Northwestern at Wisconsin
Time: 11 AM CST, Saturday
Spread: WIS -24
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Wisconsin Badgers leaped into the AP top-10 last week with its 35-14 pounding of the Michigan Wolverines. Wisconsin knocked off South Florida and Central Michigan in Weeks 1 and 2, but its crowning jewel was the pounding of the Wolverines. This week the Badgers host Northwestern as huge favorites, with a 24-point spread in favor of Wisconsin. The over/under is set at 45.5 total points according to NCAA Football oddsmakers at 5dimes, and the game will kick off at 11 AM CST Saturday on ABC.
Wisconsin gave Michigan the business last week. It held Shea Patterson to under 50 percent completions while forcing a turnover from the QB as well as forcing three fumbles and recovering two of those (Chris Orr and Eric Burrell were responsible, respectively). The defense was a very collective effort, with Jack Sanborn and Zack Baun leading the team with seven tackles apiece as well as a sack each. The Badgers had just those two sacks, but it kept the pressure on Patterson the entire game. Meanwhile, Wisconsin itself used the rush to dismantle Michigan.
Jack Coan was accurate in throwing 13 of 16, but the Badgers ran the ball 57 times to those 16 pass plays. Jonathan Taylor was the top beneficiary with his 203 yards and two touchdowns. The Badgers got another 156 yards from eight other players while averaging 6.3 yards-per-carry. Taylor has rushed for 440 yards through three games, and the junior is building on a great 2018 sophomore season. He rushed for 2,194 yards last year while averaging 7.1 yards-per-attempt. He ran for almost 2,000 yards his freshman season in 2017. Taylor should be able to carry Wisconsin provided its defense is as tough as it has been thus far. The Badgers are definitely in contention for a CFB playoff spot thus far, but it is early.
Northwestern is 1-2 thus far with losses in Weeks 1 and 3 to Stanford and Michigan State. Week 2 it defeated UNLV easily, knocking off the Running Rebels by a 30-14 count. The Wildcats find itself heavy underdogs this week, but that should be expected after surrounding 31 points to the Spartans last week.
Hunter Johnson has struggled at QB. He has completed just 48 percent of his looks and has four interceptions with just one touchdown to his credit. The only real silver lining for the Wildcats thus far is that No. 1 running back Drake Anderson has been fairly consistent and reliable. He has 237 yards on 5.3 yards-per-attempt and has notched two of the Wildcats’ four rushing touchdowns. Johnson has a TD, too, but he averages just 2.8 yards per, on his 29 attempts.
Bennett Skowronek has been good at wide receiver with 141 yards on 12 catches, but he has not scored via the pass yet, and the Wildcats have just that one passing TD, caught by JJ Jefferson (3 receptions, 69 yards). Tight end Charlie Mangieri should probably see more looks, as he has just two catches for 16 yards thus far.
ATS TRENDS (C/O Covers):