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Minnesota vs Wisconsin Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Gophers

Minnesota vs Wisconsin Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Gophers article feature image
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Steven Branscombe/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim.

  • Minnesota travels to Madison on Saturday to take on Wisconsin in Big Ten afternoon action.
  • The Badgers enter as three-point favorites, but we see betting value on the other side.
  • Check out Mike Ianniello's full betting guide for Minnesota vs. Wisconsin below.

Minnesota vs Wisconsin Odds

Saturday, Nov. 26
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Minnesota Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3
-105
36.5
-110o / -110u
+140
Wisconsin Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3
-115
36.5
-110o / -110u
-165
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

These teams entered the season with the two highest preseason win totals in the Big Ten West Division. Instead, three teams are still alive in the West Division race, and neither Minnesota nor Wisconsin are among them.

But this is Rivalry Week, and this game still matters. Minnesota vs. Wisconsin is the most-played rivalry in the FBS, with 131 meetings between these two teams. The winner takes home Paul Bunyan’s Axe, which Minnesota currently holds.

This rivalry has been extremely competitive, with Wisconsin leading the all-time series, 62-61-8, although the Badgers have won 16 of the past 18 meetings.

Both of these teams have failed to meet expectations this season, but who will take home Paul Bunyan’s Axe this year?


Minnesota Golden Gophers

The big move the Golden Gophers made this offseason was bringing back offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca to try and recapture the magic of the 2019 season and it seems to have worked.

Minnesota ranks 12th in the country in Success Rate and is top 20 in both Passing Success and Rushing Success.

Obviously, running the ball is the strength of this team. The Golden Gophers are fourth in the country in Rushing Rate, sitting only behind the three service academies. Minnesota ranks 12th in the nation in Success Rate and Line Yards.

Running back Mohamed Ibrahim is one of the best backs in college football. He leads the country with both 152.4 rushing yards per game and 19 touchdowns.

Mo made him miss, and picked up big yards. 😵@_MoIbrahim x @GopherFootball pic.twitter.com/e6noEDQA6r

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 19, 2022

The biggest question here will be if fifth-year senior Tanner Morgan will be able to start at quarterback after missing the past two games. He’s second in Minnesota history in passing yards and touchdowns. If he can’t go, redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis will make his third career start.

Run the ball and play defense — that’s what Minnesota does, just like most Big Ten West teams. The Golden Gophers rank 10th in the country in Success Rate on defense. Even when teams have moved the ball, they’re eighth at Defensive Finishing Drives.

Minnesota’s defense ranks top-15 at defending the rush and the pass and is 12th in the country in tackling. The Golden Gophers have allowed just 29 total points in their past four games, granted that’s been against some pretty poor offenses.

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Wisconsin Badgers

After starting the year 2-3, Paul Chryst was fired and replaced by defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard.

Former four-star quarterback Graham Mertz continues to struggle under center and ranks ninth in the Big Ten in passing. He’s completing just 57% of his passes this season.

Wisconsin ranks 58th in the country in Success Rate and is 83rd in Pass Success. The Badgers really lack weapons on the outside and don’t even have the usual tight end safety net they’ve become accustomed to.

The star of this team continues to be running back Braelon Allen. But he hasn’t been as dominant as he was last season. His yards-per-carry rate has dropped from 6.8 to 5.4, which puts him eighth in the conference.

Just like Minnesota, Wisconsin runs the ball at a top-20 play rate and plays solid defense. But this defense isn’t the top-10 unit we are used to seeing. The Badgers rank 23rd in the country in Success Rate, though their strength is against the run.

Despite their defensive coordinator acting as interim head coach, the Badgers rank just 68th in tackle grade this season, which is uncharacteristic in Madison. This team is also a mess on special teams, ranking outside of the top 100.


Minnesota vs Wisconsin Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Minnesota and Wisconsin match up statistically:

Minnesota Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 12 17
Line Yards 12 14
Pass Success 18 51
Pass Blocking** 36 40
Havoc 12 30
Finishing Drives 20 59
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Wisconsin Offense vs. Minnesota Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 49 13
Line Yards 50 24
Pass Success 83 14
Pass Blocking** 26 106
Havoc 70 98
Finishing Drives 13 8
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 12 68
PFF Coverage 11 13
SP+ Special Teams 31 111
Seconds per Play 31.5 (129) 29.4 (118)
Rush Rate 68.4% (4) 61.2% (16)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Minnesota vs Wisconsin Betting Pick

I don’t really understand this line, as both teams have underperformed this season. Minnesota is 7-4 overall and 4-4 in conference play. Wisconsin is 6-5 overall and also 4-4 in conference play.

But I don’t know why Wisconsin is the favorite here. Minnesota ranks 12th in Success Rate on offense and 10th on defense. The Badgers rank 58th in Success Rate on offense and 23rd on defense.

They both want to do the same thing — run the ball and play defense — but the Golden Gophers have been better at running the ball and playing defense.

Ibrahim leads the country in rushing yards and touchdowns this season and will leave as the school’s all-time leading rusher and touchdown king.

This is likely Ibrahim’s final game in a Golden Gophers jersey. He has over 100 yards in every single game this season and set a career-high with 263 yards last week.

The only explanation for this line is Minnesota’s uncertainty at quarterback.

But even so, I don’t think that will make much of a difference given the fact that the Gophers attempt the sixth-fewest passes in the country. No matter who is at quarterback for Minnesota, Mertz will be on the other side.

Our Action Network Power Ratings have these two teams rated even. Even if you adjust Wisconsin up for home-field advantage, that shouldn’t be worth 3.5 points.

Pick: Minnesota +3.5 (Play to +2)

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