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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Open as Road Favorites Over Northwestern

The Hawkeyes are poised to make history yet again. Not in a good way.

Wisconsin v Illinois
Wherever that Tigerhawk flag flies, the point total plummets.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Iowa Hawkeyes have had a week off after blowing a 10-3 halftime lead over Minnesota in week eight. The loss shrunk Iowa’s margin for error to virtually zero if the Hawkeyes want to win the Big Ten West division title.

And yet, it didn’t totally close the door because the Big Ten West is still the Big Ten West. Week nine saw the Wisconsin Badgers do what we expected against Ohio State and the result is a 4-way tie atop the standings. Notably, Minnesota still has a trip to Columbus on the docket and Iowa holds the tiebreaker over Wisconsin.

So for all intents and purposes, the Hawkeyes are in the driver’s seat once again. Win out and Iowa is your Big Ten West division champion. But there is no margin for error. Without another loss from Wisconsin or Minnesota, any loss from here on out by Iowa drops them to the back seat of the car. And Nebraska is riding shotgun just waiting for their opportunity. If both teams win out, Black Friday will be the deciding factor in the final iteration of the West.

But before we get there, Iowa has to find a way to score some points, ANY points, when they head to Chicago this weekend to face off with the Northwestern Wildcats. Vegas rightly believes that’s going to be difficult as the Hawkeyes once again open with an historically low over/under.

Our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have this one at 31 total points. That’s lower than where we started a week ago in what was ultimately the lowest over/under since such data began being tracked in 1995. The Hawkeyes have now been involved in the four lowest point totals in football history and all have come in the last two seasons. The over/under is as low as 29 total points on some books.

Despite the remarkably low over/under, the Hawkeyes are still heavily favored. DraftKings has Iowa -4.5 while a few other books have Iowa -5. Combined with the 31-point over/under, the 4.5-point line implies a final score of Iowa 17.75, Northwestern 13.25. This is not financial advice and everyone should gamble responsibly (and not if they’re an Iowa athlete), but if you think either of these teams is hitting either of those numbers, there are so many things I’d like to sell you. Always. Bet. The. Under. Always.

The Hawkeyes and Wildcats are of course facing off in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field this week. The game is set for a 2:30pm CT kick and will be available for streaming over NBC’s platform Peacock.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.