Rotation #162: Michigan (-11) (-110) over Wisconsin
Wisconsin has defied the odds by pulling upsets over both LSU (16-14) and Michigan State (30-6) to remain perfect in 2016. The Badgers now travel to face Michigan in the Big House before clashing with Ohio State and Iowa in subsequent weeks. Ouch!
Wisconsin’s strength is once again its defense that is allowing just 5.0 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.9 yards per play. The problem for the Badgers is their pedestrian offense that has been 0.1 yards per play better than average (5.5 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.4 yards per play).
Wisconsin’s ground attack has been disappointing, rating 0.1 yards per rush attempt worse than average, and star running back Corey Clement is averaging just 3.7 yards per rush play on 65 carries.
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst decided to insert quarterback Alex Hornibrook into the starting lineup last week, but the offense still performed 0.2 yards per play worse than average against Michigan State.
The Badgers’ upset win over the Spartans was also a mirage in that they were outgained, were -6 in first downs and benefitted from four Michigan State turnovers. Wisconsin has very little chance of moving the ball against an outstanding Michigan stop unit that has been 1.4 yards per play better than average (4.3 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.7 yards per play).
The Wolverines are particularly elite in the backfield where they are limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 49.1% completion rate at 5.6 yards per pass play (2.4 yards per pass attempt better than average in 2016). Michigan is also averaging 4.3 sacks per game so it could be a very long day for Hornibrook.
My math model favors Michigan by two touchdowns and the Badgers apply to a very negative road letdown situation that is predicated upon their upset win at Michigan State last week. I like the Wolverines and recommend laying the points in this game.