Iowa Hawkeyes vs Northwestern Wildcats Big Ten Football Picks

Iowa Hawkeyes at Northwestern Wildcats
Saturday, 11/13/10, 12:00 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Iowa -11
Current Betting Line:  Iowa -9.5
Opening Total:  48.5
Current Total:  49.5
Current Moneyline:  Iowa -350 / Northwestern +290

The Northwestern Wildcats are getting no respect from the linesmakers despite winning four of the last five meetings with Iowa

Iowa is one of four teams with one loss in Big Ten Conference play and will be looking to avenge a lost from last year in Saturday’s contest against Northwestern.  The Hawkeyes will be traveling on the road for the second consecutive week after escaping with a 18-13 win at Indiana.  “Like every player on the field and every player on the sideline, I’m sure our stomachs were in knots,” coach Kirk Ferentz stated.  “It was a little closer that I would have hoped it would be, but we won it.”  This is the 72nd game in the series and Iowa leads 46-22-3, but has dropped four of the last five meetings overall, including a 17-10 loss in Iowa City.  The squad will be stressing the importance of holding onto the football in practice this week due to committing nine turnovers in the back-to-back defeats.  The team is 11-3 ATS on the road this season and the college football lines page has them as a solid road favorite.

The Hawkeyes still rely heavily on a defense that ranks fifth nationally in rushing defense, sixth in scoring defense and eighth in total defense.  Iowa also comes in third in turnover margin at plus-1.3, which may prove big on Saturday afternoon.  “You’ve got two even teams,” Ferentz commented.  “One team played clean, played pretty well, and the other team didn’t.”  Offensively, the unit is putting up 32.3 points and 409.8 yards per game with quarterback Ricky Stanzi leading the way.  The senior quarterback was just named as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award and is a big reason the squad has just six turnovers all season.

Northwestern dropped its first road game in more than a year last Saturday in a 35-21 loss at Penn State, which happened to be coach Joe Paterno’s 400th career victory.  “We missed more tackles on Saturday than we’ve missed in the previous five or six games combined,” said head coach Pat Fitzgerald.  “It’s not real hard, it’s not real complicated.”  The Wildcats had allowed more than 30 points and 400 total yards in just one game prior to last week’s failure.  Since Fitzgerald took over the program’s control in 2006, the team has posted a 9-5 record in November, with three of the wins coming against Top 25 clubs.  Northwestern is 6-2 ATS during this month of the calendar year and 2-7 ATS thus far in 2010.

The Wildcats will be honoring 12 student-athletes who will be playing at Ryan Field for the final time this Saturday, as the team will be playing against the Fighting Illini at Wrigley Field.  The small senior class features four starters on defense and three regulars on offense.  Quarterback Dan Persa is not in his final year in Evanston, but will play a critical part in determining the winner of this game, ranking 10th in the nation in passing efficiency and also rushing for eight touchdowns.  He ran for a career-high 109 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss.

Bettors will find that the Hawkeyes are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as a road favorite of 3.5 to 10 points, while the Wildcats are 8-2 ATS as a home underdog.

Don’t miss out on a huge weekend and let the college football handicappers at Maddux Sports go to work for you!

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