Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Odds and Pick to Cover the Point Spread

No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines (5-1
SU, 3-3 ATS), Week 7 NCAA Football, 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, October
16, 2010, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich., TV: ABC/ESPN

by Badger of

Betting Odds: UI -3.5/Mich +3.5
Over/Under Total: 53

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The Michigan Wolverines will try and get back on track in Big Ten
Conference play on Saturday when they host the 15th-ranked Iowa
in the Big House of Michigan Stadium.

Michigan suffered their first loss of the season in their own
backyard last weekend in their annual border battle with Michigan
State, 34-17. Quarterback Denard Robinson was swarmed on the ground
and forced to throw it to win, and three interceptions later the
Wolverines are now knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten and
unranked once again.

It wont get any easier for them this week either, as the Hawkeyes come to the Big House rested and ready to rumble.

Iowa is coming off its bye week following a 24-3 victory over Penn
State in their Big Ten opener two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes defense, a
defense that leads the country in points allowed (10.2 ppg), has had
two weeks to prepare for the Wolverines offensive attack and should
allow them stay alive in the conference title race.

Oddsmakers are figuring the extra week of preparation will pay off
for the Hawkeyes because they opened the point spread with Iowa
listed as 3.5-point favorites. There are a few online sportsbooks that have lowered the number down the hook to 3-points, but for the
most part the line has yet to move much in either direction.

The over/under total is still off the board with most bookies, but
the few that have released a total are opening it 53 or 53.5.

After setting a furious offensive pace through the first five games
of the season, last week the Wolverines and Robinson were held in
check by the Spartans. After averaging 533 yards per game in building
up to 5-0, Robinson was held to under 100 rushing and the Wolverines
offense was only able to grind out 377 total yards against their
rivals from East Lansing. With just 162 yards on the ground as a team
(they average 297 ypg), Michigan was forced to pass to beat the
Spartans and Robinson struggled to get it done.

The Wolverines and coach Rich Rodriguez better do a lot of 7-on-7 in
practice this week too, because you can wager your whole bankroll
that the rest of the teams in the Big Ten are watching the tape of
how the Spartans contained Robinson. As mentioned, Iowa boast one of
the best defenses in the country and they are only allowing 63.2
yards per game on the ground, so it looks like the Wolverines will
need to throw it better this week if they hope to get back into the
win column.

And theyll likely have to throw it early and often because the way
the Michigan defense is playing they are going to have to outscore
teams. Michigan was repeatedly gouged by Sparty allowing 536 yards of
offense, one week after they allowed Indiana to amass 568 yards in a
narrow victory, so the Wolverine offense must get back to their ball-
control running game to have any chance.

Iowa is certainly capable of taking advantage of the weak Michigan
defense, with Adam Robinson on the ground (480 yards, 6 TD) and
quarterback Richard Stanzi and receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos as
the main threats in the passing game. Stanzi and the Hawkeyes average
254 yards a game in the air, a total that will have to be higher on
Saturday in order for them to take full advantage of the weak
Michigan secondary.

After a two-year hiatus on the schedule, last year the Hawkeyes finally snapped the Wolverines three-game winning streak in the
series with a hard-fought 30-28 victory in Iowa City. The Wolverines
did cover the 9.5-point spread in last years game, giving them three
straight covers in the series.

Michigan has won the last two games in the Big House against Iowa (in
2004 and 06), and three of the last four at home going back to 1995,
so the home underdog here might be and enticing wager. The underdog
in the Michigan-Iowa series is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings, but
more often than not Iowa has filled that role as they are 7-3 ATS in
the same span.

Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: UM showed their weaknesses last week for
the whole conference to see, and I expect the Hawkeyes defense to be
prepared and ready to exploit them both offensively and defensively.
Im taking Iowa minus the 3.5-points.

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