The pick for the Wisconsin/Iowa game Saturday seems very simple.
As of Tuesday morning, the Badgers are -1.5 favorites on DraftKings on the road against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
That’s a joke of a spread and incredibly disrespectful to the Badgers. It’s almost impossible for me to envision a situation where the Badgers don’t cover.
The numbers indicate a big Wisconsin win over Iowa.
While I’m not shy about being a huge Wisconsin fan, this pick isn’t based on my fandom. It’s based on two things: stats and the eye test.
Let’s start with the numbers. Iowa averages just 19 points a game against conference opponents. If you take out the past two games against Purdue and Northwestern, that number drops to 14.25 points a game against Big Ten teams.
Are the last two games Iowa played the real Iowa or are they one-offs? Given the season the 5-4 Hawkeyes are having, it certainly seems like the latter.
The team has also thrown a grand total of five touchdowns to six interceptions on the season. The leading rusher – Kaleb Johnson – has just 553 yards on the season. The offense is terrible, and that’s bad news for the Hawkeyes because Wisconsin’s defense is very good. It’s not the defense of 2021, but it’s still good enough to smother any team that lacks elite skill position players.
For example, Maryland marched into Camp Randall, and the Terrapins, whose offense looks like an NFL team compared to Iowa, finished with 10 points and 189 total yards. It was an incredibly ugly day.
A few weeks ago, top NFL prospect Aidan O’Connell finished with one touchdown and three interceptions against the Badgers. Yet, we’re supposed to believe Iowa has the dogs to keep this game close? I don’t think so.
The Badgers are rolling on offense the last four games.
Furthermore, Wisconsin has a much better offense that should give Iowa’s defense plenty of fits. Since Jim Leonhard took over, Wisconsin has averaged 32 points a game. All for of those games were against B1G teams.
Graham Mertz has thrown nine touchdowns to a single interception during that same time period. Mertz’s 17 passing touchdowns on the season is 3.4x better than what Iowa has done under center all year.
On the season, Braelon Allen has 989 rushing yards and ten touchdowns. He’s damn near doubled up Iowa’s best back’s rushing yards.
How did the oddsmakers look at all this data and come to the conclusion this game would be close?
Give me Wisconsin -1.5 and give it to me all day long. This one might be over before the Hawkeyes even know what hit them.