|Iowa Odds||+3 [BET NOW]|
|Minnesota Odds||-3 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+114 / -139 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||58.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
After losses to Purdue and Northwestern by a combined five points, the Hawkeyes busted out against Michigan State. It could be argued that the Spartans were on a hangover after their win against Michigan, but special teams and defense led Iowa to the blowout.
The Hawkeyes put up three touchdowns in their first four possessions before other units pitched in to take a 35-0 lead into halftime.
While the outcome was a bit outrageous, the box score indicates the Iowa offense did not have a breakout performance. The Hawkeyes posted just two explosive drives in 15 possessions. Only 27% of their drives contained two-plus first downs — 15% below the national average. The Hawkeyes posted a negative Success Rate in running plays and standard downs.
Credit should go to the Hawkeyes defense so far this season, with top-35 rankings in tackling, coverage and Line Yards. A rank of 94th in Finishing Drives reveals that opponents are scoring points when given the chance. In Michigan State’s lone visit to the red zone, the Spartans were able to put a touchdown on the board.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Much like the Hawkeyes, the Gophers showed up big on the scoreboard after starting 0-2 this season. Illinois has had issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to an effort that netted just 14 points and a 23% Success Rate in passing downs against Minnesota. Despite the lack of starting players for the Fighting Illini, the Gophers needed a game to get healthy in the secondary; they owned a Pro Football Focus grade of 108th in coverage.
The passing game came together, as wide receiver Rashod Bateman collected his first score of the season. Tanner Morgan led an attack that had a 66% Success Rate in passing downs, converting 8 of 10 third downs.
After a disastrous start in the first two games, there are signs of life from Minnesota. The Gophers are top 40 in opponent pass explosiveness, along with the offense sitting in the top 25 in a bevy of categories, including Finishing Drives, Passing Success Rate and Line Yards.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The news was great in Week 10 for the Gophers defense to draw a COVID-19 depleted Illinois team, but hosting Iowa may be a different story.
Minnesota still ranks as one of the worst teams in the nation against opponent rush explosiveness. That is not a good sign against an Iowa offense featuring running back Tyler Goodson. The sophomore averages 3.65 yards after contact on 43 rushing attempts this season.
The key to stopping the Iowa offense is putting quarterback Spencer Petras in passing downs, defined as yardage greater than 3rd-and-4 or 2nd-and-7. Minnesota ranks 118th in the nation in defensive standard downs Success Rate, which translates to Iowa facing plenty of short-yardage third downs.
Conversely, Minnesota has rushed the ball at a 65% clip under new offensive coordinator Mike Sanford. Iowa ranks third in FBS in defensive standard downs Success Rate and ranks seventh in defensive Rushing Success Rate.
That said, Morgan will have to take to the air, where Iowa ranks 13th in opponent pass explosiveness.
While the market is a bit higher on Iowa than our Action Network projections, there is every statistical indication that the Hawkeyes will get chunk yardage on the ground in standard downs. The Week 11 Pace Report calls for a total of 55 points, with a heavy dose coming from Iowa due to the fact the Minnesota defense is one of the worst in the trenches and in coverage.
In combination with its rush explosiveness, Iowa also ranks 13th in average predicted points per field position on offense. That is enough to bank on the Hawkeyes to score plenty of points.
Pick: Iowa Team Total Over 31 or better.