Historically Low College Football Total

By Betmaker Team

Winds off Lake Michigan are generally the cause of low over/unders at Wrigley Field for Chicago Cubs baseball games, but the record over/under of 29.5 points set for Saturday's Big Ten game between Iowa and Northwestern in the Friendly Confines is more evidence of both teams' pathetic offenses and formidable defenses.


The total is thought to be the first FBS game with an over/under below 30 points since 1995. The number opened at 29.5 at some sportsbooks but is now up to 30.5. The Hawkeyes have a history of setting records for opening totals; in fact, this is the fourth game in a 12-game stretch that dates back to last season that they have done so.


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Aside from sports betting, the game is quite important for the Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-2) who are tied for first place in the West Division of the Big Ten. Northwestern (4-4, 2-3), which is a 5.5 or 6 points underdog, depending on the bookmaker, has been plagued by a hazing controversy that was made public in the summer.


Iowa is ranked 20th in total defense (314.8% of yards allowed per game) and sixth in scoring defense (14.5 points allowed per game) among FBS schools. The Hawkeyes have only let up more than 16 points once, in a 31-0 loss to then-No. 7 Penn State on September 23. In their past two games, they have not allowed a touchdown.


With 232.4 yards per game, Iowa's offense is the least effective among 130 FBS schools, more than 26 yards less than the next closest team. At 19.5 points per game, it is ranked 118th in terms of scoring as well.



The Hawkeyes were held to 127 yards of total offense and lost 12-10 at Minnesota last Saturday, despite holding them out of the end zone. It wasn't even a season low for yardage, as Iowa has been held under 160 yards four times in its last 14 Big Ten games and only gained 76 yards against Penn State.


Northwestern has just a 21.8 points per game average. Although the Wildcats' defense has allowed 26.0 points per game to be scored, Northwestern has demonstrated that it is capable of winning close games at home. The last three games were won by a combined 15 points for the Wildcats, who are 4-0 at home.

Northwestern has played at Wrigley Field in the past. In 2010 the Wildcats lost to Illinois 48-21, and in 2021 they lost to Purdue 32-14.


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Despite the sub-30 total, there are several indicators that encourage those who are willing to bet the under. When the total was 34.5 points or less in Iowa's previous six games, the under performed well; with four going under and two going over.


Since the state of Illinois does not permit mobile betting on games involving in-state colleges, Illinois bettors who wish to gamble on this game must do it in person at one of the 14 retail sportsbooks in the state, which includes three off-track betting locations operated by PointsBet. Additionally, Illinois does not allow in-game betting on games involving in-state universities.