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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Odds - Prediction

Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-3 SU, 4-5-2 ATS) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (9-2 SU, 9-2 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 13
Date/Time: Saturday, November 26 at 3:30pm ET
Where: Camp Randall
TV: BTN
by Evergreen, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: MINN +14.5/WISC -14.5
Over/Under Total: 44

Rivalry week in the Big Ten and while no other game rises to the level of Ohio State v. Michigan, there is another matchup that has a longer history. Minnesota heads to Madison this week to meet Wisconsin for the 126th edition of the most played rivalry in college football. They used to play for a slab of bacon but they now play for Paul Bunyanís Axe and there is a lot more on the line for the Badgers. A win this weekend sends Wisconsin to Indy for the Big Ten Championship game and perhaps a final four berth if they win the conference. The Gophers are going bowling this year with their record already at 8-3 but ending a 12-game losing streak to their next door neighbors would mean a lot more than just that ninth win.

Wisconsin plays the favorite this weekend with the online betting sites installing UW at -14 and a half. The underdog is 7-2 against the spread in the last nine between these teams and Minnesota is 5-0-2 ATS in their last seven as the visitor. Wisconsin is 8-1 ATS in the last nine against a Big Ten foe and the over has hit in the last eight at Camp Randall in this series. The Badgers are 8th in the Sagarin ratings with the Gophers at 44th. UW sports the 18th toughest schedule to date with Minny at 70th and the Gophers are 0-3 against the top-30. Wisconsin has played three top ten opponents, going 1-2 in those games, while Minnesota will be facing its first such opponent this weekend. The offense-defense method is calling for a 29-13 Wisconsin win.

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The weight of trying to win back the Axe has to be a borderline distraction for Minnesota. Wisconsin has won 19 of the last 21 games in this rivalry and you have to go back to 1993 to find the last time the Gophers beat a ranked Badger squad. These teams share geography, potential recruits and style of play so having such a lopsided win-loss ratio is almost inexplicable. Minnesota has found ways to beat Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan and everyone else at some point over the last decade but they just canít crack the Wisconsin code. Winning this weekend will be tough as this will be the toughest opponent Minnesota has faced and the Badger trend is upward. It is almost like Wisconsin lent Minnesota the playbook on how to win consistently in the Big Ten but ripped out the last few pages.

As always, Wisconsin will go as its run game goes. The Badgers are up to 200 rushing yards per game after three straight vintage efforts and they have found three quality backs to tote the rock. Corey Clement and Bradrick Shaw are thumpers that grind out yards and wear down defenses while Dare Ogunbowale is more slippery and found a role as a third down pass catcher. That trio has accounted for 18 total touchdowns so far and will almost certainly crack 2,000 rushing yards at some point Saturday. Minnesota is 16th against the run and allows just 3.3 yards per rush but much of that production has come against lesser competition and more passing-centric systems. It wonít be easy for Wisconsin to go up and down the field as the Gopher D is solid and more importantly healthy but it is hard to see a scenario where the Badgers have to go pass-heavy as a necessity.

Minnesota is going to run as well. They average 191 yards per game on the ground with Rodney Smith already over the 1,000 yard mark and he leads the team with 15 touchdowns. Mitch Leidner adds to the run game as a mobile quarterback but he has more rushing scores this season than passing touchdowns and seems to have regressed in the dropback scenarios. Wisconsin is 5th in the country against the run and allows just 13.4 points per game on average. Smith is not a homerun hitter out of the backfield so Leidner is going to need to find some more success through the air t convert those key third down situations. Drew Wolitarsky has been the ace receiver for the Gophers with 57 grabs for 711 yards but another consistent target has yet to emerge and that leaves Minnesota at risk of being shutdown if a defense can take away the well-known options.

Somehow, Wisconsin is making the most of a two-quarterback system. Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston have traded series through the last five weeks and it has seen the Badgers succeed as each QB brings a little something different. They have combined for 2,003 passing yards with 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions but the production seems to be increasing each week they stick with playing both. Houston is the stronger armed and the more mobile of the two and comes in to relieve the starter Hornibrook. Paul Chryst left Houston in for a while longer than normal against Purdue as he had the hot hand so look for a similar pattern if one signal caller really gets things going. Jazz Peavy and Troy Fumagalli lead the Badgers receivers group and while there isnít a ton of big play production from the passing game, Wisconsin has seen more and more open looks as the running game draws defenders.

Wisconsin has played the big brother role so well in this rivalry and I donít expect that to change in Madison this weekend. Fourteen-plus looks like a heavy spread to cover against an eight win team but those victories have come against the bottom half of the conference. Minnesota hasnít faced Ohio State or Michigan and has come up short against Nebraska, Iowa and Penn State. Wisconsin is likely a step up from those teams and there just isnít the offensive juice on the Minnesota side to overpower the stout Badger D. The UW offense is gaining steam and should be able to stay on track against a good but not great Gopher defense. Minnesota is a good pass rushing team but that will not matter if they canít put Bucky in a position to throw the ball often. Look for a close game at half that Wisconsin grabs a hold of as the second half wears on. The Badger run game sees continued success and the home team heads to a conference championship game after a 31-14 win.

Evergreenís Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Wisconsin

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NCAA Football Week 4 Betting Previews

Here are some additional game previews from this week's college football card.

Free Picks

Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!

Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.

Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.

Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.

College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.

Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.

Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.

2017/2018 College Football Predictions - Bob gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2018 National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8th.

2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions - USC QB Sam Darnold is a heavy pre-season favorite to win college football's most coveted award, but Jay isn't buying it. In fact, he's passing up the top (3) favored players in favor of a QB who he's confident will be NCAA football's best player in 2017.

2017-2018 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football experts have the Alabama Crimson Tide running away with the National Championship this season and who can blame them? Roll Tide is LOADED! It never happens that easy though. The USC Trojans (+825), Florida St. Seminoles (+850) and Ohio St. Buckckeyes (+875) all have a legit shot. Oddsmakers have Oklahoma (+1300) on the bubble and everybody looking from the outside in at 20/1 or higher. Jay gives his pick to win it all along with how his top 15 rankings for season's end. Get your bets in early before your favorite team's line drops!

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Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - USC QB Sam Darnold starts the season off as a heavy favorite at +350 odds. Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is second on the list at +700 but can he keep his nose clean? Louisville QB Lamar Jackson should dominate this season but will Louisville be taken seriously? Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman is worth a pop at 60/1 if he gets the carries. Bama WR Calvin Ridley brings experience and big-time playmaking ability and will be featured on National TV a bunch, giving him a legit darkhorse shot. But will they throw the ball enough with a QB who likes to run? Missing from this year's list of odds is a defensive player.

Odds to Win the 2017 College Football Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to win the National Championship this year at 5/2 followed by Ohio St. at 13/5, USC at 7/1 and FSU at 17/2. Things drop off a bit with the Oklahoma Sooners coming in at 12/1, Auburn Tigers at 14/1 and Michigan Wolverines at 16/1. Check out your favorite school's odds here!

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