st time Saturday, leading the all-time series with a 58-54-8 record.  Minnesota has lost the last seven meetings, including a 41-23 defeat as 21.5-point road underdogs last year.  The program has actually come from behind in each of its last 11 victories, with the most recent being a 22-21 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes as 14.5-point home underdogs.  Offensively, the team gained 415 yards against the nation’s No. 2 defense last week, led by wide receiver Da’Jon McKnight, who had nine receptions for 173 yards.

Bettors will likely back the Gophers due to their 6-0 ATS mark in November, while the Badgers are 3-10 ATS as a road favorite of 10.5 or more points.

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