Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have opened as small home favorites vs Wisconsin in Week 11. (Photo by Mark Goldman Icon Sportswire).
- Michigan has opened as a 1-point home favorite vs Wisconsin in Week 11
- The Badgers have only played one game this season due to a COVID-19 outbreak
- Read below for an early look at the matchup and whether the line will move leading up to kickoff
Michigan will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak when they host No. 13 Wisconsin in Week 11. The Wolverines have opened as 1-point favorites at the Big House on Saturday, Nov. 14 (7:30 PM EST).
Wisconsin has been kept off the field for two straight weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak, but things are trending in the right direction for Graham Mertz and the Badgers.
Could they become favored before kickoff?
#13 Wisconsin vs Michigan Week 11 Opening Odds
|No. 13 Wisconsin||+1.0 (-110)||-110||OFF|
Odds taken Nov. 8 at FanDuel
Harbaugh on Hot Seat
Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is firmly on the hot seat after his team suffered a second consecutive loss at the hands of Indiana in Week 10.
Michigan lost the possession battle by a wide margin, as their defense couldn’t get off the field in a 38-21 loss.
This feels like the end for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. The most overrated coach in college football history strikes again.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 31, 2020
Michigan is off to a 1-2 start after losing to the Hoosiers for the first time since 1987. The Wolverines other loss was against a Michigan State team that lost to Rutgers early in the season before getting thrashed 49-7 by Iowa in Week 10.
The Wolverines have been a disappointment this season, but they’ve still been finding ways to score. QB Joe Milton has thrown for 869 passing yards and is completing 60.7% of his passes, which has helped Michigan account for at least three touchdowns in each of its first three games.
Badgers Impressed in Season Opener
We have a very small sample size for this Wisconsin team heading into Week 11. The Badgers rolled over Illinois 45-7 in their Big 10 opener before having games against Nebraska and Purdue cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the team.
QB Graham Mertz was the story against Illini, as the redshirt freshman set a school record for completion percentage by going 20-of-21 passing for 248 yards and five touchdowns in the victory. The Badgers have long been known for their dominant ground game, so it was quite the sight to see them with an electric passing attack.
Mertz tested positive for COVID-19 the Oct. 24 weekend, and reports indicate he could join the team as early as Nov. 13, which would be one day before the Michigan game. The Badgers’ QB situation is worrisome, as original starter Jack Coan is out indefinitely, while third-stringer Chase Wolf tested positive for the virus around the same time as Mertz.
Michigan’s “Big House Advantage”
While Michigan is rarely the underdog at the Big House in Ann Arbour, this year is different. Not only are the Wolverines off to a miserable start, but no fans are permitted to attend games at Michigan Stadium due to COVID-19 protocols.
2020: where there are more players on the field than people in the stands at Michigan Stadium. pic.twitter.com/vrlpI3EW0W
— Ryan Zuke (@ryanzuke) October 31, 2020
Wisconsin had their way with Michigan in a 35-14 victory last season, but the Wolverines have taken the last two meetings in Ann Arbor. Michigan is an impressive 13-2 at home since 2018, but it’s all different this year without fans being able to pack the stadium to its full 107,601 capacity. A home loss to the Spartans in Week 9 proved just as much.
Will the Line Move?
Michigan will be faded by bettors after two consecutive losses. The Wolverines have a very young and inexperienced defense and boast a one-dimensional offense with no real threat in the running game. Milton isn’t necessarily a bad quarterback, but his receivers aren’t doing him any favors and the team’s overall offense just feels disjointed.
THIS THROW AND CATCH🤯
Joe Milton szn
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 7, 2020
Wisconsin will likely get the public money leading up to kickoff simply based on their impressive season opener. Keep in mind the team had 27 active COVID-19 cases as of last week, and it’s unclear the specific timeline for each player and staff member. The Big 10 requires players to sit out at least 21 days following a positive test.
The Badgers took part in limited on-field conditioning Friday, and the team is expected to provide a further update Monday. Mertz is the key cog here, so if it’s announced he’s playing Saturday, expect Wisconsin to become favored.
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.