Since the days of Barry Alvarez roaming the sidelines, Wisconsin has regularly fielded some of the best defensive units in college football. That hasn’t changed this season, with the Badgers ranking second nationally in Football Outsiders’ defensive F+ metric, falling behind only Clemson. Linebacker Jack Sanborn and defensive back Eric Burrell lead the group with major contributions coming from young linebackers Leon Chenal and Nick Herbig.
For Iowa to put a dent in that defense, they will need solid outings from the tailback tandem of Mekhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson along with improved play from quarterback Spencer Petras. The Hawkeyes’ ground attack has not encountered too many issues during this truncated season, but Petras’ play has largely fluctuated between mediocre and outright poor. Still, he comes off easily his strongest performance of the season — 18-of-28 for 220 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions — suggesting the sophomore might have turned the corner.
The play of redshirt freshman signal-caller Graham Mertz also bears monitoring. Since delivering an effectively perfect game against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the season opener, Mertz has looked far more mortal, throwing more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three) in the time since.
Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming
You can watch Wisconsin versus Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, or you can stream it via FOXSports.com/live or the FOX Sports GO app with a cable or streaming service login.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Point spread: Wisconsin -2
Point Total: 41.5
Money line: Wisconsin -122, Iowa +102
- Since 2015, Wisconsin has a road record of 18-19-0 against the spread (15-16-0 as the road favorite).
- Also during that period, the Badgers have an over record of 13-14-0 on the road (11-10-0 as the road favorite).
- Since 2015, Iowa has a home record of 17-19-2 against the spread (3-3-1 as home underdog).
- During the same stretch, the Hawkeyes have an over record of 15-22-1 at home (2-5-0 as home underdog).
Wisconsin: (55% of handle, 33% percent of bets)
Iowa: (45% of handle, 67% percent of bets)
The Best Bet
Mertz has stalled since his banger of a debut, and Iowa has dealt with its own offensive issues throughout the season.
Pick: Under 41.5
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/MI/PA/WV), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA) or Call or Text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789. 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/IA/IN/CO/IL/TN/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.