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Betting preview: Wisconsin vs. Iowa

Can the Badgers cover as double digit favorites? Is the total really that low?!

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NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Iowa Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

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The Badgers are back this week for a crucial Big Ten West match up and thank God they are as I am needing to win you folks some money back. The column came into the Ohio State game at 10-4, but after taking the Badgers and the over it now sits at 10-6. Overall, solid but I would prefer to get both the bankroll and the Badgers back on track this week.

After being a big underdog against Ohio State, the Badgers now come in as double digit favorites over Iowa. The spread for this game opened at 10 in favor of the Badgers, and has crept between that and 9.5 over the course of the week. The total for this game opened at 39 and has crept down to 38 at the time of writing this. We’ll dive into both of those numbers, but first some notable trends in this rivalry game.

  • Wisconsin is 6-3 against the spread (ATS) in its last nine games
  • Wisconsin is 1-5 ATS in their last six home games against Iowa
  • Iowa is 2-4 ATS in their last six games
  • Iowa is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against Wisconsin
  • The total has gone under in Wisconsin’s last five games
  • The total has gone under in 6 of Iowa’s last seven games

ATS Pick: Iowa (+9.5)

I don’t love either side of this game, but to me 9.5 is just too many points given the spot and history of these two games. In their last five match ups, the average margin of victory is just 9.8 points per game; however, that is somewhat skewed by the Badgers 24 point win the last time these two teams squared off in Madison.

If you take that game away, the average margin is just 6.5 points per game which to me is a more sensible spot. I thought the spread for this game would be closer to 6.5 or 7, so you’re getting a few more points with the Hawkeyes at 9.5 or 10. At ten you get a good football number on the dog, so I would highly doubt Vegas oddsmakers will push this to a ten if they don’t have to. I think Wisconsin will win this game, but I expect the same type of game we’ve seen in the past between these two, and given the dominating defenses and somewhat struggling offenses, it’s hard for me to confidently lay almost double digits with the Badgers.

However, if you like the Badgers you should know that home teams off a bye are often very profitable, but so are road dogs with low totals so essentially any of my system plays are washed.

Over/Under? Over 38

Games with such low totals are incredibly hard to win on. The same can be said on games with incredibly high totals in the 70’s. Why? Because you can’t really afford any sort of mistake on either side. High totals like that need a touchdown in almost every possession, and low totals like this get really damaged with just one or two touchdowns. I projected this total at 49, so I just think this is way too low for me to confidently play the under.

I think most betters will see the two top-ten defenses and agree, so this line is definitely shaded to get you to take the under spot. I would understand your logic if you did, but to me I think this game may bust open more than people think. Both teams have had an extra week to develop some new offensive schemes and I think that will benefit both offense’s more than the defense’s. I expect a game with both teams in the 20’s, so I have to play the over in this match up.