Iowa-Michigan opens up as lowest total ever in a conference title game

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Nov. 28, 2023 4:49 p.m. ET

The No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes have made betting history on a near-weekly basis lately, setting records for the lowest opening and closing point total numerous times in the past month. 

Well, the Hawkeyes will make history again in the Big Ten Championship game when they take on the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on FOX and the FOX Sports app

The total opened at 35 points, which is the lowest number for a conference title game dating back to 2000, according to FOX Sports Research. This broke the previous record of 39 set in the 2008 ACC Championship Game between Virginia Tech and Boston College.

As if 35 was not low enough, the number is already on the move, as the total dropped to 34.5 on Monday night. 

In addition to the low game total, Iowa’s team total in Saturday’s game is a depressingly-low 6.5. Meaning the sportsbooks don’t project the Hawkeyes to even score a touchdown. If that wasn’t bad enough, the first-half and second-half team totals for the Hawkeyes both sit at .5 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Will Iowa score a point this game? 

Regarding the game itself, the 10-2 Hawkeyes are a whopping 23.5-point underdog to the 12-0 Wolverines.


Michigan Wolverines



Iowa Hawkeyes


For bettors, taking the Under on Iowa games has been very profitable this season. The Under has hit in 10 of Iowa’s 12 games, including the last seven.

The low point totals set for the game, and for Iowa as a team, are obviously a reflection of the Hawkeyes’ poor offensive performance this season. The team’s 18 points per game is the ninth-lowest mark in the country, and they’ve averaged a paltry 14.6 points in conference play. 

But the historically low point totals also reflect Iowa’s strong defense. The Hawkeyes allowed just 12.2 points per game during the regular season, which was the fourth-best mark in FBS.

Michigan beats Ohio State for the third year in a row

On the flip side, Michigan also has a top-tier scoring defense. It allowed just 10.3 points per game during the regular season, which was the fewest allowed in FBS. 

However, something will have to give during Saturday’s game when Michigan’s offense takes the field against Iowa’s defense. Michigan scored 37.6 points per game during the regular season, including 30 points against Ohio State, which had the third-best scoring defense during the regular season. Michigan has hit the 30-point mark in all but one game this season. 

Here’s a look at how the overall point total has fared in Iowa games this season: 

Sept. 2 @ Iowa 24, Utah State 14 (Under 43.5)Sept. 9 Iowa 20, @ Iowa State 13 (Under 34.5)Sept. 16 @ Iowa 41, Western Michigan 10 (Over 43.5) Sept. 23 @ Penn State 31, Iowa 0 (Under 37.5)Sept. 30 @ Iowa 26, Michigan State 16 (Over 36.5)Oct. 7 @ Iowa 20, Purdue 14 (Under 38.5)Oct. 14 Iowa 15 @ Wisconsin 6 (Under 34)Oct. 21 Minnesota 12, @ Iowa 10 (Under 30.5)Nov. 4 Iowa 10, Northwestern 7 @ Wrigley Field (Under 32)Nov. 11 @ Iowa 22, Rutgers 0 (Under 27.5)Nov. 18: @ Iowa 15, Illinois 13 (Under 33.5)Saturday: Iowa 13, @ Nebraska 10 (Under 25.5)

Saturday will mark the second time in three seasons that Michigan and Iowa will meet in the Big Ten title game. Michigan won the 2021 battle for the conference’s crown, 42-3. 

FOX Sports’ bowl projections by college football writer Bryan FIsher has the Wolverines playing in the College Football Playoff Rose Bowl semifinal against Oregon.

Fisher projects the Hawkyes to play Ole Miss in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1.

Do you think the Hawkeyes will hit the Under against Michigan in the Big Ten title game? Follow FOX Sports for the latest in college football and other sports.

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