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Coming into 2018 the Wisconsin Badgers were 26-14 against the spread in three seasons under coach Paul Chryst. But runs like that are difficult to maintain, and Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS this season. Can the Badgers find financial success when they take on Michigan at the Big House on Saturday night?
College football point spread: The Wolverines opened as 6.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 28.6-26.0 Wolverines (College football picks on every game)
Why the Wisconsin Badgers can cover the spread
The Badgers reached 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in Big Ten play with a 41-24 victory over Nebraska last week. Wisconsin drove the opening possession of the game 15 plays to a field goal, running the first eight minutes off the clock. The Badgers led 20-3 at halftime and 41-17 after Heisman candidate running back Jonathan Taylor’s 88-yard touchdown bolt early in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for Wisconsin financial backers the Badgers allowed the Cornhuskers to score a meaningless touchdown with nine minutes to go, then fumbled a ball away inside Nebraska territory and came up one score short of covering a 20-point spread.
On the evening the Badgers ran the ball for 370 yards and won time of possession by a 36/24 split. Wisconsin has now out-gained and out-rushed each of its first five opponents this season.
Why the Michigan Wolverines can cover the spread
The Wolverines ran their winning streak to five and reached 3-0 in Big Ten play with a 42-21 victory over Maryland last week. Michigan opened the scoring with a field goal late in the first quarter, then fell down when it allowed the Terrapins to return the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. But the Wolverines used a 24-0 run spanning the halves to take control, and later tacked on a pick-six to secure the cash as 18-point favorites.
On the day Michigan out-gained Maryland 465-220, made 24 first downs to only 11 for the Terps, converted on nine-of-13 third-down situations and won time of possession by a 36/24 split.
The Wolverines have now out-gained each of their first three Big Ten opponents, Nebraska, Northwestern and Maryland, by an average of 259 yards.
Smart betting pick
Wisconsin won this matchup last year in Madison 24-10, but the Badgers are not as good now as they were then. Meanwhile, Michigan is better than it was that day, especially at quarterback. Smart money here gives the points with the Wolverines.
College football betting trends
The total has gone over in six of Michigan’s last seven games at home.
Michigan is 16-2 SU in its last 18 games at home.
The total has gone over in six of Wisconsin’s last eight games on the road.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.