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How and what to watch for No. 10 Wisconsin vs. No. 19 Northwestern

This is essentially a de facto Big Ten West title game for the Badgers and the Wildcats

Danny Davis III of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates his second half touchdown with Graham Mertz while playing the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon the 2-0 Wisconsin Badgers head to Evanston to take on the 4-0 Northwestern Wildcats in what looks like it will decide who will get the opportunity to play in the Big Ten title game next month.

The headline in this game is really that its a battle between two fantastic defensive units. Through four games Northwestern is allowing just 14 points per game and the Badgers are allowing just nine through its two games. Granted, neither team has had that big of a challenge yet in terms of competition. The Badgers offense has been far more productive than the Wildcats’ has. Quarterback Graham Mertz and company are putting up 47 points per game, while Pat Fitzgerald’s crew is putting up just 28.

The Badgers have allowed three sacks in two games, and Northwestern’s defensive front is good, getting to the QB seven times this season already. If they can keep a constant pressure on Mertz, the Wildcats have a chance to pull the upset.

Wisconsin won the last matchup of this series in 2019 with a 24-15 home win over the Wildcats, but the Badgers haven’t won in Evanston since 2016. Northwestern has won five of the last six matchups between the teams at Ryan Field, always in a very close game.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch No. 10 Wisconsin vs. No. 19 Northwestern on Saturday, November 21st at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC, or you can stream it here with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Wisconsin (-7.5) vs. Northwestern
Point Total: 44
Money line: Wisconsin (-335) vs. Northwestern (+255)

  • Wisconsin is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games, and Northwestern is 4-0-1 against the spread in that span.
  • Northwestern is 8-1 against the spread against Wisconsin and has won five of its last six home meetings straight up against the Badgers.
  • As one would expect from a Northwestern team, the total has gone under in four of its last five games. But Wisconsin has hit the over in seven of its last eight.

Betting splits

Wisconsin: (72% of handle, 70% percent of bets)
Northwestern: (28% of handle, 30% percent of bets)

The Best Bet

Despite all of Wisconsin’s success the past 20 years, the Badgers have really struggled going on the road to play Northwestern. It’s a tricky place to play, teams have to bring their own energy in that stadium and Wisconsin hasn’t been able to accomplish that. For that reason, I’m not too confident the Badgers cover, though they should win. It’s unlikely both teams reach the 20s, so let’s go with the under in this one.

Pick: Under 44

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