The last time the Michigan Wolverines took the field, they staved off what could have been a monumental upset in overtime against Army. The Wisconsin Badgers, meanwhile, have not allowed a point through two games.
Both teams have had two weeks off to prepare for their Big Ten opener, and now the Wolverines and Badgers will meet on Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall in Madison for one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the month.
Wisconsin has boasted a strong defense in two early-season non-league games facing South Florida and Central Michigan. Combining for 110 points over two games and allowing none, the Badgers have done it all on both sides of the ball. But they haven’t yet faced an opponent as dynamic as Michigan.
Michigan Wolverines at Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 12 p.m.
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: Wisconsin (-3.5 at -104)
Over/Under: 44.5 (O -115 | U -105)
The Wolverines, behind quarterback Shea Patterson, feature an offense equally as adept at running and passing. Michigan averages 226 yards in the air and 171 yards on the ground per game this season. While the figures independently aren’t totally impressive, it shows Michigan’s ability to vary things on offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan is one of the top pass defending teams in the nation allowing 138 yards per game through the air, good for tenth in the country. Through two games, the Wolverines are also 19th in FBS with three fumble recoveries.
It’s almost easier to say what Wisconsin has done wrong this season. The Badgers are the top defensive team in the country allowing no points and just 107 yards per game. In terms of discipline, Wisconsin has taken only five penalties for 50 yards this season.
Their run-stopping has been most impressive, with opponents averaging just 20.5 yards over their first two games. This has been a result of the Badgers allowing opponents to convert just 14 percent of their third downs.
Quarterback Jack Coan has been extremely efficient, throwing for over 500 yards so far and five touchdowns to no interceptions. He’s had the assistance of Jonathan Taylor, who has rushed for 237 yards in the first two games. There may be some concern of rust from not playing for two weeks, but he did have nearly 200 all-purpose yards in the season opener.
Both these teams do well to defend the pass, meaning the game will be decided by who can move the ball more effectively on the ground. In building a strong run game, it will open the airways for some big passing plays.
Wisconsin is a big under team but has gone over in three of its last five matchups with Michigan. Meanwhile, the Wolverines have been trending over as of late.
Pick: Despite recent trends, bet on total hitting under 44.5 points and it could be by as little as half a point. Wisconsin’s defense has held up so far, but if Michigan can score early it might be a long day for the Badgers. Take Michigan against the spread in what might be a closely-contested classic in Badgertown.