The Wisconsin Badgers and Iowa Hawkeyes renew their rivalry this weekend in the 96th meeting between the two schools. Last time these two teams met Wisconsin put together a dominating defensive performance en route to a 27-7 victory at Camp Randall.
This week the Heartland Trophy Game travels to Iowa City where both teams are looking to keep their minuscule Big Ten West hopes alive. Usually, these games are tight, low scoring, and... ugly. This year oddsmakers expect much of the same as the Badgers sit as 1.5-point favorites in the contest and the total for this game sits at just 35 points. Let’s take a look at both of these numbers.
ATS Pick: Wisconsin (-1.5)
Last week I took Maryland (+5) in this column because I did not know if I could trust Wisconsin just yet. I wanted to see them prove it against another good team and the Badgers did that by playing one of their most complete games of the season. The defense looked like its normal self, the offense moved the football on the ground, and all felt like Wisconsin football once again.
This week, I think we could see that again. I expect the Wisconsin defense to have a ton of success against an Iowa offense that, well, just plain stinks. There is nothing scary about this unit and Wisconsin should be able to have a very strong day against them. Yes, Iowa put up 33 points against a bad Northwestern team and then 24 against Purdue but that does not impress me in the slightest.
The intriguing part is how Wisconsin’s offense will fare against this Iowa defense. The Iowa offense has stunk, but the defense has looked like a good ole Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes come into this game 3rd in total defense, and they’ve been especially good against the run ranking 8th in the nation in rushing yards allowed. Still, I think Wisconsin finds a way to win this game and with a spread under 3 all it takes is a 12-9 slugfest to win and cover.
Over/Under? Under 35
This total is fascinating. Many would think this is one of the lowest totals in the history of betting, and you’d be right! That means it’s gotta be the lowest of at least the 2022 season right? Wrong! That belongs to Iowa/Rutgers which was sitting at 34 back in September. Sadly, of the six lowest totals tracked in sports betting Iowa and Wisconsin have been a part of 3 of them, including a meeting just last year.
Year Game Over/Under Final
1995 Arizona vs. Oregon State 33 20-11
2022 Rutgers vs. Iowa 33.5 27-10
2021 Iowa vs. Wisconsin 34 27-7
2015 Missouri vs. Vanderbilt 34 10-3
2004 Ohio State vs. Penn State 34 21-10
1998 Michigan vs. Wisconsin 34 27-10
Some would call what these two teams do on a football field a disgrace, and they are right, it is shameful! It should be banished! But it’s also beautiful. Sounds like a banned book. Anyway, you can see above that this contest is pretty low, and in games with historically low unders the under is 3-2-1. However, all have been pretty close to going under and one was a measly push.
All that leads to where I am going, the under. I know it’s low and I know it’s gross but these two teams are gross and that gross is usually on full display when they meet. This feels like a 20-13 game at most so I am rocking with the under in this contest despite the historically low total.