Michigan Wolverines vs. Wisconsin Badgers Pick 10/2/21
NCAA Football Week 5
When: Saturday, October 2 at 12p ET
Where: Camp Randall - Madison, WI
Point Spread: Mich +1/Wisc -1 (Bookmaker - They accept MASSIVE bets, are trustworthy and pay FAST!)
Over/Under Total: 43.5
We are getting into the meat of the college football season, and fates will start to be determined as teams head deeper into conference play. Michigan is somewhat of a surprise at 4-0 and is the 14th ranked team in the land as they head into Madison to take on Wisconsin. The Badgers are fresh off an ugly loss to Notre Dame and are in dire need of a statement win. Neither team has shown much in terms of offensive consistency so far, and Vegas has tabbed this game with a relatively low over/under total for a college game. Wisconsin won this matchup last season by a 49-11 score and have won three of the past four against Michigan.
Michigan looks to break a streak of six straight ATS losses when playing inside the Big Ten and the Wolverines are just 5-11 against the spread in their last 16 on the road. Wisconsin has lost five straight against the spread against conference foes and is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games as the favorite. The loss to Notre Dame was Wisconsin’s seventh straight to a ranked team, and Paul Chryst is 10-16 against ranked opponents in his five-plus years as UW’s head coach. Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz is now 5-5 in his career as a starter with zero wins against ranked teams. Michigan is 0-6 against the spread in their last six trips to Madison.
Uneasy in Ann Arbor
After an ugly two-win campaign in 2020, you’d expect Michigan fans to be ecstatic with the team at 4-0, but most of the talk this week was how bad the team looked in narrowly beating Rutgers last week. The Scarlet Knights outgained the Wolverines and notched more first downs as Michigan consistently went three-and-out in the second half after going ahead 20-3 at the break. The Wolverines hung on in large part to some self-inflicted wounds by Rutgers, but the fact that Michigan won while playing poorly is a sign this team is better than most thought heading into the season. Cade McNamara has played smart, and the team has not committed a turnover while ranking 17th in scoring. The run game ranks inside the top-5, and the offense is averaging 454 yards per game. The passing game is searching for a No. 1 weapon with no Michigan pass-catcher having more than eight receptions through four contests, but Cornelius Johnson has some big-play ability with a 24.8 yards per catch average. The defense has been solid in allowing just 303 yards per contest and ranking inside the top-25 against the run while giving up 11.5 points per game. Aidan Hutchinson leads the team with 4.5 sacks. The fans may be worried that Michigan is in for another rough day in Madison, but the stats say this game is no worse than a 50-50 contest.
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Wisconsin has been one of the more reliable teams of the last couple of decades, but they have been less recognizable this season as the team struggles to find its way on offense. The Badger offensive line has been a pipeline to the NFL, but production has been down with that group, and Wisconsin has fallen to 36th in rushing offense. Those struggles have led to more passing in obvious situations, and Graham Mertz has just one touchdown pass this season against six interceptions. Without the run game creating play-action opportunities, Wisconsin has bogged down and enters the week ranked 114th in scoring at 19 points per game. Their two losses have come against a pair of top-10 teams, and they could have won both contests, but this is shaping up to be a lost season if Wisconsin can’t get back on track on the ground. The defense hasn’t disappointed, and they lead the nation in rushing yards allowed at just 23 per game and 1.0 yards per carry. Jack Sanborn and Nick Herbig have brought consistent pressure from the linebacker level, and the Badgers recorded six sacks against Notre Dame.
Michigan Gets a Rare Win in Madison
The last four meetings between these schools have been lopsided affairs, but this game reminds me more of the 2016 contest that saw Michigan win by a 14-7 margin at home. Both teams were offensively challenged to some degree that season but were defensively strong, and the result was a low-scoring affair as predicted. There were several close-calls in that one that could have swung the decision, but Michigan won the time-of-possession, won the turnover battle, and did just enough to net the W. Look for a similarly paced game where special teams and field position will be key. Wisconsin has a small edge in playmakers on the outside, with seniors Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor providing capable targets, but Mertz has not been able to utilize them down the field. Michigan is not likely to see success on the ground, but Wisconsin has been beat with the pass underneath and over the middle as their coverage scheme can be soft. Penn State attacked that secondary in the second half of their game, and Notre Dame only moved the ball through the air last week, so Michigan has a target to go after. McNamara isn’t a gunslinger, but there will be enough opportunities on the outside to move the chains and get some points on the board. Wisconsin hasn’t been turning teams over, and they have been giving it away themselves. That will seal their fate again this week as they find themselves on the wrong side of a 16-14 final.
Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Michigan. Bet your Week 5 college football picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at Betnow!
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