College football action on Saturday afternoon and an important battle in the Big 10 conference will take place as the Northwestern Wildcats invade Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa to rumble with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Wildcats enter this game off a 31-21 loss at home to Notre Dame, while the Hawkeyes are off a 38-36 road loss to Purdue.
Northwestern Is Closing In On Big 10 West Title
The Northwestern Wildcats stepped outside of Big 10 play last week to tangle with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They lost that game by a score of 31-21 but were also in it in the 4th quarter. I’ll revisit that game in a moment. The Wildcats can no re0focus on winning the Big 10 West Division, which will put them in the Big 10 Title game. They have gone 5-1 in league play, and they have a game lead over both Wisconsin and Purdue. It is actually a two-game lead over the Badgers after Northwestern beat them at home a few weeks ago. A win in this game and it could be just about over as they have games against Minnesota and Illinois left and they are two of the worst teams in the conference. It will be an interesting last few weeks in the Big 10.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 4, 2018
Back to the game against the Irish. The Wildcats trailed that game 24-7 in the 4th quarter before making a furious comeback to pull to within three. The Irish then sealed the deal with a 23 yards run from Ian Bok with under three minutes left in the game. The Cats were outgained 464-249, so it is a miracle they were in it late. Clayton Thorson did not have a good game as h=e hit 16/29 pass for 141 yards and a TD, while their ground game racked up just 108 yards and at 2.7 yards per pop. It will not get easier for them here as the Hawkeyes have a tough defense. The Wildcats have been susceptible to the pass (73rd), and Notre Dame threw for 343 yards on them, and Iowa is slightly above average at throwing the ball. The Cats will have to get their defense in order for this one, especially since the offense could struggle. Northwestern is 100th in scoring at 24.7 ppg and 50th in points allowed at 24.4 ppg.
Hawkeyes Fall Short In Purdue
The Purdue Boilermakers have been a surprise team in the Big 10 this year and the latest team to find that out was the Iowa Hawkeyes. They took on Purdue on the road last week and fell in a shootout by a score of 38-36. That loss may have knocked them out of the race for the Big 10 West Title as they are now at 3-3 in league play. The offense played well, but the defense just couldn’t slow down a solid Purdue offense. Iowa has the 2nd best defense in the league overall, but they allowed the Boilermakers top pile up 434 yards of total offense, including 333 yards through the air. that could be a problem for them here as the Cats come in ranked 40th in the nation in passing. Northwestern will have to throw in this game as they have one of the worst ground attacks in the nation and Iowa is 5th in the land against the run.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) November 6, 2018
The offense for Iowa has not been spectacular so far but they did put up 393 yards of total offense against Purdue, including 275 yards through the air. Nate Stanley has had a decent season as he has thrown for 2039 yards with 17 TDs and just eight INTs. He will be taking on a tougher defense in this one. The Hawkeyes are a team that relies more on their defense to win games, but the offense has not been horrible as they come in ranked 77th in total offense and 58th in scoring, putting up[ 30.4 ppg. On defense, they check in at 8th in total yards allowed and 14th in points allowed, giving up just 18.6 ppg.
- 5-2-2 ATS in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game
- 21-4-1 ATS in their last 26 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- 20-5-1 ATS in their last 26 conference games
- 16-5 ATS in their last 21 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I’m not getting this line at all. I know the game is in Iowa, but Northwestern is 5-1 in league play, and they fought hard against Notre Dame last week. Iowa has lost their previous two games and is pretty much out of the race for the Big 10 West title. The Hawkeyes have a solid defense, but they allowed Purdue to throw for 333 yards on them and the Wildcats are 40th in the nation in passing. The Wildcats also can play some good defense, and the Hawkeyes are not a great offensive team. I like the Wildcats to keep this one close.
Prediction: Northwestern +10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Hawkeyes were in a shootout with the Boilermakers last year, but that will not be the case in this one. The Hawkeyes have one of the best defenses in the nation, and the Wildcats can also play some defense. The Under is 11-5-1 in Northwestern’s last 17 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game and 9-4 in Iowa’s last 13 home games, plus 9-4 the last 13 games in this series. Last year this game finished at 17-10 and this one could be as well.
Prediction: Under 45.5
Half-Time Side Pick
I expect this to be a tight game throughout. The Wildcats are leading the Big 10 West, so they have to feel a bit dist=repected at being such a big dog in this one. I will look for them to come out fired up and lead the game at the half.
Half-Time Total Bet
This game should be low-scoring overall and it starts with a sluggish first half. this is a huge game for both teams in the Big 10 and you can expect both teams to be conservative in the early going. That will lead to a low-scoring first half.
Prediction: Under 21.5