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The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) have been in COVID protocol for two weeks but are now ready to take the field and travel for a Big Ten game against the struggling Michigan Wolverines (1-2). Saturday’s game kicks off at 7:30 pm ET on ABC from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Each team has won at home in the last two seasons, with Wisconsin winning 35-14 last year and Michigan taking the 2018 contest 38-13. Wisconsin has historically struggled in Ann Arbor, going 7-29 overall, with the last win coming in 2010. Overall, the Wolverines lead the series 51-16-1
Wisconsin Badgers Betting Outlook: Throw The Ball
Wisconsin last played on October 23 with a 45-7 home win against Illinois. Days later, quarterback Graham Mertz and head coach Paul Chryst were among the first in the program to test positive for COVID. Games against Nebraska and Purdue were canceled, and it is unknown who is available for Saturday’s game.
With a 21-day protocol, Mertz can return Saturday, but the Badgers have not announced if he or Chase Wolf can play. Mertz threw for 248 yards against Illinois with five touchdown passes and only one incompletion. Danny Vanden Boom is the other quarterback on the roster since Jack Coan was injured in pre-season practice.
Wisconsin ran for 182 yards against the Illini, led by Garrett Groshek’s 70 yards on 13 carries. Nakia Watson added 62 yards on 19 carries as the Badgers replace Jonathan Taylor, who is now on the Indianapolis Colts.
Mertz spread the ball around to six pass-catchers led by Jake Ferguson, who had seven catches for 72 yards and three touchdowns. Danny Davis had 72 yards on two catches as he and Mason Stokke caught touchdown passes.
Michigan Wolverines Betting Outlook: Shore Up The Passing Defense
Michigan has lost two games in a row, and their defense ranks 105th in the nation allowing 287 passing yards per game. They allowed 342 yards and three passing scores in last week’s loss at Indiana.
Quarterback Joe Milton has thrown for 869 yards in three games this season. He threw two interceptions in the loss at Indiana and overall has four touchdown passes.
The Wolverines tallied just 13 rushing yards against Indiana. Hassan Haskins leads the team with 157 yards and three scores on the season, while Milton has 102 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Ronnie Bell leads Michigan with 14 catches for 269 yards on the season. Cornelius Johnson has nine catches for 134 yards, and no player has caught more than one touchdown pass. Last week at Indiana, Bell had 149 yards on six catches with his first score of the season.
Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan Wolverines Betting Line
Despite having not played in three weeks, Michigan is favored by 4.5 points, and the total is 54.5.
Even without knowing who is available for Wisconsin, this is a good matchup for the Badgers. Wisconsin allowed just 87 passing yards against Illinois while moving the ball with ease. Michigan has struggled mightily on defense, and if they turn the ball over as they did against Indiana, this could get away from them quickly.
Free Pick: Badgers -4.5 (-110)