If you enjoy seeing offensive production in College Football games, well, Iowa on the road against Wisconsin is going to be the polar opposite of that.
This is going to be NFL circa 1970 style football. That is demonstrated by the total Caesars has on this game at just 36.5. That amount of points for a total in a College Football game is extremely rare but makes sense when you consider these two teams.
Neither the Hawkeyes nor the Badgers are known for passing the ball. In all fairness, Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras is coming off of his worst game of the season, throwing four interceptions against Purdue before the bye, a team Wisconsin just beat easily.
Petras had the four interceptions, but before that, he only had two turnover-worthy plays, according to Pro Football Focus.
On the other side, Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz attempted just eight passes against Purdue, and the Badgers still managed to put up 30, thanks to nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns on the ground from Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen.
Going into Wisconsin, it’s going to be a tough place to play, especially as three and a half-point underdogs.
Who will come out on top in this low-scoring affair?
For in-depth analysis of this CFB bet of the day and others, continue reading.
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Iowa vs. Wisconsin Prediction
I’m sorry, but I’m never taking the Badgers as favorites, even if it’s at home.
While the quarterbacks are not the focus here, Mertz is a player that could very well become a turnover turnstile in this game, as he has seven fumbles this season. The Iowa defense is solid all the way around, especially in the secondary, led by cornerbacks Matt Hankins and Riley Moss.
Together, the cornerback duo has given up under 450 receiving yards, one touchdown, and have seven interceptions.
The running game for Wisconsin showed out against Purdue, but this is not a running back room in years past with Jonathan Taylor or Melvin Gordon. Allen and Mellusi are fine backs, but they’re not the type to take this game over.
If Iowa can force Mertz to create some turnovers and Petras can get back to his normal 200 yards and 1-2 touchdown type of performance, the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes should win this game.
Betting Pick: Iowa 17, Wisconsin 14
Iowa vs. Wisconsin Best Bets
Best Bet: Iowa +3.5 (-110) at Caesars
Again, the quarterbacks should be the least of the concern here, but you have to keep in mind the chance that the Badgers fall behind early. If they fall behind 10-0 and Mertz has to make something happen, his 14 total turnovers will rear their ugly head.
No disrespect to the Wisconsin defense, as they’ve been stellar. Unfortunately for them, though, the quarterback of the team will put them in some bad field positions.
Sure, Wisconsin could beat up on Purdue, but against ranked competition this year, Wisconsin has managed no more than 17 points in three games, and those games were all at home.
Look for Petras to be a fine game manager, Moss and Hankins to be there whenever Mertz throws, however few times that is, and the Iowa pass rush and run defense to do their part in making Mertz make poor decisions.
Best Bet: Iowa Moneyline (+140) at Caesars
We shouldn’t completely discount Wisconsin winning this game, but the Badgers’ only real leverage is their running game is slightly better, and the defense upfront is definitely better than Iowa.
With that said, Iowa has a stellar offensive line, headlined by eventual first-round NFL draft pick Tyler Linderbaum. Leo Chenal, Jack Sanborn, and Matt Henningsen are all fine players in their own right, but they will have a tall task trying to get through this Iowa offensive line.
Best Bet: Under 36.5 (-110) at Caesars
This feels almost like sacrilege, but I’ll take the under 36.5 here. This is going to be a tough game through and through. Both teams will struggle to score points until the turnovers start to happen.
The difference between this game going over or under lies solely in how the turnovers impact the game. Will the turnovers result in field goals, long drives with no points, or returned to the house for six?
These are important questions, but the turnovers should be fairly one-sided here and allow Iowa enough chances to score and win.