That Iowa Hawkeyes have done it again. With a complete absence of offense, they have managed to position themselves for another Big Ten West division title. The last Big Ten West division title.
Iowa looked completely lost against Purdue for much of the game as backup QB Deacon Hill sailed pass after pass over would-be targets to finish the day an abysmal 6 of 21 passing. The Hawkeyes are now averaging just 21.8 points per game - good for 95th in the nation.
But fortunately, the Hawkeyes play in objectively the worst division in power five college football. Despite the ridiculously bad offense, Iowa ranks third in their division in points per game and just 8th in the Big Ten as a whole. Combine the absurdity that is the Big Ten West with Iowa’s great defense and special teams and you get a terrible offense in position to all but clinch a trip to Indianapolis halfway through the season.
And that’s truly what is at stake this weekend when Iowa travels to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. While the Badgers seem to have a vastly superior offense that’s averaging 31.4 points per game (42nd nationally), they’ve played perhaps the softest schedule of any team in the nation to get there. They lost their one matchup with a quality opponent and have struggled at times in each of their Big Ten games.
Now they enter the week at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. A win by the Badgers would put Iowa at 2-2 in the conference and take them out of control of their own destiny, needing the Badgers to lose three games the rest of the way (barring a three-way tie that gets weird). But a win by the Hawkeyes would put them in the driver’s seat at 3-1 in Big Ten play with the Badgers falling to 2-1 with a date against Ohio State looming.
For Iowa football, the stakes are about as high as they come.
But the folks in Vegas don’t have a lot of faith in the Hawkeyes. Our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook opened the line at Wisconsin -9.5 for this one. That’s about the highest of any US-based books, though there has been some convergence amongst those that opened lower. The over/under is set at 37.5 for this one, which again seems like the safest bet in America.
Iowa is 2-4 against the spread this season after coming up half a point short a week ago. This week marks the second game Iowa has entered as an underdog. Notably, the Hawkeyes were embarrassed the last time when they hit the road to Happy Valley and came home with their tail between their legs after a 31-0 drubbing.
The Hawkeyes and Badgers are set to kick off at 3pm CT on Saturday in the battle for the bull. The game will be broadcast on FOX.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.