Last week the Badgers came out and covered the spread with ease against the Purdue Boilermakers. They were even able to put up 30 (!!) points on offense which led to the over-cashing as well. Unfortunately for us, the column was on the wrong side of both but I said until proven otherwise those were the picks and sure enough it happened. Kudos to you, Wisconsin!
This week the Badgers opened once again as 3 point favorites, but the line on DraftKings has now moved to Wisconsin -3.5. The total for this game opened at 36 but has now risen to 36.5 to 37. That 36 point is the lowest listed total in college football this season. Lower than when two triple-option teams met in Navy and Air Force. We’ll dive into both of those numbers, but first, some notable trends.
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
- Wisconsin is 16-23-1 ATS as a home favorite under Paul Chryst
- Wisconsin is 17-23-1 ATS as the home team under Paul Chryst
- Wisconsin is 7-15-1 ATS with rest disadvantage under Paul Chryst
- Iowa is 5-7 ATS as road underdogs since 2015
- Iowa is 19-12 ATS on the road since 2015
- Iowa is 6-4-1 ATS with rest advantage since 2015 (Iowa is off a bye this week)
ATS Pick: Iowa (+3.5)
Wisconsin was able to quiet some of the doubters last week as they knocked off a ranked opponent and covered the spread despite the line seeming a bit fishy. This week, they are in a similar spot as the Badgers now host the Hawkeyes as 3.5 point favorites. For me, I think I would have sided with whoever was the dog in this spot as these games are traditionally very low-scoring and tight so getting a field goal and a hook is just too good to pass up in a game that more often than not probably comes down to one score.
This game features a very popular trend in betting with road underdogs and low point totals. Generally, underdogs actually perform better on the road vs. at home, but their success goes even higher when the point total is low as points are generally at a premium in these types of contests.
With this being the lowest total of the college football season thus far it’s hard to ignore this trend. If a total is less than 45 road underdogs cover the spread 54.6% of the time, winning +49.73 units according to Action Labs. For me, 3.5 points in these low-scoring games are just too hard to pass up when each point on the board will be hard to come by. Let’s all pray Wisconsin wins this by a field goal and we go home happy!
Over/Under? Over 36.5
Generally, in these types of spots, I like to play the contrarian role. Everyone sees two offenses that struggle to score and two defenses that play great and think this is due for an under. I agree with the sentiment, but it feels like a very public side especially when the line is historically low. This is the lowest point total of the college football season and I usually like to zig instead of zag in these spots.
One of the main reasons I lean toward the over here is because of the turnover factors that will likely be in play. Iowa has had success this season because they are third in the country in turnover margin, and have scored nearly 40% of their points off of a turnover. Wisconsin on the other hand has given up the most points in the country off of turnovers. Of the points the Badgers have allowed, 50% of them have come after the offense turns the ball over! THAT IS INSANE.
In a game that features such a low total and has that type of disparity, it’s hard for me to feel comfortable taking this under. A quick score with a short field or a pick-six/scoop and score would really put this total in jeopardy from the beginning. Add in that Iowa’s offense struggled to hang onto the ball itself last time out, and Wisconsin forced five of their own last week defensively and I think you’ve got a recipe for an ugly turnover-prone game.
If these teams play clean football this probably goes under, but the chances of that happening feel very low to me so I’ll take the over. We’re talking 20-17 here folks. Nothing all that crazy. Right?