Welcome to Week 5 of the college football season. Last week brought several huge matchups that continued to shake up the landscape across the country. We have two Big Ten heavyweights about to throw down this Saturday.
Michigan has outperformed the modest expectations that came after last year’s middling performance. They have a dominant ground game and a young quarterback that has helped transform their offense. The defense has been stout as well despite not having multiple All-Big Ten performers.
The Badgers have their own offensive identity worth giving credence to. But their passing game has failed to reach the heights that came with former star prospect Graham Mertz. And now the program is on the ropes of falling out of conference contention.
Both teams have an interesting betting profile for us to consider as we preview how they stack up.
We have you covered from every angle. Let’s dig in.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, October 02, 2021 – 12:00 PM EDT at Camp Randall Stadium
Michigan Wolverines vs. Wisconsin Badgers Week 5 Odds
- Michigan +1 (+100)
- Over/Under 43.5 (-110)
- Moneyline - Michigan +100 and Wisconsin -120
Here’s a look at the preview between Michigan and Wisconsin for Week 5.
Wisconsin Offense vs. Michigan Defense
The easiest way to break down the Wisconsin offense is they must get more out of Graham Mertz in order to become a 10-win team in 2021. Everything that we normally love about a Wisconsin offense is in place; the running game is strong, the blockers are savvy, and there's enough defensive playmaking to beat better teams.
But Mertz has been a major disappointment ever since his first two career starts that netted seven touchdowns. Since November 14, 2020, Mertz has accumulated just three touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He's been more of a problem than an answer.
This bodes well for an excellent Michigan defense. Granted, the Wolverines haven't faced a rushing attack nearly as good as Wisconsin's, but they've been strong upfront and boast a well-performing secondary. Jim Harbaugh's defense will key into the run game and simply needs to hold their own to give their offense a great chance to win.
Michigan Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense
Few people probably would have guessed Michigan would rank 17th in the country in offensive scoring at any point this season. An efficient passing attack with Cade McNamara and an amazing running game with three stud performers have gotten them there, though. The trio of Blake Corum, Hassan Haskins, and Donovan Edwards have feasted behind an excellent offensive line.
Wisconsin will surely try to mirror what Michigan is attempting to do, which is stuff the run and force the young passer to be the lynchpin for the unit. The Badgers offer a stout defensive front and can accomplish this feat. But their secondary struggled to win one-on-one matchups against Notre Dame, and Michigan has similarly gifted receivers that present problems.
Simply put, McNamara must utilize his big-play threats efficiently and avoid turnovers. Receiver Cornelius Johnson is a phenomenal deep threat, but the rest of the unit has only one actual receiver with five or more catches. The young guys must step up.
Michigan is only 4-8 ATS in their last 12, and Wisconsin is just 2-6 in their last eight games. Both teams routinely hit the under, with Michigan hitting the under in four of their last five games, and Wisconsin going under on six of eight games.
I thought Wisconsin would be much better this year but they're dealing with bad quarterback play. This will cost them in every big game all year until it's fixed.
For my NCAAF pick, Michigan wins in a close game.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.