On Saturday (10/14/23), we’ll watch Iowa face Wisconsin in a Big Ten matchup. In this article, you can find the latest betting odds for the game and a full preview. In addition, find our best bet which is under 34.5 points.
Iowa Vs. Wisconsin Prediction – College Football Week 7
The Wisconsin offense was supposed to be completely overhauled with new offensive coordinator Phil Longo. Coming over from North Carolina, Longo was expected to bring pace, verticality, and explosiveness to the Badgers offense. That hasn’t happened.
Wisconsin ranks 131st in the FBS in overall explosiveness and 129th via the pass. New quarterback Tanner Mordecai, a transfer from SMU, hasn’t been as advertised. After tossing 72 touchdowns across two seasons at SMU, he has just three passing touchdowns in five games.
This week, that Wisconsin passing offense that ranks outside the top 100 in EPA has to face an elite Iowa pass defense. As usual, the Hawkeyes have been dominant – they rank fourth in total passing EPA allowed. The defensive backfield has been outstanding with players like Cooper DeJean and Xavier Nwankpa pushing for All Conference honors.
Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz has a clause in his contract that he must average 25 points per game this season in order to keep his job. So far, the Hawkeyes are at 21.8. It didn’t help that they lost starting quarterback Cade McNamara for the year, and their replacement Deacon Hill has struggled.
Last week against Purdue, Hill completed just 30% of his passes and averaged a putrid 5.5 yards per attempt – both would be the worst in the P5 for the full season. Now, they face a better defense on the road as Wisconsin ranks top 25 in passing EPA and explosiveness allowed.
We’re looking at some weather here as there are expected to be 23 mph winds at kickoff. That will further hinder two passing offenses that are already struggling. The only play I can truly endorse here is the under, but I can’t say it will be a fun watch if you bet it. Still, I expect a classic sloppy Big Ten West matchup decided by the defenses.
Iowa Vs. Wisconsin Prediction: Under 34.5 Points
Iowa Vs. Wisconsin Best Odds
This game between Iowa and Wisconsin has seen the total bet down throughout the week to the current number of 34.5. The spread has Wisconsin favored by 10 points at home, meaning the sportsbooks are projecting a final score of about 22-12.
Iowa Vs. Wisconsin Key Matchups
While offense is expected to be scarce on Saturday, there are some intriguing matchups in this game to break down. Let’s dive into some of the key matchups.
Braelon Allen Vs. Iowa’s Run Defense
As I broke down above, the Wisconsin passing offense hasn’t been as advertised, and they’ve been leaning on the services of Braelon Allen. So far this season, Allen has seven rushing touchdowns and an impressive 4.37 yards after contact per attempt. Iowa held Allen to just 92 rushing yards on 18 carries last year, which is somewhat of an impressive feat.
Iowa’s run defense hasn’t missed a beat this season, and it’s in large part due to excellent play from the linebacker tandem of Jay Higgins and Nick Jackson. They’ve combined for 48 run stops per PFF, and Higgins came up with a clutch interception of Purdue’s Hudson Card last week. Plugging the gaps and preventing explosive runs will be crucial once again in this matchup.
Kaleb Johnson Vs. Wisconsin’s Run Defense
There’s not a ton to love about the Iowa offense right now, but I do want to highlight running back Kaleb Johnson, who made his return to the lineup last week after missing three games. Johnson had 134 yards and a touchdown in his first game back, averaging 7.9 yards per attempt in the process.
However, Wisconsin held Johnson to just 57 yards on 22 carries last year (2.6 YPC) and maintains a strong run defense, ranking top 40 in EPA per play allowed. Linebacker Maema Njongmeta played just 22 snaps against Rutgers after missing the prior two weeks, and his status is important to monitor here.
WELCOME BACK KALEB JOHNSON 67-TD TOUCHDOWN HAWKEYES pic.twitter.com/Rw6hdMrzGI
— Heavens! (@HeavensFX) October 7, 2023