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Wisconsin vs. Michigan football betting preview

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Despite the poor performance the Badgers are...favorites this week?

Wisconsin v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last week, the Wisconsin Badgers traveled down to Solider Field and played a solid three quarters of football before everything crashed and burned. In the end, Wisconsin looked up at a final score of 41-13. Unfortunately for this column we took a tough 0-2 on the weekend as the Badgers did not cover, and the offense’s inability to stay out of it’s own way killed the under after two pick sixes.

That was a tough beat as the under was the right play the entire game, but we digress, and look to bounce back this week.

This game opened back up as a pick em but was quickly bet around to a few different spots. Currently, this line sits with Wisconsin as a one-point favorite in this contest. The total for this game opened at 44 and then moved to 43.5 where it has not moved since. We’ll dive into both of those numbers, but first, some notable trends.

  • Wisconsin is 16-21-1 ATS as a home favorite under Paul Chryst
  • Wisconsin is 10-9-1 ATS after a loss under Paul Chryst
  • Michigan is 3-9 ATS as an underdog under Jim Harbaugh
  • Michigan is 11-15-1 ATS in road spots under Jim Harbaugh
  • The under has hit in 6 of the last 8 Wisconsin contests
  • The under has hit in 4 of Michigan’s last five games
  • The over has hit in the last three matchups between Wisconsin-Michigan
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Shamrock Series - Notre Dame v Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-1)

Yes, I know you work hard for your money and you don’t want to see it wasted on this team. Fair, but let me finish. The pick seems so obvious, right? Yet Wisconsin seems to be getting the big money despite looking so poor. It’s a smelly line, and I would normally probably stay away, but if you want a side I think you’re betting on this Wisconsin defense and trying to get the Badgers in a buy-low spot in front of their home crowd.

So far this season Michigan has played all four games in the comfort of the Big House. They’ve won those games on a dominating rushing attack and felt very little pressure to be put into passing downs. They’ve run the ball 74% of the time so far this season but they’ll face their biggest test against this Badger front. Wisconsin is second in line yards and first in limiting explosive runs so far this season. I don’t expect that to change here.

That run defense should put pressure on Michigan to have to throw the ball with Cade McNamara, something they have not had to do all that much this season. McNamara has been a good game manager and has protected the football but he has not had the game put on his arm in a hostile road environment yet. Due to that, I think Wisconsin has a chance to really shut this offense down and the hope is the Badger offense can simply hang onto it long enough to get some points up or punt it away. I know it’s gross, but something doesn’t seem right here.

Wisconsin v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Over/Under? Under 43.5

The total has gone over in each of the last three contests between these two teams but I cannot bet an over in any game involving the Wisconsin Badgers right now. Yes, last week the under did not cash, but that was some extremely bad luck. The game was at 23 points entering the fourth quarter and the under was 100% the right side. A special team's touchdown and two pick-sixes aren’t something you can account for, but sometimes the bounces go that way.

This week, I would expect to see a very similar game to what we have seen in the Penn State and Notre Dame contest. Our poor eyes. Anyway, this Wisconsin defense is as stout as they come and I don’t believe Michigan will have anywhere near the success they have had running the football.

In turn, I think it will put pressure on Michigan’s pass offense which has not been tested or had to do too much. On the other side, we know what Wisconsin’s offense will be, and that is a recipe for an under IF (big if I know) they can hold onto the football. I think you have to bet on the under until proven an offense on either side can actually put up more than 17 points.