NCAAF Week 12 Parlay at (+268): Iowa Edges Minnesota in Defensive Battle

profile image of Rainman
Defensive back Riley Moss #33 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after breaking up a pass in the end zone in the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Gaelen Morse/Getty Images/AFP

The best sportsbooks have released their college football odds for this week’s action. One game, in particular, seems worth investing in: Iowa vs. Minnesota.

I get that neither team’s offense seems to make this game must-watch television, but this game is extremely important because of its conference implications. In the Big Ten West, both teams are tied for first place with 4-3 conference records.

Anyways, if we limit ourselves to the really fun games, then we’ll miss a lot of good betting opportunities.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play both spread and total for this game. Feel free to parlay both bets at your preferred online sports betting site in order to maximize your profit.

PLAY NOW: $25,000 Free-To-Play NFL Contest BMR’s 2022 Pick’Em Pool With Weekly Prizes

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 04:00 PM EST at Huntington Bank Stadium

The Odds

The total for this game is unusually low. It is rare to see an over/under sit at just over 30 points. Is the lowness of this total justified? Based on the common results of each team's games, it certainly is.

Iowa's last three games totaled 34 points against Wisconsin, 27 against Purdue, and 46 against Northwestern. Minnesota's totaled 34 points against Northwestern, 33 against Nebraska, and 31 against Rutgers.

Scrutinizing Minnesota's Recent Results

The Golden Gophers achieved relatively high-scoring outputs because they were facing bad defenses. They scored 31 against Northwestern and Rutgers, and they scored 20 against Nebraska.

All three of those teams rank in three of the bottom four spots in overall defense in the Big Ten. Against bad defenses, Minnesota can score some points.

If Iowa's defense were poor, then one could expect the Golden Gophers to maybe score enough hits for the "over" to hit, but Iowa's defense is not poor. The Hawkeyes own the Big Ten's fourth-highest-ranked defense.

Analyzing Iowa's Recent Results

Iowa might seem to be more competent offensively because they scored 24 points against Wisconsin –the Badgers rank a decent middle-of-the-road in the Big Ten in defense, but seven of those 24 points came off a defensive touchdown. Also, one of its offensive touchdowns was the product of an 18-yard drive.

In order to score enough points for the "over" to hit on Saturday, Iowa will need to force some turnovers and maybe even achieve a defensive touchdown, which is generally a rare thing. Wisconsin was already susceptible to turning the ball over.

Nationally, the Badgers rank 70th at limiting the rate at which they turn the ball over, but Minnesota does not have this problem. The Golden Gophers rank 25th at limiting the rate at which they commit turnovers.

Therefore, they will not bend to Iowa's need to force turnovers. Because the Hawkeyes won't turn Minnesota over, they won't score enough points for the "over" to hit.

Iowa's Run Defense

A large part of what makes Iowa's defense uniquely strong –and obviously stronger than the teams against which Minnesota's offense has found a little or some success– is its ability to stop the run.

The Hawkeyes are one of three teams in the Big Ten that allow fewer than 100 rushing yards per game. They allow 88.6.

Jack Campbell

Heading into the season, linebacker Jack Campbell sat atop PFF's list of top Power 5 run-stuffers. An All-American and All-Big Ten selection, he was the Power Five co-leader in run stops last season. Currently, he has 97 tackles on the season while remaining a substantial force against the run.

It is obvious why Iowa wanted to have such a player: Big Ten West teams are generally well-known for running the ball.

Teams like Wisconsin and Minnesota have running form the identity of their offense., and Iowa is a competitive force in this division because it is uniquely well-built to limit such offenses.

Minnesota Rush Attack vs. Iowa Defense

The Golden Gophers rely to a uniquely heavy degree on Mohamed Ibrahim, a rare running back who often receives over 30 carries in a game.

Minnesota has struggled to score points against strong run defenses because Ibrahim can only do so much by himself, and he can do less against the Big Ten's best run defenses.

Against Illinois with its second-best run defense in the conference, which positions it almost identically to Iowa's, the Golden Gophers mustered 14 points. One of those touchdowns was a four-yard drive, although Iowa ranks just as highly as Minnesota does at limiting its offensive turnovers, which entails that Minnesota won't be able to rely on achieving low-yardage touchdown drives on Saturday.

Iowa has limited the Big Ten's best running backs to their worst performances of the season, while those running backs, Blake Corum of Michigan being one, benefitted from much better quarterback play than that which Minnesota will bring.

Tanner Morgan's Injury Status

Golden Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan is listed as 'doubtful' for this game. He has already struggled this year, barely throwing more touchdowns than interceptions, because Minnesota no longer has the NFL talent at wide receiver that used to help him out in previous seasons.

Without Morgan, the Golden Gophers rely on freshman Athan Kaliakmanis. Kaliakmanis is even much worse than Morgan. The former has thrown three interceptions and one touchdown. He is also failing to complete half of his passes.

Minnesota's reliance on its running back will be all the heavier. Iowa's already strong run defense will focus on shutting down Ibrahim.

Iowa's Offense

Given its strength on defense and Minnesota's offensive deficiencies, the Hawkeye offense would have to score a lot for the "over" to hit, but the Hawkeye offense has been anemic throughout the year.

It ranks second-to-last in the conference in scoring, while Minnesota is annually known for having good defenses and rank among the conference's leaders in defense.

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras is completing 56.2% of his passes while throwing as many touchdowns and interceptions.

The team's leading running back is averaging over five YPC, only because he achieved a couple of big rushing gains against lesser defenses than Minnesota's.

Parlay Verdict

This will be a tight game in which both offenses struggle to score. Given its defensive strength and the favored team's absence of healthy experience or competence at the quarterback position, Iowa will at least cover the spread.

For your NCAAF picks, invest in the Iowa Hawkeyes and the "under." Be sure to use our trusty parlay calculator for your parlay betting needs.

  • Iowa +2.5 (-103)
  • Under 32.5 (-115)

NCAAF Pick: Two-Legged Parlay (+268) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

BetOnline logo
Two-Legged Parlay (+268)
Visit Site

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.