The magic number 7 makes the Minnesota Golden Gophers our NCAAF pick for Saturday’s Big Ten tilt with the Wisconsin Badgers.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Saturday, November 27, 2021 – 04:00 PM EST at Huntington Bank Stadium
Paul Bunyan’s Axe is one of the coolest trophies there is. I mean, it’s no Slab of Bacon, but it’s a giant frickin’ axe – so of course, the Wisconsin Badgers (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) and Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-4 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) will be going all-out this Saturday when they meet in their regular-season finale.
The Badgers will probably win this rivalry game, as they have 16 of the last 17 times they’ve met. But the Golden Gophers have opened as 7-point home dogs on the NCAAF odds board at Heritage Sports, and even though the early consensus reports have 91 percent of bettors on Wisconsin, we’re looking at the other side for your Week 13 college football picks.
What’s in the Box?!
Part of this is old-school handicapping. Landing on the magic number 7 helps Minnesota, and this is expected to be a very low-scoring matchup, with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) opening their total at 39 points. It’s not easy to cover bigger spreads when there aren’t many points to go around.
The projections are in our favor, too. Jeff Sagarin at the USA Today has Wisconsin winning by 6.81 points, which doesn’t leave much profit margin, but FiveThirtyEight and ESPN’s Football Power Index both have the Badgers at about 63 percent to win. That’s the equivalent of –170 when you run it through the devilishly handsome BMR Odds Converter, and –170 is about the same as –4.5 according to Wizard of Odds.
P.J. Fleck and the Flecktones
With that in mind, it might be tempting to take the Gophers straight-up. They’re available at +230 on the college football odds at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), and yes, the early ML consensus is 100 percent on Minnesota. It’s been a lopsided series in recent years, but this is one of the better teams head coach P.J. Fleck has assembled since he arrived on the scene in 2017.
Then again, Paul Chryst has also put together a strong team, although not quite as good as the one that made the Rose Bowl two years ago – and definitely not the Orange Bowl winners from the 2017 campaign. Plus, Wisconsin have some natural betting value as a small-market program in the Big Ten; if this were Michigan or Ohio State, the Gophers might be an auto-bet.
As it stands, these teams have split the cash at 8-8-1 ATS during Wisconsin’s dominant run, so we’re very happy at the home office to see more than just a smidge of value on Minnesota for Saturday’s contest.
It’s still not worth breaking the bank over, but if you plan on watching the game and you want to spice it up with a bet, consider the Gophers ML. Otherwise, we’ll stick with the boring, lower-variance ATS bet for our official recommendation – and may the Axe be with you.
*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.