Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers – College Basketball, February 18, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 17, 2021 3:23 pm PDT

Things could not be much closer between these two teams as they both have 15 wins apiece this season. They currently occupy third and fourth in the Big Ten, and although there is very little chance of catching Michigan at the top, there is still plenty to play for here.

Over the previous six meetings, nothing has separated these two teams, much like their records this season. The Badgers have had the better of things in Wisconsin having won four of the last five games there.

Wisconsin has averaged six more points per game than Iowa over the last ten meetings. In those ten games, neither team has shot well. In particular, Iowa has been poor as they have a field goal percentage of only 40%.

Here is my Hawkeyes vs. Badgers betting preview.

Hawkeyes vs. Badgers Odds

Hawkeyes -1.5-110
Badgers +1.5-110
Hawkeyes To Win-120
Badgers To Win-105
Over 145 Points-110
Under 145 Points-110 

The spread is as close as you would expect between two teams, as closely matched as these two. Interestingly the points total has been cut by three points already since the betting opened. Although I still believe it looks too high, it could offer value.

The Badgers have only entered three games this season as the underdog, and they have lost two of those games.

Hawkeyes News

The Hawkeyes have struggled for form recently, winning only three of their previous seven games. However, they have won their last two, so it would seem that their struggles may be coming to an end.

This inconsistent form has continued throughout their games on the road as they have won four and lost four of their eight road trips. When they have lost on the road this season, they have followed up that defeat with another one. But they have gone on to win the third game on both occasions as they did last time out by beating Michigan State.

Here are the latest betting trends for Iowa:

Against The Spread

  • They have only won two of their previous seven matches.
  • Iowa is 2-6-1 in their last nine games against Wisconsin.
  • The Hawkeyes have won two-thirds of their last nine games played in February.

Points Total

  • Five of their last seven games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only two of their previous six matches on the road have failed to go under the points total.

Other Pointers

  • They have won 14 of their last 20 games.
  • The Hawkeyes have only won three of their previous 11 games against the Badgers.
  • This record is even worse on the road against the Badgers as they have lost 13 of the last 15 matches played in Wisconsin.

Iowa has the third-best offense in the country this season, averaging 87 points per game. They have averaged four points less per game on the road this season, but it is still an impressive total.

They move the ball around the court with the most incredible ease and have made the country’s second-highest number of assists. This also means that they don’t make many turnovers as they use their possession exceptionally well. They are turning the ball over less than any other team in the country.

The Hawkeyes have a three-point success rate that some teams would be happy to achieve within the D, let alone from outside it. They are also scoring at 47% within it, so they can hurt you from everywhere.

Iowa also rebounds the ball terrifically in attack, and they’re not too bad on defense either. 

Because of their super attack, they have a point per game difference of 13.9, which is the best in the Conference this season.

However, their defense has suffered due to their magnificent offense, as the emphasis is all about attacking their opponents. In saying that, their stats are probably so low because they don’t need to defend when they spend most of the game with the ball attacking. They certainly have the ability and discipline to defend if and when required.

Luke Garza has been mightily impressive this season and is undoubtedly a candidate for player of the year this season. Many have debated whether or not he is ready to make the leap to the NBA, and a good performance against a team like Wisconsin would certainly silence some of the doubters. That would undoubtedly be the case if he continues his impeccable three-point shooting this season, which has yielded a percentage of 43%!

Iowa has only one injury concern for this game as Fredrick struggles with a recent leg problem.

Badgers News

The Badgers have struggled for consistency lately, having alternated wins and defeats over their previous eight games. The only good news is it would mean that they are due to win this match.

Wisconsin has been superb at home by winning 11 of their 14 home fixtures this season. However, two of their three defeats came in their last three games. The losses did come against Ohio State and Michigan, who are first and second in the Big Ten.

The Badgers have struggled against ranked opponents and have lost their previous four games against those teams.

Here are the latest betting trends for Wisconsin:

Against The Spread

  • The Badgers are 6-2-1 in their last nine matches played in February.
  • They have an excellent record playing on a Thursday, having won nine of their last 12 games.

Points Total

  • Five of their previous six games have gone under the betting total.
  • This is also the same record that they have in their last six games again at Iowa.

Other Pointers

  • They have won two-thirds of their previous 18 games.
  • The Badgers have made their den a fortress as they have only lost three of their last 20 home fixtures.

The Badger’s offense has been non-existent compared to the Hawkeyes attack as they have averaged 17 fewer points per game. They have been mainly let down by a low field goal percentage of only 43%. This is the same success rate they have achieved against the Hawkeyes over the last ten meetings with them.

They lack in the rebounding department, especially in attack, which, combined with their low field goal percentage, is a problem against the better teams.

Their saving grace is that they hold on to possession well and don’t turn the ball over often, which helps them dictate the game’s pace, something they are excellent at this season.

However, their defense is brilliant and will be their key to victory tonight, as it is most nights. They concede on average only 62 points, which is inside the country’s top 25 defensive records.

D’Mitrik Trice leads most of the rankings for the Badgers this season. He is playing his fifth season with Wisconsin, and they will need to rely on his experience if they are to win this one. He has risen through the ranks over the years and has become the star player for the Badgers.

Wisconsin has two players out for this one as McGrory and Carlson are both out with injuries.

Hawkeyes vs. Badgers Pick

Pick
  • Over 145 Points
    -110

I was very tempted to pick the Hawkeyes, and I believe that they will win this matchup. However, their awful record against the Badgers, particularly in Wisconsin, is putting me off. I will instead back their offense to perform as it usually does and produce many points. However, they have a combined total over their last ten meetings that is well short of the points total set here that was largely down to them both shooting poorly.

That hasn’t been the case this season, and they have a combined point total of 157 this season, which is 12 points over the betting total.

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