Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
The Iowa-Wisconsin rivalry seems to run in runs. Not too long ago, the Hawkeyes took six of eight meetings from the Badgers, but Wisconsin is 5-1 straight up and 4-2 against the spread over the last six. Which side is the smart bet for Saturday night’s Big Ten West border battle at Kinnick Stadium?
College football point spread: The Badgers opened as six-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report).
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 28.2-24.3 Badgers (College football picks on every game).
Why the Wisconsin Badgers can cover the spread
The Badgers are looking to bounce back this week after getting upset at home last week by BYU 24-21. Wisconsin scored first for a 7-0 lead, twice later trailed but responded with touchdowns to forge ties at 14-14 and 21-21. The Badgers then fell down by a field goal early in the fourth quarter and could not match it, missing their own field goal with just under a minute to go in suffering their first home non-conference loss since 2003.
On the day, Wisconsin out-gained the Cougars 394-311, out-rushed BYU 204-191, made 23 first downs to 14 for the Cougars and held a 34/26 time–of–possession advantage. But the Badgers threw an interception inside their own territory—leading directly to a BYU touchdown—gave up a touchdown on a trick play, got called for a pass interference penalty on a third down inside their own red zone and got stopped on downs after reaching the Cougars’ 32-yard line.
Wisconsin opened this season with wins over Western Kentucky and New Mexico by a combined score of 79-17. The Badgers also beat Iowa last year 38-14, covering as a 12-point favorite.
Why the Iowa Hawkeyes can cover the spread
The Hawkeyes are 3-0 both SU and ATS this season, following their 38-14 victory over Northern Iowa last week. Iowa drove 92 yards to a touchdown on its second possession of the game, 68 yards to a touchdown on its third possession and 67 yards to a touchdown on its fourth possession for a 21-0 halftime lead. The Hawkeyes later pushed that advantage to 38-0 before allowing the Panthers to score two meaningless touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but still covered as 22-point favorites.
On the evening Iowa out-gained UNI 545-228 and almost all the yardage the Hawkeyes defense allowed came in garbage time. Iowa also out-rushed the Panthers 207-6, made 27 first downs to 14 for Northern Iowa and held a 37/23 time of possession advantage.
Iowa opened this season with a 33-7 win over Northern Illinois, covering a nine-point spread, then held off Iowa State 13-3, covering a four-point spread.
Smart betting pick
Wisconsin was exposed as a paper tiger last week, while Iowa is getting great play from its defense. Also, the Hawkeyes are 4-1 ATS their last five times out as home dogs, and that includes outright upsets of Michigan and Ohio State. The smart money here bets Iowa.
College football betting trends
Iowa is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games at home.
Iowa is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games at home in September.
The total has gone under in seven of Wisconsin’s last eight games on the road after consecutive home games.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.