It looks as if Michigan will have a game this week, as No. 13 Wisconsin has been cleared to return to action after missing two weeks.
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) November 9, 2020
Will the time off for the Badgers lead to a poor showing against a Michigan team that is reeling?
Can the Wolverines regroup and do something they haven’t been able to do in the Jim Harbaugh era?
Let’s take a look at the odds and the stats leading into this Wisconsin vs. Michigan Big Ten matchup.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan odds: Badgers favored on the road
Michigan (1-2, 1-2 Big Ten) is set to play host to Wisconsin (1-0, 1-0):
- Where: Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor
- When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET
- Watch: The game airs live on ABC.
Due to Wisconsin’s issues with COVID-19, some sportsbooks are still not listing odds for this game as of this writing.
However, those that do have odds up see Wisconsin as the favorite. The Badgers are getting odds of -3.5 from DraftKings and FanDuel, and getting -4 odds from William Hill. (Odds below last updated at 10:30 a.m. EST Nov. 11.)
|Wisconsin at Michigan Week 11 odds||BetMGM||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet||William Hill|
(-110 juice unless noted)
|WIS -4.5 -105|
U-M +4.5 -115
(-110 juice unless noted)
|O 53.5 -113|
U 53.5 -108
For the moneyline, Wisconsin is ranging from -167 to -178, while Michigan is listed from +135 to +150.
The over/under is at 51.5 for two of the books, and 52 for the other.
Wisconsin has the upper hand heading into Saturday
Over the history of this NCAA football matchup, Michigan has been in firm control of Wisconsin. The Wolverines have a 51-16-1 advantage in the all-time series.
However, Wisconsin has won five of the last eight in the series, and the Badgers have been the play for Michigan sports betting fans. Wisconsin has covered in five of the last six against Michigan.
Another major trend to consider is that the Wolverines are 0-10 in games when they are a betting underdog with Harbaugh as coach.
Public betting is already siding with Wisconsin pretty strongly. The Badgers are getting 70% of the wagers currently as the betting favorite.
Wolverines look lost against Indiana
As if a loss at home to Michigan State wasn’t bad enough for Michigan fans, the Wolverines went out last week and were soundly beaten by Indiana on the road, 38-21.
Michigan was the betting favorite heading to Bloomington but couldn’t stop the Hoosiers’ passing attack.
The Wolverines gave up 460 total yards to IU, including 342 through the air. It marks the second consecutive game that Michigan’s secondary has been torched.
Against MSU, Rocky Lombardi threw for 323 yards on Michigan. Last Saturday, Michael Penix Jr. was 30 of 50 passing for 342 yards and three touchdowns.
The Wolverines attempted to mix in more zone coverage against Indiana, but it didn’t change the outcome. Michigan now ranks 104th nationally in passing defense.
Offensively, Michigan couldn’t do what it is known for against Indiana, and that is run the ball. The Wolverines had just 13 rushing yards on 18 attempts as a team.
While Joe Milton threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns, he still had two interceptions and was playing from behind throughout the second half.
Badgers eager to get back to action
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Wisconsin football program.
After opening its season with a dominant 45-7 win over Illinois, the Badgers were hit hard by the coronavirus.
Over the last two weeks, Wisconsin reached a peak of 27 active cases of the virus within the program. That forced cancellations with both Nebraska and Purdue.
On Monday, the program reported just five active cases. They have had no new positive tests in five of the six days. That has Wisconsin on track to resume practice this week and play against the Wolverines.
The big question for Wisconsin now is the status of quarterback Graham Mertz. Mertz tested positive for COVID-19 and Big Ten rules state that a player must sit out 21 days when testing positive.
That would expire in time to play against Michigan, but coach Paul Chryst wouldn’t give a concrete answer that Mertz would be available.
In the lone game this season, the freshman QB was 20 of 21 passing for 248 yards and five touchdowns against Illinois.
Wisconsin finished with 430 total yards against the Illini, including 182 rushing yards. Defensively, Wisconsin held Illinois to just 218 total yards, including only 87 passing yards.