Hoping to stay in contention for Big Ten title berth, the Wisconsin Badgers play host to the Northwestern Wildcats in Week 11.
A majority of the early betting action is understandably on the Badgers, who opened as 10-point favorites (-110) and -340 on the moneyline. Northwestern, meanwhile, is +10 (-110) on the spread and +275 to win outright. The projected total is 42 (-110 Over, -110 Under), down from 44.5.
Will Wisconsin hold serve at home? Or is it ripe for an upset? Read on as we break down the Northwestern vs Wisconsin football odds in our college football game preview.
The Northwestern Wildcats are 4-2 against the spread over their last six games and 5-4 overall. Notably, they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Big Ten opponents. Conversely, the Wisconsin Badgers are 4-5 ATS. The total has gone Under in four of Wisconsin’s last five games. That’s important to remember when assessing the Northwestern vs Wisconsin football odds.
Banged Up Badgers
Is it time to fade Wisconsin? The Badgers have dropped three of four games following a 4-1 start. The latest was a 20-14 loss to Indiana, which snapped a six-game skid in conference. A 7.5-point favorite, Wisconsin fell behind 17-7 at halftime and failed to cover the spread for the first time since Oct. 14.
Despite that, because of the parity in the Big Ten West, the Badgers remain in contention for a conference title. The Badgers (5-4, 3-3) have the fourth-best Big Ten odds at +1600.
Freshman Braedyn Locke performed adequately in the absence of SMU transfer Tanner Mordecai (broken hand). He’s thrown for 647 yards and five touchdowns in three starts. But he’s just a 50% passer on the season, and Wisconsin ranks 88th in FBS in scoring (23.6 points per game).
Wisconsin is also without All-Big Ten running back Braelon Allen because of a leg injury. Allen, who leads the NCAAF team with 754 yards rushing (5.8 yards per carry), was hurt in a 24-10 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 4. The Badgers were already missing Chez Mellusi because of a broken leg.
Fortunately for Wisconsin, its remaining schedule is manageable. Following Northwestern are college football games against Nebraska and Minnesota. That leaves an opportunity for the Badgers- projected for 8.5 regular-season wins- to overtake Iowa atop the West. Keep that in mind when making your NCAAF picks.
Offense Plagues Northwestern
The Northwestern Wildcats lost 10-7 to Iowa last week, falling to 4-5 (2-4 Big Ten). While the Wildcats, a 5-point underdog, covered the spread for the third straight week, it was little consolation to a team that’s still chasing college bowl eligibility.
On the heels of a strong performance against Maryland (265 yards passing, 2 TDs), junior Brendan Sullivan passed for only 81 yards against Iowa. The Wildcats finished with 170 total yards.
Offense remains a major concern for the Wildcats. They rank 113th nationally in scoring, averaging only 20.1 points. While the Wildcats have gone Over the total in four of their five home games, they’re just 1-2 on the road. Remember that while you analyze the Northwestern vs Wisconsin football odds.
Projected for 3.5 wins, Northwestern has already surpassed expectations. They must win two of their final three games to become bowl-eligible for the first time since the COVID-shortened 2020 NCAAF season.
Handicapping the Game
Wisconsin has been resilient in the wake of injuries, staying in contention for a Big Ten title berth. Luke Fickell deserves credit for keeping the Badgers’ spirits intact following an injury to Mordecai. Although they’re clearly behind the likes of Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in the conference pecking order, the Badgers have a reasonable path to the conference championship game in Indianapolis.
They’re certainly better equipped than Northwestern, which is still searching for its identity on offense. Although the Wildcats have been fairly competitive against Wisconsin in recent memory — 6-3 ATS in the last nine meetings — they’re facing an uphill battle in this spot.
Wisconsin is a deserving double-digit favorite.