Week 3 of the NCAAF regular season was an exciting one, but there weren’t many in the way of marquee matchups. That’s not the case this weekend. There will be three games featuring Top 25 squads spread across the jam-packed Saturday slate.
The first of those games to kickoff is a Big Ten showdown between the #11 and #13 teams in the nation according to the latest AP poll. The Michigan Wolverines head to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.
Heading into the season, this game was highly-anticipated and being viewed as one which would give us a good sense of the pecking order in the Big Ten. That’s even more the case now. Both of these clubs are 2-0 and had Week 3 off in advance of the showdown.
The two teams are among the favorites in their respective divisions. The Big Ten as a whole is loaded this season with five ranked clubs through three weeks. A case can be made for each of them to take down the Big Ten this year, but it will all naturally be decided on the field.
That part of the process begins this weekend. On paper, this is one of the best games of the weekend, but we’ll have to wait and see if it lives up to the billing. The Wolverines haven’t been too impressive thus far, while the Badgers are looking like a team that can make some noise.
An extra week to prepare means both sides should be more than ready, so there will be zero valid excuses for flat performances once the ball is kicked off. Let’s take a look at this contest in full detail, starting with the way the NCAAF betting sites see it.
Michigan vs. Wisconsin, 12 PM EST, Sat. Sept.21, FOX
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Michigan vs. Wisconsin Pick:
The Wolverines remain perfect through two games, but they really had to work for it last time out. They welcomed Army to Ann Arbor, and the Black Knights gave them all they could handle. It was a hard-nosed affair which went to overtime. Michigan managed to survive with a 24-21 win, but there were a ton of questions to answer in the aftermath as they entered the game as 22.5-point favorites.
The Badgers have yet to be truly tested this season, but they also entered the Week 3 bye looking like one of the most impressive teams in the country. Opponents have yet to score a single point off of Wisconsin, but they’re having little trouble lighting up the scoreboard. Jonathan Taylor is off to a fantastic start to the year as he makes the case for Heisman consideration.
In the season opener, Michigan was able to pick up a 40-21 win over visiting Middle Tennessee. While the win is the bottom line, the team wasn’t overly impressive in the victory. At kickoff, the Wolverines were massive 36-point favorites. While the result was never in doubt, there were still plenty of questions to answer after this game as well.
Wisconsin opened the year with a road date at USF. They proceeded to beat the tar out of the Bulls by a score of 49-0. Taylor had four total scores and 183 combined yards in the rout. Week 2 was more of the same. Central Michigan came to town, and the Badgers walked off the field with a 61-0 victory. Taylor found the end zone four more times while racking up 119 total yards.
The Michigan defense is off to a pretty good start, but the performance of the offense has left something to be desired. Shea Patterson has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 410 yards and three scores while being sacked six times. Zach Charbonnet has been solid out of the backfield with a line of 41/190/3. Khaleke Hudson leads the defense with 20 tackles, while Jordan Glasgow has two sacks.
Taylor has been outstanding with eight total scores thus far, but there’s more to see here on the Wisconsin offense. Jack Coan has a 76.3 completion percentage for 564 yards and five TDs. Quintez Cephus has been the top pass catcher at 9/169/2. Mike Maskalunas leads the defense with 10 tackles, while Zack Baun has two of the team’s five sacks.
The Wolverines have dominated the all-time series with a mark of 51-15-1. The programs have matched up for the last three years in a row with Michigan winning two of those contests. Last season, they hooked up in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines were 9.5-point favorites at kickoff and cruised to a 38-13 win.
Through two games, Michigan is 0-2 against the spread and 1-1 on totals. Wisconsin is 2-0 ATS and 1-1 on the Over/Under. Last season, the Wolverines were 10-3 overall, 6-7 ATS, and 8-5 on totals. The Badgers were 8-5 straight-up, 4-9 ATS, and 6-7 on totals.
Michigan was not in an away underdog situation last season. Wisconsin was 5-2 overall and 1-6 ATS as a home favorite in 2018.
The pressure is on Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to deliver a Big Ten crown and take the program to the next level. Last season didn’t end too swell. The Wolverines were hammered by Ohio State in the final game of the regular season and followed that up with a stinker in a bowl loss to Florida.
Wisconsin hit some rough patches in 2018, but the program managed to close out the year on a high note by hammering Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl by a score of 35-3. Based on the performance through two games, they’re a team to watch in the Big Ten West.
For this contest, the Badgers are simply playing better football right now and look like the better team. The Wolverines offense hasn’t inspired confidence. They’ll have a tough time breaking through on the road versus a team which has yet to allow a point. Wisconsin wins and covers.