The Iowa Hawkeyes need a win in the worst way. Not only do they need a win, they need some style points - some major offensive output. The Northwestern Wildcats have willing to allow such things in recent weeks, but can Iowa actually take advantage?
The DraftKings Sportsbook seems to think so. At least in part as the line stands at Iowa -12 with an over/under at 40.5 total points. That’s a bigger than normal spread for this series and seems to imply some confidence the Hawkeye offense will find its way in some form.
As for The Pants, we’re much less certain with a near even split on Iowa and Northwestern moneyline. Five of the staffers are on the Hawks while four are taking the other side. On average, we’re calling for a score of 22-14 after some heavy skew from one staffer.
That puts us collectively on Northwestern with the points, but still taking Iowa to win outright. It also puts us firmly on the under, even with the skew.
Here’s a look at our individual predictions for this week. There’s quite a bit of dispersion.
I’m normally the type of person who picks against he Hawks. I made a habit of betting against Iowa, making my weekly pick against them (as much as I reasonably could) and sticking to my superstitions. Then the skid happened and all that went out the window.
So now I feel uncompelled to do anything than provide my honest prediction, which is surely going to upset some folks. I think the Hawkeyes roll Saturday. I think they come out and have their annual Illinois game here where they just blow the doors off of Northwestern offensively. I think they turn them over on defense (to be fair, I thought they would do that to Graham Mertz if he threw and how did that turn out?). I think this is the game that helps skew the averages back in Brian’s favor and then we get back to the suck.
Iowa 44, Northwestern 13
I’m gonna be there, it’s gonna be dark, it’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be sad, and I’m gonna be drunk.
Northwestern 24, Iowa 17
So we all know how this is going to go, right? Iowa is a big favorite. The silly Gophers destroyed Pat’s Purple Wildcats. PJ’s Gophers have an identity. They can run the football, even though they are down to their 34th string running back. The Hawks’ defense will show up. The offense will show the world that we can’t bust out of a wet paper bag. The Hawkeyes will get Northwestern’s best game of the year. Naturally.
Northwestern 10, Iowa 7
I just can’t get over the fact that Northwestern under Fitz is 6-0 when an underdog by 9.5 points or more against Iowa. It’s not going to be fun and I’m not jealous of Ben being there.
BTW, if there is anybody more willing and able to run his backs into the teeth of a defense than Kirk Ferentz, it’s Pat Fitzgerald. In returning to last year’s game, I was reminded they ran for 60 times at a cool 2.4 yards/carry. This isn’t going to be enjoyable.
Northwestern 13, Iowa 12
Look, I know the sky is falling and everything, but let’s not get too carried away. This is a bad Northwestern team that lost by 50 points to Nebraska. The Wildcat defense has been the cure for the common running game all season long, its quarterback play has been underwhelming, and its scoring offense makes the Hawkeyes look downright prolific. The history of this rivalry creates room for pessimism, and night games on the road are always difficult, especially against a division foe with a crafty head coach. But the tape doesn’t lie—Northwestern is one of the worst teams in the conference this season, and Iowa doesn’t need to play a particularly great game to beat them. It won’t always be pretty, but the better team will leave Evanston victorious.
Iowa 24, Northwestern 10
I mean... this has been a miserable few weeks and I’ll spare you the analysis for this pick, because I have zero clue what to expect from Iowa’s offense in this game. If you’re picking a side as a bettor and not the under, please dial 1-800-BETS-OFF.
Iowa 24, Northwestern 7
After two weeks of a total of 2 offensive touchdowns, Iowa looks to get back on track against a Northwestern defense that has given Iowa issues in the past. However, this year the NW defense does not feature three standout linebackers to cover up holes within their defense. It is likely very ugly at times, but I think the defense gets back to creating turnovers and the offense takes care of the ball. Eventually, a few big plays via special teams returns and the defense giving the offense great field position on a turnover sparks the offense to a few touchdowns.
Also, let Rob know I just had to dial 1-800-BETS-OFF...
Iowa 29, Northwestern 12
This is now a no win situation for me. Like I said earlier this week, a dominant win here probably gets a lot of people off of Kirk and Brian’s backs. Northwestern is a truly bad team and this should be an easy win. But let’s just go full chaos at this point. Let’s make the seats warmer instead of extending Kirk another five years for a win against the worst Northwestern team in years.
Northwestern 24, Iowa 10
What is the least amount of confidence you can have in a pick? Well, we’re about to find out. Northwestern year in and year out gives Iowa their toughest game of the year, but this Northwestern team is tremendously bad.
It’s been a rough couple weeks but I think the Hawks get back on track- and they cover.
Iowa 27, Northwestern 10
So that’s what The Pants is predicting this weekend. What do YOU expect to see on Saturday?