Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Odds, Analysis, Bet ATS
Michigan Wolverines (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, October 1, Noon
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Point Spread: MICH -10.5/IOWA +10.5 (BAS – Save BIG $$$ by stopping betting your college football games at -110 odds and starting to lay only -105 at BetAnySports! You’ll be so glad you did!)
Total: O/U 42.5
It’s a rematch of last year’s Big Ten title game, and once again, Iowa doesn’t appear to have the offense needed to handle this matchup. The Hawkeyes got spanked last season in Indianapolis because the offense just could not do anything against Michigan, and eventually, the defense could no longer hold on. The Hawkeyes held on for three quarters in a 21-3 game, but the Wolverines punished them down the stretch because the defense had been on the field far too long.
The Wolverines haven’t really played anyone of note to this point, which has some wondering whether this team is a little overhyped. Those whispers got a little louder after the Wolverines barely held on to beat a Maryland team that they’ve regularly routed, but Michigan did this last season too. The Wolverines played poorly against a weak Rutgers team in their fourth game, came in without hype at Wisconsin, and blasted the Badgers in a three-touchdown win. Last year, only Indiana and Wisconsin managed fewer yards against Michigan than Iowa did, and the Hawkeyes’ offense might be even weaker than a year ago, which could mean a comfortable Michigan win.
How the Public is Betting the Michigan/Iowa Game
The public thinks that this line is about right for where these teams are, as 54% of tickets have come in on the Hawkeyes. However, enough money has come in on Michigan to push the line up from -9.5 to -10.5. The total has ticked down from 43 to 42.5.
Linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green (undisclosed), offensive lineman Karsen Barnhart (ankle), running back Donovan Edwards (undisclosed), and offensive lineman Trevor Keegan (undisclosed) are questionable. Quarterback Cade McNamara (leg) is out.
Wide receiver Keagan Johnson (lower body) is questionable. Defensive back Jermari Harris (illness), wide receiver Diante Vines (wrist), and wide receiver Jackson Ritter are out.
When Michigan Has the Ball
The Wolverines have put up some huge numbers against some overmatched opponents, but they’re yet to see anyone up to Iowa’s defensive level. Still, J.J. McCarthy has performed well as the starter, and Blake Corum has had an easy time gaining yards whenever the Wolverines have turned to the ground game.
In this game, however, it’s an interesting question as to how Michigan chooses to attack the Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes have proven outstanding at defending both the run and pass, and the defense scored two touchdowns last week against Rutgers to create the cushion that allowed Iowa to control the second half. Corum hasn’t really been challenged once this season, but with McCarthy never having seen a defense of this caliber, Michigan is likely to ask its running back to control the game as much as possible.
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When Iowa Has the Ball
Iowa’s offense has been a total train wreck to this point, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better. The Hawkeyes don’t have a quarterback, might have a running game, and don’t really have any direction on that side of the ball. With the way Iowa moves the football and the way the Hawkeyes play special teams, it honestly might not be a bad idea if the Hawkeyes occasionally opted to punt on second or third down just to keep the offense from doing anything to lose the game.
Spencer Petras dialed things back against Rutgers and made sure not to lose the game, which was good enough to survive that matchup. It’s not going to work against the likes of Michigan and Ohio State, but Iowa doesn’t really have anyone who can change things up as long as the Hawkeyes choose to go with this game plan. Sam LaPorta is a solid pass catcher, but Iowa doesn’t really have anything else to hurt defenses unless their own defense sets them up deep in opposing territory. There’s a reason Iowa has only scored six first-half points all season that wasn’t set up by the defense or special teams starting them on the other team’s side of the field.
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Here’s a weird stat for you: Iowa, the team, known for not having an offense, is actually 5-0 to the over in its past five conference games. The Hawkeyes’ defense has been a monster to this point, and it’s done so well against league foes that it tends to create scores on its own. Last week against Rutgers, that was enough to push the total above the number, Iowa’s first over of the season.
Here’s a stat you might not be surprised to learn: Iowa is just 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 October games. The Hawkeyes have struggled against teams that know them well because Big Ten foes know Iowa waits for you to make a mistake and then pounces on it. Michigan usually doesn’t make the mistake; Michigan usually just buries its opponent. The win over Maryland was the first time in six league games that the Wolverines failed to cover, and October has been Jim Harbaugh’s month. He’s gone 10-3 ATS in October, as the Wolverines seem to get stronger when playing middling league rivals. Iowa isn’t middling, but Harbaugh has still done well against the Hawkeyes, as Michigan is 4-1 ATS in its past five matchups.
A noon kickoff means this will be perfect football weather in Iowa City. Temperatures will hit 73 degrees with winds blowing east-northeast at seven miles per hour, and no rain and few clouds are in the forecast.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
It’s tough to pick a double-digit spread against Iowa, but Michigan also doesn’t have to do a lot on offense to hit that number. The Wolverines might only win this one by 20-3, but Iowa’s probably not going to do a heck of a lot as long as Michigan doesn’t set the Hawkeyes up with a short field.
As long as Michigan doesn’t shoot itself in the foot, the Wolverines should have no issues here. Give me Michigan.
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