After clinching a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game, the 16th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes look to keep building momentum heading into their regular-season finale against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The conference rivals square off Friday (noon ET) at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska is a 1-point favorite (-110) and -120 on the moneyline, while Iowa is +1 (-110) on the spread and +100 to win outright. The projected total is just 26.5 (-110 Over, -110 Under), the lowest for any game in FBS history.
Who has the edge? Read on as we break down both teams and assess the odds for the latest rendition of this Iowa-Nebraska football rivalry.
Date/Time: Friday, noon ET
Where: Memorial Stadium; Lincoln, Neb.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are 5-5-1 against the spread, including 2-1 away from home. The total has gone Under in Iowa’s last six games and nine of 11 overall. That’s tied with three other schools for the highest rate (81.8%) in the country.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are 4-6-1 ATS, including 2-4 at home. The total has gone Under in 13 of Nebraska’s last 20 college football games. However, it’s gone Over in six of the previous seven matchups with Iowa.
Keep that in mind when assessing the odds for this Iowa-Nebraska football rivalry.
Hawkeyes Heading Back to Indy
The Iowa Hawkeyes are returning to the Big Ten Championship game following their 15-13 victory over Illinois in Week 12. The Hawkeyes, who returned to the AP rankings at No. 20, are now 6-2 in conference play and 9-2 overall. As champions of the West Division, they’ll face either Michigan or Ohio State for the Big Ten title on Dec. 2 in Indianapolis. They’re currently priced as high as +1200 to win the conference.
A 3-point favorite against Illinois, the Hawkeyes took the lead with 4:43 remaining on Kaleb Johnson’s 30-yard touchdown run. The teams went Under the projected total of 33.5 points, continuing recent trends for the Hawkeyes. This NCAAF season, they’ve been close to a lock in that regard.
Iowa, 31st in the Sagarin rankings 2023, has already exceeded its projected regular-season win total (7.5) in spite of its dismal offense. The Hawkeyes rank 121st in FBS in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per game. At the Power Five level, only two schools (Michigan State, Arizona State) have scored with less frequently. They also rank dead last in total yards (245.4 per game). On the flip side, Iowa has allowed the third-fewest points in the country (12.3 PPG).
Deacon Hill was efficient against Illinois, completing 19 of 29 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. Hill, a sophomore, is now 5-1 as a starter in place of the injured Cade McNamara (torn ACL). That’s important to remember when analyzing the odds for this Iowa-Nebraska football rivalry.
Bowl eligibility still seems so close yet so far for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, losers of three straight. The Cornhuskers fell 24-17 in overtime to Wisconsin in Week 12, dropping to 3-5 in Big Ten play and 5-6 overall on the college football schedule.
A 7-point underdog, Nebraska blew leads of 14-0 after the first quarter and 14-10 at halftime. After Tristan Alvano forced overtime with a 30-yard field goal with four seconds remaining, the Cornhuskers’ offense fell flat with the game on the line. Making his first start, sophomore Chubb Purdy threw for 169 yards with one touchdown and one interception and also ran for 105 yards and a score.
Despite Purdy’s contributions, the Cornhuskers still need one win to become bowl eligible. It’d be a notable accomplishment, as the Cornhuskers — projected for 6.0 regular-season wins — haven’t been to a bowl since 2016 under Mike Riley. That’s also the last time the Cornhuskers finished with a .500 or better record in conference play.
Nebraska ranks only 118th in FBS in scoring offense (18.7 PPG). It’s scored 20 or fewer points in six of the last seven games, with the exception of a 31-14 victory over Purdue on Oct. 28.
Handicapping the Game
The total for Iowa-Nebraska is down to 26.5, the lowest total ever for an FBS game. It’s also the sixth time in the last 14 games that Iowa’s Over/Under is the lowest in college football betting history. Each of the last five times went Under the total.
This total is obviously a low bar to clear. That said, nobody’s been a better lock in that market. Taking Iowa straight up — for plus money, no less — might be the better play. However, bettors would be wise to stick with recent trends.