Pick – Analysis
Iowa is the team everyone wants to know about right now. The Hawkeyes, undefeated, have a shot to make some noise in the College Football Playoff. Of course, they still have to win out, which means winning this one at Nebraska and then in the Big Ten title Game. They opened as a -2.5 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook against the Cornhuskers this Friday.
The Cornhuskers should be a feisty matchup for Iowa, considering they sit at 5-6 and need this win to become bowl eligible. After losing Four of five Games, Nebraska has come alive since beating Michigan State a couple weeks ago and won another at Rutgers last weekend. While Nebraska has lost three Games at home this year already, the losses have been a bit fluky. Those three losses have come by a total of nine points, with them all being via a Game-ending field goal or Hail Mary.
Iowa would like some of that luck in this Game. While the Hawkeyes are undefeated, not many are sold on this team being Top 4 in the country. Their best non-Conference wins came against Iowa State and Pittsburgh. They won at Wisconsin, Northwestern and Indiana in previous road Games, which are somewhat impressive, but nothing over-the-top.
As usual in this Game, the Hawkeyes will try and run the ball as much as possible, now with a healthy trio of running backs. Jordan Canzeri, LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley have all had big Games this year. Canzeri and Daniels combined for three touchdowns last weekend. The worry in this Iowa offense is the passing Game, which hasn’t really been tested yet this year. Quarterback C.J. Beathard is having a good season, but that’s what happens what you aren’t really tested. He hasn’t thrown for more than 280 yards yet due to a good running Game and solid defense. Can he step up if Nebraska gets a lead in this Game?
Nebraska’s problem has been its defense most of the season, allowing 55 points to Purdue earlier this year in a Game they needed to win. Still, the unit has come through in the last couple wins.
For the Cornhuskers to win, Tommy Armstrong Jr. will need to play it safe and not turn it over. He has six interceptions in his last three Games, and even though they won 31-14 at Rutgers last week, still tossed three picks. That’s something you can’t do against a defense like Iowa’s. Armstrong is everything for this offense, especially when the ground Game continues to have trouble getting going. They’ll likely have issues finding yards on the ground once again, whether it’s Terrell Newby or Imani Cross, against the Hawkeyes.
The road team has won three straight meetings between these schools with the Cornhuskers winning 37-34 last year as a small underdog. In this matchup, the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five.
Our Pick – Neither team has played much of a Schedule in terms of strength. However, fact remains, with those weak Schedules, one team is undefeated while the other has lost 6 Games. You don’t go undefeated by accident. We think Iowa sends Nebraska home for the holidays. Iowa -1.5