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Wisconsin vs. Iowa
Betting Line: Iowa -5.5 o/u 48
Ohio State and Michigan are usually the talk of the Big Ten, but this article
will feature two teams that beat them last week. The Wisconsin Badgers won a big
home game 31-18 over then #1 Ohio State, and Iowa dispatched Michigan 38-28. In
the always tough Big Ten, both of these teams need to get some momentum if they
want the Big Ten title and the trip to the Rose Bowl that comes with it.
are similar teams and this game will be won by the team that makes the fewest
mistakes. Wisconsin is currently a 6 point underdog. Let's see how they stack up
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We usually like to start off with a look at the offense, but the defense HC Kirk Ferentz has put together at Iowa is too good to not mention first. They are giving up a paltry 13.2 PPG. That ranks them 6th in the nation. In terms of offensive yardage, they allow 292 per game. All this is being without picking up an excessive amount of sacks or INTs. It's truly a hard nose and stubborn defense at Iowa. They allowed 523 yards against Michigan, but that was most like an aberration. Denard Robinson presents a unique challenge for any defense. Handling Wisconsin's John Clay won't be easy, but expect the Hawkeyes to meet the challenge vigorously.
Now that we've mention Iowa's defense, lets glance at the offense. Ricky Stanzi leads the charge at QB for this team. He doesn't make many mistakes and has passed for 13 TDs and 2 INTs this year for a total of 1,456 yards. The offensive line for Iowa has been rock solid. In their past three games they have given up just a single sack. RB Adam Robinson has rushed for 624 yards and 8 TDs this year. Iowa is a dynamic team that can get points in both the air and on the ground, but aren't especially explosive at either. Look for them to try and score early as this is a very important home game for the Hawkeyes.
The defense is good in Wisconsin. The Badgers are allowing only 308 yards of offense each game. They are hell for QBs, sacking them 8 times in their last 3 games. They got to Ohio State's Terrele Pryor 4 times. They appear to be most vulnerable against the run, but conversely the secondary is sharp. It will be up to them to stop, or at least slow down Iowa's Adam Robinson. They also will have to focus on pressuring Ricky Stanzi. If they can stifle Robinson and get to Stanzi a few times they can pull off yet another upset in Big Ten play.
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The Badger's offense is steadied by Heisman candidate RB John Clay. He has 11 TDs and 796 yards in 2010. He put together a bang up game against Ohio State, finding the end zone twice while picking up 104 yards. Scott Tolzien runs the offense as the QB. He isn't a spectacular player, but he is "good enough". This offense emphasizes the running game so all they need from Tolzien is that he minimizes mistakes. He did that well against Arizona State, completing 19 of 25 passes for 246 yards and a TD. All of this will take place behind an offensive line that is massive.
There are two plays worth considering here. One is the Iowa. They have had the upper hand in this series covering 8 of the last 10 and winning the last 3 straight up. Last weeks score against Michigan is really misleading. This Iowa defense has been fantastic. The one thing you worry about is the schedule strength. This game against Wisconsin and in a few weeks against Ohio State will be their toughest games of the season. Wisconsin passed their big test. Will Iowa?
The other play with value here is the under. These teams want to run the ball. Both have been successful doing so. That's why they build these massive offensive lines in Wisconsin and the rest of the big 10. The average score in this series the last 10 times they have played is 38 points. In 8 of those 10 there were less than 48 points scored, which is the total in this game. Iowa is giving up on average, 13 points per game while Wisconsin is giving up 18, which is exactly what they held Ohio State to last week, a team that averages 40 points per game. The total is too high here.
So two recommendations here.
Iowa/Wisconsin Under 48