Wisconsin Badgers vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/06/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: SHI Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Where to watch: Big Ten Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: NL
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: NL

Season record
No. 21 Wisconsin: 5-3 (3-2 Big Ten)
Rutgers: 4-4 (1-4 Big Ten)

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Wisconsin - Rutgers preview and analysis


Last week
Wisconsin: won 27-7 vs. Iowa
Rutgers: won 20-14 at Illinois

The Wisconsin Badgers are on a red-hot run and we’re not really sure what to make of it.

Yet here they are, winners of four straight with three of the impressive variety and not quite out of the Big Ten race yet. They’ll try for their fifth straight win against a reeling Rutgers Scarlet Knights team that has fallen hard since conference play began.

Just over a month ago, following a three-score loss to the Michigan Wolverines, the Badgers were sitting at 1-3 with no hope in sight. There’s only so much you can do when the offense can’t generate more than 4 yards a play in some instances.

You turn to your defense to make all the adjustments, and that’s what Wisconsin has done. In the past four games, Wisconsin has allowed a grand total of 34 points and held 20 combined against ranked opponents Iowa and Purdue.

To be fair, judging Wisconsin’s defense on what it could do against the joke of the Big Ten is not proper. But this is what happens when the masses rank Iowa in the top-10 for most of this season. Wisconsin’s offense didn’t do a single thing, but that defense kept Iowa to 156 total yards of offense for a 60-minute football game.

Wisconsin’s defense recorded six sacks on Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras, with 2.5 each coming from Nick Herbig, and Leo Chenal had a half-sack to increase his team lead to 5.5 this season.

Graham Mertz did throw a touchdown but completed 50 percent of his passes, so it might not count.

Rutgers won its first conference game of the season last week, 20-14 against the Illinois Fighting Illini. It was about as bad of a game as you expected. Instead of Illinois taking advantage of that stupid nine-overtime win against Penn State, it put up 297 yards of total offense on Rutgers.

Quarterback Noah Vedral threw for only 138 yards on 10 of 21, and Isaih Pacheco ran for 91 yards on 21 carries. Vedral had a 15-yard touchdown run to give Rutgers the lead for good, but Illinois just had no idea how to respond.

Wisconsin enters 3-0 in the series all-time but it’s the first meeting since 2018. The Badgers won 31-17 but the Knights covered.

Prediction


Just don’t expect an upset this weekend. Rutgers odds? Not well right now. We know which team has the best defense; the team riding a four-game winning streak. The run defense will eliminate any and all hope Rutgers has and push it to another crucial win in terms of the standings. Wisconsin by 21

Betting trends


Wisconsin is 6-3 ATS as a road favorite the past three years.

The over is 5-1 in Wisconsin’s last six November games.

Rutgers is 6-10 ATS in its last 16 home games.

Statistical leaders


Wisconsin:
Passing: Graham Mertz -- 1,049 yards, 3 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Chez Mellusi -- 740 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Danny Davis III -- 300 yards
Defense: Leo Chenal -- 5.5 sacks

Rutgers:
Passing: Noah Vedral -- 1,412 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Isaih Pacheco -- 420 yards, 3 TD
Receiving: Bo Melton -- 412 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Olakunle Fatukasi -- 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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