Pick – Analysis
There aren’t many high-profiled matchups this weekend, and that’s a main reason this Game will be on ABC in local markets Saturday afternoon. Still, Iowa deserves some respect with an undefeated record and the favorite to win the Big Ten West. The Hawkeyes are a -17 point home favorite against Maryland at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Iowa didn’t have a tough non-Conference Schedule and that helped them to a 7-0 record, but two road wins at Wisconsin and Northwestern, when both were ranked, can’t be overlooked. The Hawkeyes dominated Northwestern two weeks ago in a 40-10 win.
Not much can be said about Maryland, other than they keep fighting. The Terrapins continue to struggle in Big Ten play, though, and still don’t have a Conference win. Big losses to Bowling Green and West Virginia stand out, while they almost took down Penn State last weekend.
Neither one of these teams has a good offense, but Iowa’s defense is the unit to watch in this Game. It’s the main reason the Hawkeyes are undefeated. Maryland’s offense has actually been solid the last couple Games scoring 28 points at Ohio State and then 30 against Penn State, which was an improvement after six points in two Games.
The Terps have turned to quarterback Perry Hills, who has given the offense a bit more of a running dynamic. While Hills has tossed five interceptions in the last two Games, he has five total touchdowns, while rushing for 294 yards. Technically, anything would have been better than Caleb Rowe after he threw 12 interceptions in only Four Games. Iowa has a top run defense, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Hills found some room again. The main thing the Terps can’t do is turn the ball over if they want to cover. As a team, they already have 20 interceptions, which is beyond terrible.
Iowa’s offense is a bit safer as a run-heavy team. On the year, they have ran the ball 303 times compared to only 191 pass attempts, which is just fine. Quarterback C.J. Beathard has done what’s been asked of him and he has nine TDs to go with only three interceptions. Not turning the ball over has been key for this offense. Unfortunately for them, leading running back Jordan Canzeri (698 yards, 5 TDs) is out for this Game due to an ankle injury. However, backup Akrum Wadley looked great against Northwestern in replacement, rushing for 204 yards and Four touchdowns. Expect another good Game out of him.
Maryland has been able to Scorethe last couple weeks, and now face its Fourth-straight good defense. The 17-point spread is large, but if Hills can continue to get yards with his legs, that might be enough.
The Terrapins won this Game last year 38-31, but this situation is obviously different with two teams going in opposite directions.
Trends for both of these teams point to the over with it being 7-1-2 in Iowa’s last 10 Games following a straight-up win (4-1 in last five). And neither school has a great ATS trend, outside of the Hawkeyes being 5-2 ATS on the year.
Our Pick – Check out the turnover differential here. Iowa +7 and Maryland -13! That’s pretty much all you need to know when judging each teams season to date.
LAying -17 is simply not something we ever look to do. In a spot like this, we look for reasons to take the dog or we pass. We just can’t find much to liek about this Maryland team. Iowa is the superior team here. They’ll win this Game, with the only question being, by how much? We lean towards Iowa -17 here, but not strong enough to even make it an official opinion.