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Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Picks and Predictions

09 November 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Friday, November 13th
Time:7:00 PM ET
Network:FS1
Venue:TCF Bank Stadium
Spread:Iowa -2.5
O/U:55.5

The 1-2 Iowa Hawkeyes will go on the road Friday night to face off with the 1-2 Minnesota Golden Gophers at 7:00 PM ET in TCF Bank Stadium. You can tune into the inevitable showdown on FS1. The Hawkeyes are 2.5-point road favorites and we’re looking at an expected shootout with a 55.5 over/under. The season hasn’t gone to plan for either of these squads and it’s only going to get worse for one of them. Neither team has been able to assert their identity yet and will look to do so against a defense that has struggled. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • Iowa is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games played in week 11.
  • Minnesota is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games when playing as the underdog.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Iowa’s last 15 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Minnesota’s last 11 games against Iowa.

When The Iowa Hawkeyes Have The Ball

It’s been a weird season for the Iowa Hawkeyes, to say the least. They started the season off with back-to-back losses to Purdue and Northwestern. They were favorites in both and disappointed big time. They then hosted a hot Michigan State team and pummeled them 49-7. It certainly seemed like the Hawkeyes found their rhythm and they’ll get a very interesting test against a Minnesota team that has dealt with some of the similar issues.

The Hawkeyes are led by sophomore QB Spencer Pedras, who has all the tools to be a superstar. He’s 6’5 and 235 pounds with a rocket arm. He’s quick in the pocket and is good at using his body in short-yardage spots. At the same time, Pedras just doesn’t have the “it” factor. He’s completed just 55% of his passes and has three interceptions to two touchdowns. He must be more efficient as the Hawkeyes rely on their offense taking care of the ball and winning the field position battle.

They’ve been a lot better at running the ball than passing and I’m not sure why they don’t do more of it. Both Tyler Goodson (233 yards, 3 TD) and Mekhi Sargent (122 yards, 3 TD) are averaging over five yards per carry and the Hawkeyes would love to get ahead and run the ball a ton. Their offensive line is built to block for the run and they have two workhorse studs running behind it.

When Pedras does drop back, he has six different guys with seven-plus catches. Tight end Sam LaPorta leads the squad with 13 catches for 138 yards, followed by WR Nico Ragaini with 10 catches for 109 yards. Tyrone Tracy, Brandon Smith, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette join Ragaini at receiver and they have all been productive complementary options. Smith has the Hawkeyes only two receiving touchdowns.

When The Minnesota Golden Gophers Have The Ball

The Golden Gophers have followed an identical path to 1-2, losing their first two games before finding their footing and winning game three. They lost to Michigan and Maryland before beating up Illinois by a score of 41-14. Both sides of the ball looked a lot better and the offense finally went over 400 yards. The game was over by halftime and they’ll look to carry the momentum over against an Iowa team that has struggled defensively.

The Gophers are a balanced unit, but they set everything up with the run. Mohamed Ibrahim rushed it 30 times for 224 yards and four touchdowns against Illinois and is now up to 571 yards and 10 TD’s in just three games. He’s complemented by Treyson Potts (11 carries, 112 yards, TD) and Cam Wiley (12 carries, 67 yards), who are both phenomenal in a limited capacity. Against Iowa, the Gophers will look to run the ball early and often to grab a lead.

Junior QB Tanner Morgan heads the offense after throwing for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns a season ago. Things haven’t gone so great this season, throwing just three touchdowns with just two interceptions on top of just 602 yards. The Gophers will need a lot more out of Morgan, who was expected to get better this season. Not substantially worse.

Rashod Bateman is one of the best players in the entire country at WR and he’s caught 24 balls for 302 yards and a touchdown. Chris Autman-Bell is second on the team with just six catches and he’s tied with Ibrahim out of the backfield. Bateman is going to see 10+ targets in most games and he deserves a double-team by any defense. The ball is best off in his and Ibrahim’s hands.

Spread Prediction

Minnesota is going to control the pace of this game at home as a far more efficient offense. Iowa can run the ball, but they are far behind the Gophers when it comes to passing the rock. Rashod Bateman and Mohamed Ibrahim are two of the best players in all of the country and I like the Gophers in the trenches a bit more. It’s only a matter of time until Tanner Morgan gets rolling and against a porous Iowa secondary seems like a good time. The Gophers have been flagged less than Iowa and are similar defensively. I’m a big fan of the Gophers here getting close to three points at home.

The Pick: Minnesota +2.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I don’t have a strong lean on either side of this total and would rather ride with Minnesota and the points. Let’s just get that out of the way. If I had to choose, it would be the under. This number just seems far too high for two offenses that have struggled to throw the ball and have had success on the ground.

I expect both of these teams to run the ball early as they try to establish the run. Both teams average 20+ rushes per game and they throw the ball short a ton. Even if one team has success throwing the ball, they won’t play fast. Neither team has the ability to run the score up and both defenses will be heavily involved all game long. I’ll take the under.

The Pick: Under 55.5

Final Score Prediction: Minnesota 28, Iowa 24

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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