Wisconsin Badgers predictions: Game 3 vs. Michigan

Two weeks ago we said here that this edition of Wisconsin game predictions would be more robust. Well, we weren’t lying.

The 13th-ranked Badgers matchup with No. 11 Michigan on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium is obviously of more interest than a low-level MAC opponent.

Wisconsin is a slight favorite (3 1/2 points) in the game. With the home team usually getting three points from Las Vegas, this means the matchup is basically a toss-up. But home-field advantage is the key.

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Most predictors from are taking Wisconsin to win — but it’s a majority, not unanimous. Badgers fans are, unsurprisingly, more optimistic.

Should be a fun one.

OK, here’s this week’s predictions from around the web and Twitter:

The Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 20.

Pete Fiutak of Collegefootballnews.com: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 20. “Michigan will come up with its share of big plays in the backfield with long defensive stretches of shutting down the Badger O, but on the other side, there won’t be enough of a Wolverine ground game to ever take control. The Badgers will get just enough good runs out of Taylor to control the clock, and Coan will connect on two big deep throws to get the O going. It’ll be a grind on both sides, but Wisconsin’s defense will be the difference in the fourth quarter as it comes up with three big stops to hang on.”

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic ($): Michigan 23, Wisconsin 17. “The Badgers are pretty banged up, both at tight end and in the middle of their defense. The hunch here is that Shea Patterson will clean up his game some after the idle week and the Michigan D will make the Badgers too one-dimensional.”

Bill Bender of The Sporting News: Michigan 29, Wisconsin 27. “Both teams had an extra week to prepare, and the pressure will be on the Wolverines to win a road game against a ranked team. That hasn’t come easy under Jim Harbaugh. Michigan, however, slows down Jonathan Taylor just enough to win a wild win in the fourth quarter.”

Stewart Mandel of The Athletic ($): Wisconsin 21, Michigan 17. “Two great defenses. Two offenses that still have some questions to answer. It will be interesting to see if Badgers QB Jack Coan continues his impressive start, and whether Michigan’s Shea Patterson looks more comfortable than against Army. In a toss-up game, I’ll go with the team that has Jonathan Taylor.”

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register: Michigan 23, Wisconsin 20. “Both teams should be well-prepared after an off week. Whatever happens will be revealing in terms of shaping the Big Ten Championship Game race. My 2 cents: The Wolverines won this matchup by 25 a year ago; they’re still loaded with talent; and Coan hasn’t faced a defense like this yet.”

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 21. “This is all on Shea Patterson. Michigan’s defense will keep the Wolverines close, but will the senior quarterback handle a coverage unit that held South Florida and Central Michigan to a combined 3.1 yards per attempt, zero touchdowns and three interceptions? That answer doesn’t look promising for Michigan.”

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel: Wisconsin 21, Michigan 14.

Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 24. “This matchup is a perfect barometer game for both teams. Wisconsin has been nearly perfect through its first two games of the season, but the competition will get significantly tougher this Saturday versus Michigan. The Wolverines have played a tougher schedule, but Harbaugh’s team needs to prove it can live up to the hype of being a preseason Big Ten title contender. Picking against Wisconsin at home isn’t easy. However, the guess here is improved health by Patterson helps Michigan’s offense connect on a few more plays downfield, including one in the fourth quarter that sets up the winning score.”

The four writers at Wolverines Wire are split (note: Pete Fituak also contributes, but he’s included separately above). The scores: Evan Petzold – Wisconsin, 24-17; Brandon Knapp — Michigan, 28-21; Matthew Lounsberry – Wisconsin, 27-23; Isaiah Hole – Michigan, 24-17.

Five of the six writers at The Wolverine pick Wisconsin to win.

Zac Al-Khateeb of The Sporting News: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 21. “The question in this game, however, is whether Michigan — particularly quarterback Shea Patterson — can overcome early struggles on offense and put points on the board. The Wolverines won this game last year by limiting Alex Hornibrook to 7-of-20 passing for 100 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. That means Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan will have to make plays through the air, as the Wolverines will almost certainly key in on Jonathan Taylor. If Coan can limit his mistakes, then Wisconsin can leave Madison with a close win. We think he does.”

Orion Sang of the Detroit Free Press: Wisconsin 27, Michigan 23. “I picked the Wolverines to win this game coming into the season. The rationale then: The offense would find enough big plays to win. Based on the fumbles, penalties and missed big plays thus far, it’s hard to envision that happening.”

Two other writers for the Detroit Free Press are split: Jeff Seidel has it Wisconsin 24-17 while Shawn Windsor calls it Michigan 23-20.

