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Low-Scoring Battle Expected When Iowa Hosts Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Graham Mertz throws a pass during an NCAA college football game against Indiana on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Madison, Wis.

The Hawkeyes (5-2 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) and Badgers (2-2, 2-2) have combined to allow an average of 29.6 points per game this season. Iowa opened as a 2.5-point favorite over Wisconsin, which has won the last four meetings and seven of the last eight.

Wisconsin Badgers vs Iowa Hawkeyes
  • Date/Time: December 12, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Kinnick Stadium
  • TV Coverage: FS1, Big Ten Network
  • Opening Odds: Iowa -2.5 | O/U 43.5 (Line History)
  • Wisconsin vs Iowa Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Iowa opened as a 2.5-point favorite but that line had moved to -3 by Sunday night, where it may continue to sit until kickoff. The low total is nothing new for Wisconsin, which has gone UNDER 42.5 and 44 in its last two outings.

Wisconsin News & Notes

Since bursting onto the college football scene with a 20-for-21, five-touchdown performance in the Badgers’ season opener, quarterback Graham Mertz has come crashing back to earth.

Mertz was held out of the end zone entirely last week in a 14-6 home loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, completing 20 of 34 passes for 202 yards and an interception. He also fumbled in the second quarter, setting up the Hoosiers’ first touchdown of the game.

Injuries haven’t helped Wisconsin’s struggling offense. Wide receiver Danny Davis missed last week’s contest and senior wideout Kendric Pryor left the game in the second half with an upper body injury. Already without a couple of other receivers, Wisconsin then saw starting center Kayden Lyles suffer an injury, forcing freshman Tanor Bortolini to take his place.

Having been eliminated from Big Ten title contention, the Badgers may have difficulty getting motivated for their regular-season finale. Wisconsin has also struggled recently on the road against quality opponents, going 1-5 SU and ATS in its last six road games vs teams with winning records.

Iowa News & Notes

After allowing touchdowns on each of Illinois’ first two possessions last week, the Hawkeyes defense stiffened to spark Iowa’s 35-21 comeback victory.

Iowa held the Illini to three-and-outs on their final three possessions of the opening half, allowing the Hawkeyes offense to take control of the game with 35 consecutive points before Illinois scored a late touchdown to close out the scoring.

The Hawkeyes have not allowed 25 points to an opponent in 21 straight games, going 16-5 SU during that stretch and not losing any game by more than a touchdown. Iowa’s defense enters this week ranked 14th in points allowed, 16th in total yards, 18th against the run and 36th against the pass. The Hawkeyes have also gone UNDER in six of their last seven games at home, with those games seeing an average of 41.3 points scored.

Quarterback Spencer Petras is coming off his strongest outing of the season, throwing for three touchdowns and not committing a turnover against Illinois. The sophomore has increased his passing yardage in each of his last four games.

Betting Pick: Wisconsin +3

In what should be another low-scoring contest between these Big Ten rivals, I’ll grab the points with the underdog Badgers. Wisconsin has won the last four meetings and seven of the last eight.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Wisconsin’s last 10 games.
  • Iowa is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in its last 5 conference games.
  • Wisconsin has won its last 4 games vs Iowa (avg margin: 12.5).