College Football Pick
Michigan’s onslaught on weaker teams continues as the Wolverines are coming off another beat down, this time against a team with a winning record. They dismantled Maryland last weekend 59-3. It was almost the opposite result for Iowa as they were taken apart by Penn State 41-14. The Wolverines are favored by -20.5 points on the road as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
The Hawkeyes were supposed to be one of the better teams, if not the best, in the Big Ten’s West once again this season, but that hasn’t been the case. The loss to North Dakota State put the writing on the wall as Iowa still doesn’t have a respectable win in Conference play. Now, coming off back-to-back losses against solid teams, Iowa gets a Michigan team that hasn’t exactly been challenged yet.
Michigan has only played two road Games, but that isn’t too big of an issue here. Yet, if there were ever a chance for Iowa, this would be it. Under the lights in primetime at home, the Hawkeyes at least have the intangibles to pull the upset.
Of course, they won’t get that upset with an offense that has scored just 23 points the last two Games. Even in wins against Rutgers and Minnesota, they still couldn’t surpass 14 points. against Michigan, one of the best defenses in the nation, it’s hard to see Iowa doing much.
Quarterback C.J. Beathard has taken a step back for the Hawkeyes and that’s been the offense’s main issue. Behind a weaker offensive line, Beathard hasn’t been able to do much and only has six passing touchdowns in six Conference Games to go with Four picks. It’s unlikely he’ll find much success against the Wolverines. With that being the case, they’ll need to get something from the ground Game between Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr.
With how they looked against Penn State and Wisconsin, it’s hard to see them doing more against Michigan. Those guys have combined for just 125 rushing yards in the last two Games.
For Michigan to get another cover, they’ll likely just need to reach 30 points or so. There will be some resistance from this Iowa defense, there’s no question about that. But this group is still a step below what they put on the field a year ago.
And at the moment for the Wolverines, everything is cooking from the run Game to Wilton Speight at quarterback. Speight has slowly gotten better as the season has gone on and it shows in his numbers, now with 15 passing touchdowns and three interceptions. When you combine that with a running Game that averages 5.5 yards per carry as a team with multiple able running backs, then it’s hard for mediocre defenses to limit them.
Wisconsin is the only defense that has been able to stop this offense and Iowa isn’t at the same level as the Badgers. If a primetime Game at home isn’t enough, then nothing will be for the Hawkeyes to have a chance.
The Wolverines have covered in their last five Games vs. a team with a winning home record, but only 2-6 ATS in their last eight following an ATS win. The Hawkeyes are 2-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and just 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 home Games.
Our Pick – It’s not all that difficult to make a case for Iowa. Had you given Iowa +20 the last 15 times these teams met, Iowa would have gone 14-1 against the number. Heck, Iowa has won 4 of the last 5 in this series straight up, and typically, the talent gap between two Big 10 teams such as these two, doesn’t change that drastically in one year.
Iowa sits at 5-4 and needs one more win to earn a Bowl birth. This Game is at home in primetime before a National TV audience and typically you’d expect a team like Iowa, who is actually a decent team, to bounce back significantly from a poor performance like they had last week.
It’s just as easy to make a case for the Wolverines though. This team is a monster that’s good on both sides of the ball. They’re going to put points on the board and you have to question Iowa’s ability to keep up.
As this is being written, this Game is at -20.5 and is inching towards -21. At 3 TD’s we have to take a look at the underdog who has proven over several years that the talent of these two programs isn’t that far apart. Iowa +21 or better