Three of four Detroit News writers pick Wisconsin to win. The scores: Angelique S. Chengelis – Wisconsin 17-14; Mark Charboneau – Wisconsin 24-17; John Niyo – Michigan 27-20; Bob Wojnowski – Wisconsin 24-20.

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Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press: Wisconsin 28, Michigan 24.

James Kratch of NJ.com: Doesn’t offer a score, but picks Michigan to win. “The first colossal Big Ten game of the year. I am higher on Michigan than most after the Wolverines’ slowish start, and I am not as high on the Badgers as many. Have a hunch Michigan puts it all together coming out of the bye week.”

Josh Slagter and Aaron McMann of MLive.com: Slagter – Michigan 23, Wisconsin 16. “If Shea Patterson really is healthy and Michigan’s offense avoids turnovers, the Wolverines have a great shot to pull off their first “upset” since 2013. Wisconsin’s defense hasn’t allowed a point, but the secondary remains untested and Michigan had success running the ball in this matchup last year. Michigan’s defense just has to be stout in the red one, and slow Jonathan Taylor enough to put the game in the hands of inexperienced QB Jack Coan.”; McMann – Wisconsin 27, Michigan 24. “After two games of Michigan dumping out its playbook only to revert back to handing the ball up the middle, with some fumbles and penalties mixed in, we’re going to see how Josh Gattis and co. handle its first test. Going on the road to take it makes it even more challenging, and challenging to pick the Wolverines. Wisconsin’s 110-0 scoring edge is impressive too, even if it was just South Florida and Central Michigan. The game winds up close, but there are just too many red flags with this offense pointing toward a Michigan loss here.”

Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: Wisconsin 24, Michigan 20. “Shea Patterson needs a strong game to leap back into September Heisman contention. That said, the overreaction to the Army non-loss was a bit out of control. I mean my goodness, no, Michigan is not the worst 2-0 team in the country, although the slot is wide open after Maryland and Illinois bombed last week.”

Joe Broback of Champions Insiders: Michigan 24, Wisconsin 20. “Coan is the X-Factor. If he’s a factor, Wisconsin’s in good hands. Jonathan Taylor will get the ball plenty, and Michigan must do everything for force Wisconsin to use other options. The atmosphere in Camp Randall will be intense, but we must see more out of the Badgers quarterback before we trust him.”

Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com: Michigan 21, Wisconsin 20.

Marc Ryan of ESPN Upstate Radio: Wisconsin 28, Michigan 16.

Bill Connelly of ESPN: His S&P+ projection has it Wisconsin 27, Michigan 18.

SportsLine Projection Model: Wisconsin 25, Michigan 23.

Brad Crawford and Chris Hummer of 247 Sports: Crawford — Wisconsin 24, Michigan 22; Hummer – Michigan 24, Wisconsin 21.

  1. Bradley McCullough of the Los Angeles Times: Wisconsin 27, Michigan 24 (OT).

Six of eight analysts at SI.com think Wisconsin will emerge with a victory. Joan Niesen writes: ” Jonathan Taylor has been something like unstoppable, and the Badgers offense is far more balanced and plays with a greater measure of ball security than it did in 2018. On the other side of the ball, its defense has been phenomenal. Meanwhile, Michigan’s defense may have lost a bit of its bite from a year ago, and its offense will almost certainly struggle to get the running game going against Wisconsin, which has all but eliminated that phase of the game for its opponents thus far. That’ll put pressure on Shea Patterson, and Wisconsin will ultimately win a close game.”

Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times: Picks Michigan to win.

An interesting split from the nine analysts for the Dallas Morning News – four not only have Wisconsin winning but also covering a 3-point spread while five have Michigan winning (and thus also covering).

All three at The Oregonian/OregonLive.com pick Wisconsin to win. The scores: Ken Goe, 28-24; Sean Meagher, 38-30; Joel Odom, 31-24.

Six of seven CBSSports.com analysts think Wisconsin will win (Tom Fornelli is the lone holdout) and five of seven have the Badgers covering a 3 1/2-point spread.

Two of three Athlon Sports analysts are picking Wisconsin to win (Steven Lassan, as noted above, is the holdout).

Five of six analysts at USAToday.com (Dan Wolken is the lone dissenter) pick Wisconsin to win.

All three analysts at FootballScoop.com pick Wisconsin to win.

Four of the seven pickers at KSL.com are taking Wisconsin.

No outright picks, but using a point spread of Michigan +3, three of five writers for the Detroit News pick Wisconsin (hence they think the Badgers will win outright).