Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST
NORTHWESTERN +7.5 over Wisconsin
Ryan Field – Evanston, IL
Streaming: On most ABC channels
3:30 PM EST. The Badgers opened up their campaign with a 45-7 thumping of Illinois after closing as a -20½-point favorite, resulting in an easy cover. Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 in the weeks to follow and subsequenting derailing Wisconsin’s season temporarily, the Badgers would pick up right where they left off last week when they annihilated Michigan 49-11, once again covering easy as a seven-point choice. Wisconsin’s against the spread (ATS) margin in that win was a resounding 31 points. In two games, Whisky has covered by a combined 48 points (!).
As a result of such a demonstration of supremacy against the number, the Badgers stock is through the roof. Wisconsin has passed its first two tests with flying colors and there is a natural market reaction that we will attempt to take advantage of.
Make no mistake that Illinois and Michigan are both dregs. The Illini and the Wolverines have just two wins between them, but Northwestern has four wins and no losses, some of which were obtained against quality opponents. On the season, the Wildcats stand 4-0 straight-up and 3-0-1 against the spread but unlike the Badgers, the Wildcats are not making their backers feel comfortable. Northwestern has covered by a combined 7 points in its last three games. Whisky has covered by a combined 48 in two games and that’s the difference in market perception.
Casting the metrics aside which perhaps illustrate that Northwestern may be in line for a more comprehensive cover while Wisconsin may be in line for a correction, this is a Northwestern team that has attained hard-fought road wins against two premium opponents in Purdue and Iowa. Wisconsin has yet to be battle tested and there is something to be said about such a battle-tested team like Northwestern taking back more than a converted touchdown against a group like Wisconsin who remains untested and has feasted on cupcakes. Furthermore, this line opened at -7 and not the current price you see here. The books are expecting a tight one, as the total is just 45, which is low by today’s standards. Maybe Wisconsin is a true power but let’s see what happens when they play a quality outfit before we crown them. At the end of the day, it’s still always about value and in that regard, Wisky is being asked to spot inflated points to a confident, battle tested and highly motivated squad.
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NORTHWESTERN +7½ -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)