This was an important Game going into the season and now it may be even more important for Wisconsin after inexplicably losing at home to BYU last weekend. Iowa has done enough to remain undefeated and is also at home. The Badgers are still -3.5 point favorites as of Tuesday with an over/under of 43.5 at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
When these teams met last year the situation was a bit different as Wisconsin had the Big Ten West all but locked up. The Badgers absolutely dominated 38-14 and only gave up those points because of two pick sixes. Iowa’s offense did nothing with 41 passing yards and 25 rushing yards. It’s unlikely the same thing happens again since Wisconsin rushed for 247 yards and 5.0 yards per carry in that contest. Not to mention BYU ran for 191 yards on 6.8 ypc against Wisconsin last weekend, so there’s a clear path for a more competitive Game.
But is the Wisconsin defense that bad or was it a fluke? The Hawkeyes don’t exactly have an elite offense and that was seen in the 13-3 win against Iowa State. They’ve had enough to Scoreagainst weaker teams, but barely scored against a solid ISU squad. As a team, they’re still at just 3.9 yards per carry, though top running back Toren Young is at 5.4 ypc. Quarterback Nate Stanley had his numbers jump after beating Northern Iowa, yet he struggled to get much going in the first two Games. He was supposed to take a leap this season, but that hasn’t shown up yet. Even though Wisconsin’s defense had trouble last Game, it could still do enough to keep Iowa from scoring 20 points in this Game, if not 10.
The other end could decide this contest because Iowa’s defense has been dominant, allowing just 42 rushing yards per contest and only 24 points in all. None of those offenses are elite, but Iowa State should’ve at least moved the ball. And while Wisconsin carved through the Iowa defense in the last meeting, that will change in this one, especially at Kinnick Stadium. In fact, it’s hard to see either of these teams reaching 20 points making the under a reasonable bet.
The Badgers will continue to roll with Jonathan Taylor on the ground and if he doesn’t have 150 yards they’ll probably have trouble scoring. Alex Hornibrook has similar numbers to Stanley, yet is impossible to trust and that was seen against BYU when he completed 18-of-28 passes for 190 yards and no touchdowns. In his third season as starter, he doesn’t look any better than a year ago and interceptions are still a problem.
The Badgers are an impressive 11-1 ATS in their last 12 road Games, yet only 1-4 ATS in their last five overall. The Hawkeyes have covered in their last five overall and are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight at home. The under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings between these schools and the road team is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
Our Pick – Wisconsin -3 and UNDER 43.5