No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (9-1 SU, 5-5 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines
(7-3 SU, 3-7 ATS), Week 12 NCAA Football, 12:00 p.m. EST, Saturday,
November 20, 2010, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich., TV: ESPN
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Wisc -4.5/Mich +4.5
Over/Under Total: 67
The 7th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers will try and stay in the lead for
the Big 10 Conference title when they travel to Ann Arbor this
Saturday to take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Big House known as Michigan Stadium.
But in order to do that the Badgers must exorcise some demons from the Big House and the state of Michigan in general, since they
havent won in Michigan Stadium since 1994 and they hold just a 6-27
record lifetime against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
Wisconsin was involved in two beatings this past week, the first one
was the beating they administered on the Indiana Hoosiers last
Saturday, 83-20. The second beating has come in the form of the
national media taking the Badgers to task for running up the score on
the Hoosiers, with most people taking exception to the Badgers 74-
yard touchdown pass from second-string quarterback Jon Budmayr midway
through the fourth quarter when they were already staked to a 69-13
Michigan enters Saturdays showdown on a mini two-game winning streak
of their own. After outlasting Illinois in their 67-65 overtime track
meet in Michigan Stadium a few weeks ago, last weekend the Wolverines
were able to overcome their five turnovers by cashing in on Purdues
five turnovers in a sloppy 27-16 victory over the Boilermakers on the
The bookies are expecting the Badgers to take care of business even
though the state of Michigan has been hard on them lately, opening
the game with Wisconsin as high as 6-point favorites on the road. The
betting line has come down quickly though, with the point spread all
the way down to Wisconsin minus -4.5 points by midweek at most of the
sportsbooks on the Web, with a scattering of 4s and 5s here and
The over/under total opened as low as 65 at a few sportsbooks, but
the number is already up to 67 currently at a majority of the
offshore books on the Internet.
The Badgers only loss this season has come at the hands of Michigan
State across the state in East Lansing, so it might be hard for the
Wolverines to sneak up on them this week. Plus, the Big House is the
site of Wisconsin coach Bret Bielemas worst loss ever during his
tenure. Back in 2008, the then-9th-ranked Badgers blew a 19-0
halftime lead in a heartbreaking 27-25 loss in what was the Big Ten
Conference opener for both teams. Wisconsin went on to lose four
straight, then got blown out in their bowl game to finish 7-6 and
Bielema nearly lost his job.
There are only a handful of players on the roster today that played in that 2008 game, but it only took a few minutes after the Indiana
blowout for Bielema to remind his players of that game and to knock
them off their pedestal in order to get them to focus on Michigan.
On paper, this game looks like it will be one of those last-team-with-
the-ball types of battles, with the Badgers 27th-ranked offense
(428.5 ypg) trying to keep pace with the Wolverines 5th-ranked unit
The Badgers rack up their yardage on the ground behind a mammoth offensive line, totaling 228 yards a game (12th in NCAA). Reigning
Big Ten player of the year John Clay is still nursing a sore knee and
is still questionable for Saturdays game, but it doesnt matter if
its Monte Ball, James White, or my Grandma running behind the
Badgers front five, Wisconsin will get their yards running the ball.
Especially since the Wolverines defense is highly suspect, giving up
433 yards a game including 163 of it on the ground.
Michigan also runs the ball very well (266.3 ypg 6th), but
quarterback Denard Robinson has made huge improvements this season in
the passing game as the Wolverines are nearly as effective throwing
it too (255.5 ypg 31st). Robinson still can force a few throws a
game (9 INT), which is what the Badgers 21st-ranked defense (315.6
ypg) will try and force him to do on certain passing downs.
I already discussed the Wolverines dominance in the series when they
play in the Big House, but most sports bettors would probably be
surprised to know that the Badgers are actually 6-1-1 ATS in the last
eight meetings. The lone ATS loss for the Badgers during that span
was the aforementioned 2008 game. The lone push was the previous game
played in Michigan Stadium, back in 2006 when the Wolverines won
27-13 as 14-point favorites.
The over wager has some strong betting trends to it too, with the
over going 4-1 in Michigans last five at home and 9-3 in the Badgers
last 12 games on the road.
Badgers Pick: I personally dont wager on Wisconsin (too biased), but I do think the Badgers will cover in this spot even though the state of Michigan seems to be their albatross. The coaching staff has
been showing tape of the 2008 game every day, all week, so I think
the Badgers will avoid the big letdown after last weeks 83-point
blowout. Michigan will get their points too, so even though 67 is a
large number, I think its the safest bet on the board for this game.
Im taking the over of 67.