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Iowa vs. Minnesota Big 10 Football Pick with Betting Analysis

10/29/11

The Iowa Hawkeyes, 5-2 and still very much alive in the Big 10 Legends Division travels to 1-6 Minnesota Saturday to take on the hapless Gophers. Iowa is currently a -16 point road favorite with a total of 54.5.

Handicapping football, or any sport for that matter, can be tricky at times. Handicappers, including this one, can often times over think a game, finding reasons not to bet it, often times leaving winners on the table. When it comes down to it, it should be all about the x's and o's. You've got to be comfortable enough with your methods to accept that when they tell you a game is a mismatch, it actually is. If your methods are any good, you'll win more than you lose.

This game between Iowa and Minnesota reminds me of last weeks Kansas State vs. Kansas game. I looked at that game every way I could possibly look at it and came away with the same conclusion each time....blow out city. Yet, I looked for reasons not to play it. It seemed too easy. The public was all over it, etc. etc.

Minnesota is one terrible football team. Their claim to fame this year is staying close to USC in the opener. Otherwise, their results are a mess. They barely beat Miami Ohio, lost to North Dakota State and New Mexico State and were blown off the field by Michigan, Purdue and Nebraska. They rank 110th in points scored and 115th in points allowed. Their passing game ranks 109th. They have a terrible yards per point number on offense of 17 and an equally bad number defensively of 12 and they are -7 in turnover margin.

Iowa is nothing special. They have a chance to win their way into the Big 10 title game but it wouldn't surprise us if that didn't happen. They have a good team, with good numbers. Not a great team by any stretch. They beat some inferior teams by margins you'd expect, they came from way back to beat Pitt and lost a couple you would have liked to seen them win, such as Iowa State. They are 29th in points scored and 42nd in points allowed. Their passing game ranks 40th and they have good yards per point numbers of about 12 on offense and 18 on defense. They are also +3 in turnover margin. The tough games are still to come for the Hawkeyes with Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska on the horizon.

We could make a case for the Gophers starting with the fact that they beat Iowa last year 27-24. But we'll stop right there and instead go with the numbers. Our model predicts a 44-16 Iowa win. All the numbers we like to use point towards Minnesota being a very bad football team. The number here, of -16 or less would seem to be a bargain. We'd play anything less than 17. Iowa -16

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