Northwestern has Four total losses, but only one of those came in the Big Ten and that’s why it still leads the West division. Of course, the oddsmakers aren’t fooled by that and have Iowa as a decent favorite. The Hawkeyes were up to -11 point home favorites with an over/under of 43.5 as of Wednesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Northwestern has covered and won the last two matchups by seven points a piece and that’s reason enough to go with the road team. The Wildcats already took down Wisconsin at home and Michigan State on the road and are a different team than the one that lost early to Duke and Akron. Iowa doesn’t have a bad loss, but it already lost at home to Wisconsin and its defense fell apart in recent losses to Penn State and Purdue. Betting on Iowa to win by more than 10 points feels like a stretch simply because the Wildcats rarely get blown out.
The Wildcats have been revived somewhat on the offensive end with Isaiah Bowser rushing for 318 yards and three touchdowns in the last three Games. He’s not averaging a ton, but that may not matter in an effort to keep the Game close. Even if Bowser is only at 3.5 yards per carry, like in the Wisconsin win, this team could still move the chains enough to stay competitive, and that’s what happened in last year’s 17-10 overtime win. Clayton Thorson hasn’t done much through the air with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but as long as he doesn’t throw the Game away, the Wildcats should be fine.
Iowa’s defense is still up for debate because while it’s dominated some of the weaker Big Ten teams, it’s also allowed 31 points to Minnesota and 36 to Purdue. An equally big question is what Iowa’s offense can do against a solid Northwestern defense. The Wildcats aren’t overpowering teams, but they’ve done enough for a 5-1 record in Conference play.
The Hawkeyes managed just 2.7 yards per carry in last year’s matchup and that was with a better rushing attack led by Akrum Wadley. This year, Toren Young, Mekhi Sargent and Ivory Kelly-Martin are splitting carries for a subpar 3.9 ypc as a team. That’s better than Northwestern, but it’s not a number that’s going to lead to a blowout. Nate Stanley may be a future NFL quarterback, but he’s still extremely iNConsistent. From throwing 10 combined touchdowns against Minnesota and Indiana to just two in the last three Games, he’s been a bit all over. For Iowa to win easy, it’s likely Stanley will need to have one of his better performances and that’s a hard thing to bet on given recent Games.
The Wildcats are 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 Conference Games and 16-5 ATS in their last 21 on the road. The Hawkeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last five at home and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 overall. The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these schools and the home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight.
Additional ATS Trends
Iowa is 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 Games as a favorite.
Iowa is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home Games.
Iowa is 5-2-2 ATS in their last 9 home Games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Iowa is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 Games overall.
Iowa is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Games as a home favorite.
Iowa is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Games as a favorite of 10.5+
Iowa is 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 Games on turf.
Northwestern is 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 Conference Games.
Northwestern is 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 Games in November.
Northwestern is 16-5 ATS in their last 21 road Games.
Northwestern is 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 Games as an underdog.
Northwestern is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Games as an underdog of 10.5+
Northwestern is 28-10 ATS in their last 38 Games as a road underdog.
Northwestern is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Games on turf.
Our Pick – Northwestern +11