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Iowa

vs.

Wisconsin

College Football

Free Pick

11/11/17

Iowa got a huge win last week, but still sit three games behind Wisconsin in the standings. The Hawkeyes incredibly jumped to No 20 in the rankings heading into this matchup, while the Badgers jumped to No. 8. The Badgers, still undefeated, were -12 point favorites as of Wednesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Before last week, no one envisioned Iowa as a top-25 team, but one huge win was all it needed as a 17-point underdog. The Hawkeyes still haven’t lost a game by more than seven points, which makes this spread interesting. The only reason to take Wisconsin is that Iowa could be in for a let down after last week. The Badgers only ranked win came against Northwestern, although they just picked up their most impressive win, taking down Indiana on the road by 28 points last weekend.

It was a defensive slugfest when these teams met last year and that could be the case again. Wisconsin won 17-9 simply by running for more yards behind Corey Clement. Prior to dropping 55 points against the Buckeyes, Iowa wasn’t really scoring much, so it’s hard to see that high-scoring offense do the same against a Wisconsin team allowing 13.3 points and 88 rushing yards per game.

In fact, Iowa’s offense wasn’t really all that good before the Ohio State game, no matter what that Iowa State win early in the season shows. The Hawkeyes are averaging just 3.9 yards per carry as a team, which says it all. Akrum Wadley will need to repeat last week’s performance of 118 yards on 20 carries for Iowa to pull off another upset. To keep this one close, he’ll need to reach around 80 yards and keep Iowa’s offense on the field. Despite throwing five touchdowns last game, Nathan Stanley is still mostly a game manager, which he’s done with only four interceptions thrown. He has four touchdowns in four Big Ten games not against Illinois or Ohio State.

The other side of the ball is where Wisconsin can cover this game, although that may only happen if Iowa turns the ball over, which isn’t a good thing to bet on. Iowa’s defense isn’t the best, but still allows only 18 points per game and held the Bucks to 24 points last week.

The Badgers are a predictable team that has run the ball twice as much as they passed it this season. Running back Jonathan Taylor has at least 180 yards in three of the last four games and if he could do that again, that’d be a big help for Badgers backers. But counting on that is a stretch and even when he had 219 yards against Purdue a month ago, this team still only won 17-9. The reason this offense is hard to rely on is because quarterback Alex Hornibrook remains a problem, having not thrown for 200 yards in five of the last six games, mainly because it hasn’t been needed.

This spread feels a bit fishy at 12 points given the above information. The Hawkeyes have stayed competitive with everyone and unless they have a major drop off here, should do the same here. The Hawkeyes are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games and haven’t covered in their last four following an ATS win. The Badgers are 1-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 0-4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS win. Iowa has covered in the last five meetings between these schools in Wisconsin.

Our Pick - Iowa +12

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