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Wisconsin football at Minnesota Betting Preview

Can the Badgers cover the spread as road favorites once again?

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Wisconsin Badgers survived a scare against Nebraska and in turn, were unable to cover the spread. However, the back and forth shootout did allow the over to cash with ease. This week, the belief is that the slugfest type of game will return for the Badgers as they travel to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The spread for this game opened as Wisconsin as a six-point favorite and has held between that number and 6.5 points for most of the early part of the week and is now up to 7 over on DraftKings. The total for this contest opened at 38.5 and has bounced between that and 39 over the course of the week. We’ll of course dive into both of those numbers, but first, some notable trends.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

  • Wisconsin is 18-6 ATS as a road favorite under Paul Chryst
  • Wisconsin is 21-10 ATS as the road team under Paul Chryst
  • Minnesota is 6-5-1 ATS as a home underdog under PJ Fleck
  • Minnesota is 15-14-1 ATS as the home team under PJ Fleck
  • The total has gone under in three of the last four meetings between UW and UM

ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-7)

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Wisconsin Badger defense was hit for some big plays and it caused a lot of fans to have a concern about what has been a great group all season long. However, those big plays were largely created in the passing game, something Minnesota does not quite have. Coming into this week the Gophers have had an emphasis on running the football and have run it more than nearly every team in college football outside of the triple-option service academies.

That run-heavy approach has worked against some teams, but I think that plays right into the Wisconsin defense’s strength here. The Badgers head into the last week of the season as the nation’s top rushing defense and I don’t expect all that much to change here. I believe this group has the ability to shut down the Minnesota rushing attack, and in turn force quarterback Tanner Morgan to make plays to win. If that’s the case, I think Wisconsin will be in a position to force some turnovers and make life tough for this Minnesota attack.

On the other side of the football, Wisconsin’s rushing attack will be tested, but I still believe Braelon Allen and company will be able to put together a good day. This is the best rushing defense the Badgers have faced since Iowa, but this will also be the best rushing attack Minnesota has faced in quite some time. Wisconsin has had an identity to win games over the course of this streak, and I think the same recipe will be in play here. With advantages on both sides, I think a spread under a touchdown is favorable, and I’d likely lay it up to 8.5 here.

Over/Under? Over 39

If I have to make one bet on this game I like the spread much more than I like the total here. I believe you can make a case for either side depending on how you think things will shake out. For me, I do believe the Wisconsin offense will get a little bit of a fight, but I think eventually this group will be able to break loose for some big plays and points.

Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

On the other side, I think Minnesota’s offense plays right into the hands of Wisconsin’s strength which could cause problems for them scoring and contributing to that total. In turn, I think the under is very much in play. However, I have to take the over due to the fact that we could see some short fields in this spot.

Over the course of this winning streak, Wisconsin has done a great job of forcing turnovers and I think that could be in play here once again as the Badgers take away the Minnesota ground attack. If Wisconsin can slow that phase of the game things will fall squarely on Tanner Morgan, and I think that could force him into some mistakes and give Wisconsin some short fields to work with.

On the flip side, Wisconsin has not played in a road environment quite like this so it is feasible to think that the Badgers could struggle in that department too. For that reason, I think it will be close, but I lean over in this spot although I like the spread under a touchdown much more.