Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers NCAA Football Picks Week 11
Iowa Hawkeyes at Wisconsin Badgers, Saturday November 9, 4 p.m. ET
There are two games that stand above the rest this week because they feature showdowns of unbeaten teams - something we haven't seen twice in the same week this year in the season. Behind those two, though, this game is notable as the only other one that features two ranked teams. Both Iowa and Wisconsin are at 6-2 , with the Badgers ranked 13th and Hawkeyes at 18th.
There is more than just bragging rights on the line in this one, though. These teams are tied at 3-2 in trail the 5-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Big Ten West. Both squads play Minnesota down the stretch, and the Gophers are likely to lose to Penn State this week , so the winner of this game will likely control their own destiny in the division - beat Minnesota, win out, and they are heading to the Big Ten title game. For the loser, though, the dreams of having a meaningful accomplishment beyond the conference will essentially die here. It's a big game. Probably not one that will be much fun to watch unless you really like defensive play, but a big game.
Iowa at Wisconsin Betting Storylines
The total for this game - 38 - is pretty close to as low as you'll see. And there are good reasons for that. Iowa ranks third nationally, giving up just 10.1 points per game. Wisconsin is only a touch worse, ranking fifth at 11.4 points. The most interesting matchup from all the different combinations between the two teams is on the ground when Wisconsin has the ball. The Badgers just cannot pass this year. It's ugly. Their run game isn't as good as it has been at times, but it is still the driving force of this offense. If they can't run, they can't thrive. Iowa has been very good against the pass, but even better against the run, giving up just 89 yards per game. It is too simplistic often to point to one matchup that will define a game, but more than any other, the team that wins this particular showdown will be well positioned to win the game. Wisconsin QB Jack Coan hasn't been great all year, but he's particularly questionable right now. In his last two games he threw a really ugly pick late in the shocking loss against Illinois and then spent the whole game running for his life from Chase Young against Ohio State. He doesn't come into this game with a lot of confidence, and the Iowa secondary has done a very good job of limiting big plays and of forcing QBs to throw with less efficiency than they typically do. The run is going to have to carry a big part of the load here.
Now, the reverse setup isn't a great one for Iowa, either. The Hawkeyes have really struggled badly on the ground. They managed a single net yard on the ground against Michigan and have had less than 125 rushing yards in five of their last six games. Wisconsin's defense got eaten alive by the very good Buckeyes, but aside from that it has been very tough to run on. When games are low scoring and defensive, we typically expect to see passing dominate things, but that just might not be able to do that here.
Iowa at Wisconsin Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Wisconsin favored by 9.5 points at home. There has been a little movement back and forth, but that number can still be widely found. About 60 percent of bets have been on Iowa, so we could see that line fall by a point or so closer to game time if there aren't any significant developments. The total opened very low at 38 points and seems to have settled in at that point.
The Hawkeyes are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games, 2-5 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records, and also 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in November. The Badgers are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games, 16-5 ATS in their last 21 following a bye week, and 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games in November. But they are also just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference games. Iowa is 5-1 ATS in their last six games in Madison but just 2-5 ATS in their last seven against Wisconsin overall.
Iowa at Wisconsin Predictions and Picks
I don't really have a sense of how this game is going to turn out - other than that it isn't going to be high scoring. I don't really trust either offense, and I respect both defenses - at least against offenses like these. I can make a case for either team winning, though the Badgers feel more likely. Either way, though, it feels hard to believe that they will win by 10 - that's a lot of points against a small spread. Just based on that, Iowa is the pick.
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