Michigan vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds & Pick: Spread Swings Heavily Toward Badgers
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jim Harbaugh
Michigan vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds & Pick
- Odds: Wisconsin -3.5
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
- Location: Madison, Wisc.
All odds above as of Friday at 12 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
What would you have made the point spread between Michigan and Wisconsin if these teams played to open the season? The Wolverines a favorite, most likely.
Plenty of books put out Michigan anywhere from -4 to -7 in the summer, and the market shaped the line after that. And now after two games each, the spread has swung more than a touchdown in Wisconsin’s favor.
Is that an overreaction, or should you buy the Badgers hype? Let’s dive in.
Stuckey: Wisconsin vs. Michigan Is a Numbers Game
At the end of the day, sports betting is all a numbers game. And before this line came out, I said I’d play either team at +3.5 or better.
I grabbed Michigan +3.5 earlier in the week and still haven’t changed my stance.
Before the season started, the lookahead line for this game sat at around Michigan -4 or -5, which is in the ballpark of where I had it.
Obviously adjustments had to be made after the first two weeks when Michigan struggled (0-2 ATS) and Wisconsin absolutely dominated in two shutout wins (albeit against extremely inferior opponents).
But after making those adjustments, I had the game closer to a pick’em than 3 on either side, so a Wisconsin -3.5 is an overreaction in the market in my opinion.
The Michigan offense was not as bad as it looked against Army. It dealt with some bad fumble luck and just missed on a few big plays. All while quarterback Shea Patterson dealt with an oblique injury.
You had to expect some growing pains for a brand new offensive scheme (and completely different than last year) under the tutelage of a new offensive coordinator.
Plus, the bye couldn’t have come at a better time. It not only gave Patterson time to heal but it allowed for Michigan to work out some of the kinks in that brand new offense and just offered them more practice time to get the timing down. It also allowed others to get healthy, including tackle Jon Runyan and Donovan Peoples Jones.
Runyan, an All-Big Ten tackle last year and Michigan’s best lineman, missed the first two games and will be a big boost this weekend. And Peoples-Jones, who’s still questionable but I think will play, is Michigan’s best receiver. He’s the spark that can take this offense to the next level.
I expect a much more crisp and healthier offense overall for the Wolverines than what we saw in their first two games. I also expect a few wrinkles from Josh Gattis that will catch Wisconsin off guard. It’s not like Wisconsin has years of tape of what Michigan likes to do.
If Wisconsin could have chosen, it would’ve played last week. The Badgers have an identity and were rolling. This past bye week for both teams will benefit Michigan so much more.
Yes, I know Michigan hasn’t won in Madison and I know Jim Harbaugh is 0-6 as an underdog at Michigan (2-4 ATS) but again, it’s a numbers game.
If you can get that 3.5, take it.
Stuckey’s Pick: Michigan +3.5
Wilson: Why I’m Playing the Over
The stats backup the problems with the Wolverines that Stuckey mentioned.
Offensively, the line isn’t getting any push with a rank of 104th in power success rate. In pass protection the Wolverines are 99th in sack rate, leaving Shea Patterson open for plenty of turnovers thus far in the season. The execution of Josh Gattis’s new offense has not been there due to miscues and turnovers.
When you think of Michigan defense, you think of physicality and disruption. But Michigan is one of the worst defenses in causing havoc so far this season. A rank of 120th after 135 plays is a short sample size, but just 8 tackles for loss through two games is not typical Michigan defense.
Wisconsin is a tough gauge after games with Central Michigan and South Florida, but the Badgers are doing everything right so far. The offensive line is first in the nation in power success while protecting quarterback Jack Coan with a sack rate of 24th.
But it’s not very tough to have glitter all over the numbers when you limit an opponent like Central Michigan to 58 total yards.
Our Action Network projections make this game Wisconsin -1 with a total of 51. Michigan’s defense has not been able to control the trench, an aspect that the Badgers should exploit.
With the over/under a touchdown lower than our projection, I’ll recommend the over.
Keep the health of Michigan wide receiver Donovan People-Jones in mind, as his speed in the RPO will keep linebackers from doubling up outside contain. A healthy People-Jones and Shea Patterson’s healthy oblique could lead to more Michigan points. — Collin Wilson
Collin’s Pick: Over 44/44.5