The #21 overall Iowa Hawkeyes (6-3) host the Northwestern Wildcats (5-4) this Saturday in an important Big 10 matchup. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM EST at Kinnick Stadium and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
Taking a look at the Week 11 college football odds, Iowa opened as a 10-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has remained unchanged after early betting, as the Hawkeyes are currently listed at -10. The total for the game is sitting at 47.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Iowa vs Northwestern
Northwestern dropped to 5-4 on the season after a tough 31-21 loss to Notre Dame last weekend. It was a valiant effort by the Wildcats, who still had a chance to hand the Fighting Irish their first loss of the season late in the 4th quarter after mounting a very impressive 14-point comeback. In any event, they will now turn their focus to clinching a spot in the Big-10 championship game, as they currently hold a one game lead over Wisconsin and Purdue in the Big 10 West. QB Clayton Thorson has completed 60.2% of his passes for 2,213 yards and 11 touchdowns over his first nine games. However, he has also thrown ten interceptions and has one or less touchdown passes in eight out of his last eleven games. RB Jeremy Larkin leads the way on the ground, rushing for 346 yards and five touchdowns. Overall, Northwestern is currently averaging just 24.7 points per game (100th overall).
The Wildcats have played fairly well on defense so far this season, allowing opponents to score an average of just 24.4 points per game (50th overall) on 377.6 yards of total offense. They have been above average against the run, limiting opponents to 143.2 yards per game on the ground (42nd overall).
Iowa couldn’t find a way to get past the surprising Purdue Boilermakers last weekend, falling 38-36 on the road to drop to 6-3 on the season. The Hawkeyes had the second best scoring defense in the country heading into Week 10, but gave up 38 points on 434 yards of total offense – including 333 passing yards. QB Nate Stanley is having a good year, throwing for 2,039 yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games. He has had a ton of help from the dynamic receiving duo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, who have combined for 979 yards and ten touchdowns. As a whole, Iowa is currently averaging 30.4 points per game (58th overall).
On the other side of the ball, the Hawkeyes had been having a great year prior to their poor showing against the Boilermakers. Even so, opponents are currently averaging just 18.6 points per game (14th overall) on 283.7 yards of total offense (8th overall). Iowa has been fantastic against the run, giving up just 86.2 yards per game on the ground (5th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Northwestern +10
I’m actually semi-confused by this line, as I’m not sure how the Wildcats are currently this large of an underdog. Despite having a worse record overall, they have a 5-1 record in conference play. Iowa is just 3-3 and likely has no shot at advancing to the Big 10 Title game after losing to Purdue in Week 10. However, they are playing at home this weekend and are a very solid 6-3 overall. Still, I think this game will stay close throughout, so siding with Northwestern in this particular spot seems like the clear play to me.
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Both of these teams have looked good against the spread lately, as Iowa is 4-1 ATS in their last five home games and 6-3 ATS on the season overall. Northwestern is a very solid 16-5 ATS over their last 21 games on the road and 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 conference games.
I’m a little concerned about how average the Hawkeyes have looked defensively over their last two games. as they have now given up 30+ points in consecutive weeks. Northwestern certainly doesn’t have an explosive offense, but they should be able to do enough on Saturday afternoon to stay within a touchdown of Iowa. The Wildcats have played well on the road all season long, outscoring their opponents by an average of 5.7 points. They are also 9-2-1 ATS over their past 12 games as a double-digit underdog. It is also worth noting that Northwestern is currently 40th overall in passing yards per game, which bodes well for them against a Hawkeyes defense that just gave up 300+ yards through the air to Purdue. I think this game could go either way, so I’m taking the boatload of free points and rolling with Northwestern in this matchup.