CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks to take the snap against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first half of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on December 30, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

ESPN’s FPI projection for Wisconsin Badgers contest vs. Minnesota

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin Badgers (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) enter Saturday’s home game against the Minnesota Gophers (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten) as 3-point favorites and are looking to reclaim Paul Bunyan’s Axe after losing it in last seasons Border Battle.

Ahead of Saturday’s matchup, ESPN’s FPI model gives Wisconsin a 53.6% chance of winning at home against Minnesota at Camp Randall.

This projection seems about right, especially given both programs have an undying hatred for one another.

These programs, at least in their current state, are very similar. Each team is top-12 in the country in total defense and relies heavily on running the football.

Both programs have underachieved in their own right, but one thing I know for sure, this is going to be a low-scoring, grind-it-out, Big Ten defensive battle.

Fresh off a loss to Iowa, PJ Fleck and company enter Saturday’s contest with the Big Ten’s No. 2 rushing attack and defense in the conference, allowing only 13.1 points per game.

Jim Leonhard and the Wisconsin Badgers are looking to build off last weekend’s fourth-quarter comeback over Nebraska and ride their three-headed monster of Braelon Allen, Chez Mellusi, and Isaac Guerendo at tailback to a victory in the regular season finale.

For Wisconsin, I’d love to see the Badgers come out and take some chances on offense-really lay it out there. They’re already bowl eligible, and for several coaches on the staff, this is their last audition to keep their jobs heading into the offseason.

I’ll take Wisconsin in a close, low-scoring affair at home.

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