The Wisconsin Badgers leapfrogged the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten standings after drubbing Bo Pelini’s team last Saturday. Melvin Gordon played like a man possessed in that game, which surely has caught the Iowa Hawkeyes’ attention.
Can Wisconsin avoid any more complications on their way to the Big Ten title game by lowering the boom on the Hawkeyes? Or will Iowa prove to be more than just a cannon fodder for the rolling Badgers?
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Wisconsin Badgers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City
When: Saturday, November 22, TBD
Line: Wisconsin Badgers (-10) at Iowa Hawkeyes (+10) – view all NCAA Football lines
Betting on the Wisconsin Badgers
It wasn’t a track meet but Melvin Gordon made it look like one when he played like Usain Bolt and The Road Runner rolled into one, rushing for an FBS-record breaking 408 yards and four touchdowns to lead Wisconsin to a 59-24 win Saturday over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. In case that figure isn’t mind-bending enough, Gordon also collected all those yards in just three quarters.
It’s unfair to expect Gordon to rush for another devilish amount of yards against Iowa next week, but the Hawkeyes’ rushing defense presents a swell opportunity for the Heisman Trophy candidate to have another huge game. The Hawkeyes are giving up 154.44 yards on the ground per game. The Hawkeyes have allowed just 86.0 rushing yards over their last two games, though those were against Minnesota and Illinois, whose combined rushing yards average is just a tad better than Wisconsin’s 325.67 per game.
The Badgers’ defense, meanwhile, also deserves some attention. They are third in the nation with only 14.3 PPG allowed.
The Badgers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
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Betting on the Iowa Hawkeyes
Now comes the hard part for Iowa. After handing Big Ten cellar-dwellers Illinois Fighting Illini a 30-14 defeat last week, the Hawkeyes will now begin a back-to-back schedule against conference top dogs, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
The Hawkeyes must be looking at this formidable stretch with a glass-half-full mindset as it gives them a crack at playing in a bigger bowl game. But first, Iowa should find a way on how to contain Wisconsin’s bullish running attack. As mentioned above, the Hawkeyes don’t possess the kind of defense that could make Wisconsin’s backfield shaking in fear. However, this Iowa team has shown the ability to surprise with their defense this season.
Take for example the Hawkeyes’ 24-10 win in Week 5, when they limited the Purdue Boilermakers (159.70 rushing yards per game) down to just 84 rushing yards. The Hawkeyes also surrendered only 88 rushing yards in their victory over Illinois. They are 30th in the nation with 22.5 PPG allowed.
After a 51-14 loss to the Minnesota Gophers on November 8, the Hawkeyes appeared to have recovered their beat on offense, albeit opposite Illinois’ mediocre defense. They picked up 587 total yards, with their rushing game contributing 304 yards. The duo of Mark Weisman and Jordan Canzeri had 134 and 68 rushing yards. Weisman was a workhorse against Illinois with starting quarterback Jake Rudock and backup C.J. Beathard giving him 23 total touches. Weisman, however, will be up against Wisconsin’s rushing defense that gives up a measly average of 94.33 yards per game.
Rudock, on the other hand, is going to need the offensive line at its best next Saturday. Wisconsin owns a ruthless front seven bannered by defensive ends Derek Landisch and Deion Barnes, who each have six sacks, sixth most in the conference.
The Hawkeyes are 2-0 ATS in their last two home games.
Wisconsin wins, 45-24.
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