The #13 overall Wisconsin Badgers (9-2) travel to Minneapolis this weekend for a critical BIG 10 battle against the #9 overall Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-1) for the Paul Bunyan Ax. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM EST on November 30th at TCF Bank Stadium and the game will be nationally televised on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 14 college football odds, Minnesota opened as a 2-point home underdog earlier this week. The spread has increased by a full point after early betting, as the Golden Gophers are currently available at +3. The total for the game is sitting at 46 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Minnesota vs Wisconsin
Wisconsin won their third consecutive game last weekend, crushing Purdue 45-24 at home to improve to 9-2 on the season overall. The Badgers took an early 24-17 lead before tacking on three more touchdowns over the final two quarters of the game en route to a double-digit victory. QB Jack Coan went 15/19 for 203 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air while RB Jonathan Taylor racked up 222 rushing yards and a score on a game-high 28 carries. Quintez Cephus led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Wisconsin gained around 600 total yards of offense and found the end zone six times in the win.
The Badgers had an average outing on the other side of the ball against Purdue, surrendering over 350 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. Wisconsin had no answer for Boilermakers WR Brycen Hopkins, as he torched the secondary for 127 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions.
Minnesota rebounded nicely after suffering their first loss of the season back in Week 12, beating Northwestern 38-22 on the road to improve to 10-1 overall. The Golden Gophers scored 14 unanswered points in the first quarter and never looked back, cruising to a convincing win. QB Tanner Morgan played very well, going 15/23 for 211 passing yards and four touchdowns through the air. Shannon Brooks found the end zone on the ground, hitting pay dirt on one of his seven carries for 44 yards. Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman ran circles around the Wildcats secondary, combining for 203 receiving yards and four touchdowns. As a whole, Minnesota generated well over 400 total yards of offense and scored five touchdowns.
The Golden Gophers weren’t at their best defensively against Northwestern, giving up three touchdowns despite holding the Wildcats to just over 200 total yards of offense. Minnesota did do a pretty good job defending against the pass, allowing only 95 yards through the air.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Minnesota +3
This is actually a very interesting spot, as the Golden Gophers have historically really struggled in this BIG 10 rivalry. Wisconsin has taken down the Paul Bunyan Ax in nine out of the last ten meetings between these two schools, including seven consecutive wins on the road. However, this current Minnesota team is the best squad assembled in program history, as they had a chance to go undefeated this year before coming up just short against Iowa. Although there really doesn’t appear to be a ton of value on either side against the spread, I’m still leaning slightly towards taking the field goal and rolling with the home underdog in a matchup that could easily go either way. The Badgers struggles against Illinois earlier this season serve as a bit of a red flag as well, especially considering the fact that Minnesota crushed the Fighting Illini 40-17 at home back in early October.
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There is no doubt that the Golden Gophers have fared far better against the spread through their first eleven games, going 6-3-2 ATS so far this season. Minnesota has also really been solid over a smaller sample size as well, covering the number in six out of their last seven games overall. On the other side, Wisconsin is a troubling 1-4 ATS in their last five outings. They have also struggled against BIG 10 opponents, going just 3-5 against the spread over their last eight conference games. I can’t pass up the field goal in this spot, as I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Golden Gophers win this battle outright – give me Minnesota to cover!