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Insight Bowl

Missouri vs Iowa

Betting Line: Missouri -3 o/u 46.5

12/28/10

Iowa had hopes of winning the Big Ten just as Missouri had hoped to take down the Big XII. Both were in with shots this year, but neither could get the job done. They will now meet each other in the Insight Bowl. The Hawkeyes finished the year 7-5 and on a 3 game losing streak. Don't let that fool you though. The 2009 Orange Bowl winning team can hang with anybody for one game as proved by a 37-6 win over Michigan State and a near miss 20-17 loss to Ohio State. Missouri enters this bowl on a 3 game winning streak. Needless to say both of these teams have to bring their best shot.

This game opened as a pick but the line has shifted to Missouri -3 as a result of the Iowa suspensions. The Tigers are getting 67% of the action compared to 33% for the Hawkeyes. Missouri is averaging 30.3 PPG compared to 29.1 for Iowa. The Hawkeyes are giving up slightly more points at 16.4 PPG compared to 15.4 for the Tigers. Top Hawkeyes WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has been suspended from this game due to drug charges. The senior had 10 TD catches this year. Unfortunately it gets worse for Iowa. RB Adam Robinson has also been suspended. He had 10 TD rushes and nearly a thousand yards this year.

The Missouri offense is headed by QB Blaine Gabbert. He isn't an overly flashy player, but he minimizes mistakes and gets the job done. Gabbert has completed 260 of 418 passes for 2,752 yards and 15 TDs. One of his best performances this year came when he gained 361 passing yards and 3 TDs against Texas A&M. Towards the end of the year he added a new element to his game. The junior had 74 rushing yards against Nebraska and 89 against Kansas State. RB De'Vion Moore is also a key part of the offense. The junior has 8 TDs this year. Sophomore TJ Moe is the top WR with 77 catches for 893 yards and 6 TDs. The Missouri offense is a balanced attack.

Senior QB Ricky Stanzi really has his work cut out for him with two of his top Hawkeyes suspended from this game. He has passed for 2,804 yards and 25 TDs this year. He was 11 for 15 for 190 yards and 3 TDs against Michigan State. He will have to rely on junior WR Marvin McNutt in this game. The 6-4 player is a tough matchup and he has 51 catches for 798 yards and 8 TDs this year. Freshman RB Marcus Coker will take over for Robinson. He scored a TD against Ohio State and could have some potential in the future. The immediate future is the problem though. HC Kirk Ferentz will have to cook up something mighty good to score on this defense with two of his best players out. 

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Iowa's defense could be the thing that keeps them in the game. They are deadly against the run and decent against the pass. Lets recall that in 2009 he totally stopped Georgia Tech's potent Triple Option offense. With some time to prepare Ferentz will have this defense ready to roar. One of their best games came when they held a potent Michigan offense to just 28 points. Michigan State could only muster 6 points against this defense. The Hawkeyes will make Missouri earn every point they put on the scoreboard.

Missouri's defense has been hot and cold, but in the end they are keeping points off the board and that is all that matters. Texas Tech burned them for 489 yards but only 17 points. San Diego State got 440 yards but only 24 points. With so many key elements of the Iowa offense missing we can expect no reason for Missouri not to stop Iowa's offense.

This is a game we have been looking forward to watching, but not to betting. We've been looking forward to it because we love defense and both of these teams can play some big time "D". The suspensions are going to hurt Iowa for sure, but perhaps not as badly as some think. Look at it this way.......most superstars, Tom Brady for example, got their big chance because the guy they were backing up got injured. Well, these kids stepping up to the plate in this game for the suspended starters get their big chance now. They figure to perform adequately.

This game will be won on the defensive side of the ball, and from that standpoint, we thing it's a toss up. These teams are among the best in the land when looking at defensive yards per point numbers. In fact, Missouri is THE best in that category and Iowa is not far behind with only Alabama being better. They are also among the top teams in the land in turnover margin.

The proposition that may be worth a closer look in this one is the total. We have Missouri winning this one by a predicted score of 18-16. That's a full 12.5 points below the posted total of 46.5. We rarely play totals and we aren't going to here. But if we did, this one would definitely be on our ticket. A strong opinion here Under 46.5

 

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