The Big Ten West will likely be decided on Saturday in the Iowa at Wisconsin betting matchup as part of college football’s week 7 slate. The Hawkeyes (5-1, 2-1) and the Badgers (4-1, 2-0) are the only two teams in the division with a winning record and it’s not pretty down the dial with the likes of Northwestern, Minnesota, and Nebraska lacking any real firepower this season.
This is usually a hard hitting, low scoring matchup between two defensive minded teams, but oddsmakers have tagged the Badgers as -9.5 favorites on Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes once again have one of the worst offenses in the country and are playin on the road, but have covered the number in three of the last four head to head matchups between these Midwest rivals.
Why Iowa Has Value at +9.5
The Hawkeyes are 5-1 this season, with their only loss coming 31-0 on the road at #6 Penn State. Granted things haven’t always looked pretty for Kirk Ferentz’s team, but that’s just how Iowa plays every season.
With QB Cade McNamara out for the year with a knee injury, QB Deacon Hill gets the start again and he has some extra motivation for this game after being part of the Wisconsin program the last two years. The Badgers coaching staff didn’t think very highly of Hill as he played in just one game and didn’t throw a pass, so he’s out to show them what they’re missing in the Iowa at Wisconsin betting matchup.
Let’s be honest, if the Hawkeyes are going to cover the +9.5 here it’s going to have to be in a low scoring game and conditions are ripe for that with an 85% chance of rain in Madison throughout the afternoon. That combined with Iowa’s defense being a top 30 squad in total yards allowed means the first team to 17 might win this game.
Why Wisconsin Has Value at -9.5
Off the top of our heads we think that Iowa vs Wisconsin is a good rivalry, and the Hawkeyes have taken two of the last three – but in reality UW has owned this series lately winning seven of the last 10. That includes 27-7 in Madison in 2021 when the two squads last met at Camp Randall.
Iowa QB Deacon Hill may have an axe to grind with his former team the Badgers, but his 6/21 for 110 yards with 1/1 last week in the 20-14 win over Purdue doesn’t strike a lot of fear in UW fans. Overall the Hawkeyes rank 133rd in the nation in total yards (249.2) and are right up there with the military academies in pass yards (129.8).
With the weather forecast calling for rain, this game should turn one dimensional on the ground. That’s just fine with the Badgers who rank 26th in the country allowing just 106.6 yards/game while also having a top 20 rushing offense at 203.6 yards/game. Badgers RB Braelon Allen has 100+ yards in two straight games and is now the undisputed feature back now that Chez Mellusi is out for the year with a broken leg.
Free Iowa at Wisconsin Betting Pick
The line seems surprisingly high, but when you take a closer look this seems like the Badgers might only need 10 points to cover the -9.5. UW could put 9 or 10 guys in the box on defense and still feel confident that the Iowa passing game is not going to beat them – especially on a rainy day at Camp Randall.
Iowa 9 – Wisconsin 24
Free Pick: Wisconsin -9.5