The Iowa Hawkeyes have done the unthinkable. For the second straight season, Iowa played abysmal offense all season long and went into the final weeks of the season in position to win the Big Ten West. As with a season ago, injuries have been mounting, headlined most recently by the loss of Cooper DeJean.
But unlike a season ago, the Hawkeyes were able to overcome the injuries and the lackluster offense as they emerged victorious 15-13 over the Illinois Fighting Illini. The result is Iowa’s second Big Ten West division title in three years.
Now, Iowa looks to close out their regular season with nothing but pride (and a trophy) on the line as they travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska in a Black Friday showdown for the Heroes Trophy. For the Cornhuskers, another slip up in their trip to Madison means Nebraska enters this week at 5-6 and a chance at their first bowl trip since 2016 remains on the line.
It’s a tantalizing matchup if you like pitchers’ duals. Iowa enters the week averaging just 18.5 points per game on the season, having topped 20 points just once in their last five games. As Hawkeye fans know all too well, the defense has carried the team, not giving up more than 20 points to anyone save Penn State all season.
On the other side of things, Nebraska, with their highly ranked recruits and highly touted transfers, has topped 20 points just once in Big Ten play this season while managing to average only 18.2 points per game this year - fewer than Iowa. They too, have benefited from solid defense, giving up just 18.7 points per game.
Those numbers added all up equal the brink of history for the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers. Our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook opened this one with an over/under of 27.5 total points. That would match the lowest total ever recorded in college football - a number posted by Iowa when they hosted Rutgers two weeks ago. That game, of course, hit the under. Iowa has done so in each of their four games that previously set the record for lowest point total.
Perhaps more interesting than the over/under is the line movement early on. DraftKings opened this one with the Hawkeyes as 1.5-point favorites heading to Lincoln. The public has bet this one down already though, and down significantly. Over the last 24 hours, we’ve gone from Iowa -1.5 to a pick ‘em to now Nebraska favored by 1.5 points as of Monday morning.
Perhaps the betting public knows something about Iowa’s approach to rest this week given the impending date in the Big Ten Championship? Or perhaps it’s simply the infinite hope of the Nebraska faithful thinking this will be the year?
The Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers are set to kick off at 11am on Black Friday from Lincoln. This week’s matchup will be broadcast nationally on CBS.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.