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Iowa Visits Wisconsin in Clash of Elite Defenses

The Iowa Hawkeyes and Wisconsin Badgers hope to keep their conference title hopes alive when they meet Saturday in Madison. Both squads enter play two games behind undefeated Minnesota in the Big Ten West. Wisconsin has lost its last two games but is 6-1 in its last seven against the Hawkeyes.

Matchup Information
  • Iowa Hawkeyes vs Wisconsin Badgers (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: November 9, 4 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: FOX
  • Opening Odds: Wisconsin -10 | O/U 38.0 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

It’s not often you see the Badgers laying single digits at home. In fact, it’s happened just three times in Wisconsin’s last 21 games in Madison — and the Badgers easily covered on all three occasions.

Iowa News & Notes

Ranking third in the nation in average points allowed, sixth against the pass and eighth against the run, it seems safe to say Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is pleased with his defense these days.

But if the Hawkeyes are going to make some noise down the stretch of Big Ten play and into bowl season, they’ll likely need more from their offense. Iowa is 10th in the conference in scoring and is averaging less than 4.0 yards per rush attempt, issues the coaching staff was looking to correct during Iowa’s bye week.

“We would like for the run game to be better,” running backs coach Derrick Foster told reporters this week. “We need our guys to see the field in front of them better.” They’ll certainly need to if they’re going to have any success against Wisconsin’s ferocious run defense, which held the Hawkeyes to less than one yard per carry when Iowa last visited Madison in 2017.

Wisconsin News & Notes

After posting four shutouts in their first six games, the Badgers defense suddenly looks mortal. Wisconsin has allowed 62 points in its last two outings, following up a 24-23 loss at Illinois with a 38-7 defeat at Ohio State. The ground has been where opponents have made the greatest inroads against the Badgers during that stretch, with the Illini running for 141 yards and the Buckeyes racking up 264.

Whenever the Badgers defense isn’t dominant, it isn’t long before critics start taking shots at Wisconsin’s plodding run-heavy offense. The Badgers’ only score against Ohio State came on a short field following a blocked punt, and Wisconsin’s 195.5 yards through the air per game is 103rd in the country.

With a competent quarterback in Jack Coan and a quality receiving corps, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst may decide to open things up a bit more than usual to keep Iowa’s stellar defense on its toes.

Betting Pick: Badgers -9.5

I’ll buy low on a quality Badgers team that is undervalued after its blowout loss at Ohio State.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in Iowa’s last 4 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in Wisconsin’s last 5 games.
  • Iowa is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games vs Wisconsin.