Wisconsin rides a five-game win streak into its meeting with Northwestern. The Badgers have been friendly to their backers in the college football odds by covering in four of those contests. Wisconsin, the West Division leader, controls its own destiny to reach the Big Ten title game.
Northwestern never trailed as a seven-point favorite in college football spreads en route to defeating Wisconsin 17-7 in 2020. The total was 43. The Wildcats and Badgers have alternated decisions in the last four meetings with the home team winning each time, including Wisconsin’s 24-15 triumph in 2019. The programs have split the last 16 get-togethers.
Next game: vs Purdue at Wrigley Field
Twelve-point underdog Northwestern trailed then-No. 22 Iowa by 14 with 10 minutes, 41 seconds left in the first half. The Wildcats buckled down on defense and generated enough offense in a 17-12 loss.
Northwestern moneyline players who were betting online were given one more chance with 1:51 remaining when the Wildcats got the ball at their own 24-yard line, but senior quarterback Andrew Marty immediately threw his third interception of the game.
Next game: vs Nebraska
Wisconsin’s 52-3 romp at Rutgers was literally over early. The Badgers took a 38-3 lead with 8:41 left in the third quarter as the players who backed the over 37½ rejoiced. Wisconsin was covering the 13-point spread 5:18 before halftime. Sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz had a big game by throwing three of his six touchdown passes this season.
Junior running back Chez Mellusi sustained a knee injury against Rutgers and is unlikely to play. Freshman tackle Jack Nelson, another starter, is also officially listed as questionable after leaving last week’s game. Mellusi, who transferred from Clemson, has rushed for a team-high 815 yards with five touchdowns.
Betting on the Game
Moneyline players jumped on Wisconsin as the Badgers went from -2200 to -2500 with Northwestern shifting from +1150 to +1250 in the broader betting market. There hasn’t been much movement in the point spread and total in the Las Vegas odds.
All signs point to the under as the Wildcats score the second-fewest points among Big Ten teams and are 120th among the 130 FBS schools at 18.2 points per game. The Badgers are fourth nationally in fewest points allowed at 15.4 and are No. 1 in the first quarter at 1.1.
Three of Northwestern’s last four games have stayed under while the low has been the way to go in Wisconsin’s last four as a home favorite of 10½ points or greater. The Badgers have covered in four straight Big Ten games, sandwiching a 20-14 triumph over Army as a 14-point choice.
The forecast is for temperatures in the upper 30s and a brisk wind, which could make throwing the ball tougher than it already is for these teams. Wisconsin could be a little less potent on offense if Mellusi cannot play, but his backups might run wild against a Northwestern rush defense that is last in the Big Ten and 124th nationally.
Mertz is coming off his best performance of the season and could be thrust into the game plan should the Wildcats sell out to stop the run. The Badgers will be plenty motivated with a trip to the Big Ten title game well within reach, so a stumble here appears to be highly unlikely.