The Wisconsin Badgers hope to take one more step toward the College Football Playoff when they host the Michigan Wolverines. Kickoff is at noon EST on Saturday, November 18 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. The game will be nationally televised on Fox.
The Badgers are listed as 7.5-point favorites at home. However, Wisconsin opened at -10, so early betting has favored Michigan. The over/under is set at 41 points. Click here for a full list of Week 12 betting odds and links to game previews.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan Vegas Game Preview
Wisconsin is not yet in the top-4 of the Playoff rankings. But they’re getting closer after last week’s win over Iowa. It was the first time the Badgers played a ranked team all season and winningly convincingly should help their standing with the committee. There’s little chance of Wisconsin making the top-4 if they don’t go undefeated. But another convincing win this week wouldn’t hurt their case.
Michigan, meanwhile, is riding a three-game winning streak to push them to 8-2 on the season. Their wins during that span have come against Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland, so the competition has been the best. But the Wolverines have taken care of business each week. If they can close out the season with two wins, the Wolverines could take home at least a share of the Big Ten East division title.
Free Point Spread Pick & Prediction: Michigan -10.5
I’ve been skeptical of the Badgers for much of the year, but I’m buying Wisconsin after what they did to Iowa last week. Last week’s win shows me that Wisconsin understands what’s at stake and is playing to both win and impress the committee. That makes me want to lean toward the Badgers being able to cover with the line down to 7.5 points.
The Wisconsin defense allowed just 66 total yards and forced three turnovers against Iowa last week. That’s the same Iowa team that scored at will against Ohio State the previous week. With the Badgers playing at home against an inexperienced quarterback, I’ll take my chances with the Wisconsin defense having another dominating outing.
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To be fair, new Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters has played well during Michigan’s three-game winning streak. However, his numbers are still modest and the level of competition he faced wasn’t exactly impressive. Something will have to give when he goes on the road against a Wisconsin defense that’s giving up less than two touchdowns a game on the season.
Michigan has leaned on its running game more so during the last three weeks than at any point during the season. But that may not be enough against the Badgers. At some point, they’re going to need Peters to make a play in a big spot. With the last three games being comfortable victories for the Wolverines, he’s yet to prove he can do that.
The one thing that still worries me about Wisconsin is quarterback Alex Hornibrook. He threw three interceptions against Iowa last week, with two of those being returned for touchdowns. Considering how much the Badgers like to run the ball, that’s a huge concern. The Badgers aren’t asking too much from him, so the turnovers are even more worrying. The Michigan defense is also the best Hornibrook has seen this year. I’m concerned that he’ll turn the ball over and make it tough for the Badgers to take control of the game and win by more than a touchdown.
However, I trust the Wisconsin defense and running game more than I distrust Hornibrook to avoid costly turnovers. If Michigan were a better offensive team I’d be more concerned. But they have uncertainty at the quarterback position too. With their playoff hopes on the line, I’ll take my chances with Wisconsin beating Michigan convincingly and covering the spread.