This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
Michigan at Iowa Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 5
Michigan looked like one of the best all-around teams in the nation after rolling out to massive wins over three non-conference opponents. But, Jim Harbaugh's crew was hit with a slight dose of reality during a closer-than-expected 34-27 win at home against Maryland. While the Wolverines offense has been feasting on lesser competition, the Hawkeyes have looked lifeless when faced with even competent defenses.
Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz's stale play calling combined with an offensive line full of underclassmen and first-year starters have been a toxic recipe, resulting in what is perhaps the worst offense in the entire FBS at 232.5 total yards per game - right below New Mexico and Colorado State (one of the aforementioned cupcakes devoured by the Wolverines). So far, Iowa has reached a 3-1 record through superb field position, defense and special teams, but will this be enough to pull off a home upset against yet another AP Top-5 ranked team? These teams live on the absolute extremes of offensive and defensive production, which should make for an incredibly interesting and unpredictable matchup this Saturday.
Michigan at Iowa Odds for Week 5
Spread: Michigan -11.0 (PointsBet)
Total: 42.5 (BetMGM)
Moneyline: Michigan -400 (BetMGM Sportsbook); Iowa +330 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
This spread didn't take long to move from 4.5 points at open to a double-digit margin in favor of the road team. while the total dipped from 45.5 to 42.5. This makes sense considering that Iowa signal-caller Spencer Petras has thrown just one passing touchdown to four interceptions this season. Both teams also feature top-10 defenses combined with offenses that rank in the bottom 20 nationally for plays per minute - 2.08 plays for Michigan and 2.06 plays for Iowa. A true Big Ten matchup indeed.
Michigan vs. Iowa Betting Picks This Week
The under in this game might be the best lock in the entire Big Ten this week and there's little explanation needed as to why. Yes, Michigan's offense does lead the FBS in scoring with 50 points per game; but, Iowa's defense has allowed just 23 points all season - a mark that similarly ranks atop the FBS.
The Wolverines aren't far behind at 11 points per game allowed, and they'll be facing a Hawkeyes offense that has totaled just five touchdowns over four weeks. Barring multiple defensive scores, Michigan could probably replicate their scoring performance against Maryland's defense and this under would still have a good chance to hit.
Michigan vs Iowa Best Bet
Best Bet: UNDER 42.5 at BetMGM
If you are betting this game, use the BetMGM Bonus Code ROTOBONUS for a risk-free bet up to $1,000 on Michigan vs. Iowa.
Michigan at Iowa Prediction and Game Breakdown
Due to the reasons explained above, Michigan's defense should have no issues against Iowa's paltry offense in this game. Therefore, the Hawkeyes' only real hope for a win, and possibly to score, will come from their opportunistic defense and special teams, which rank first and 11th in SP+ through four weeks, respectively. The Wolverines offense has been a well-oiled machine with star running back Blake Corum at the helm, averaging 6.01 yards per rush. As a result, Michigan's offense has basically been in cruise control on first and second downs - 0.331 EPA per play ranks 3rd nationally, per @statsowar - while reaching third down just 41 total times this season. However, Iowa's defense on early downs has been equally impressive (-0.248 EPA per play).
The Hawkeyes have also allowed a 33.8 percent conversion rate on third downs and 57 total first downs this season. Getting the Wolverines into difficult third-down situations could cause issues for young quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who is approaching just his third week as Michigan's official starter. The former five-star has showcased his ceiling as both a passer and rusher, but he's clearly still developing the finer points of the position after putting the ball on the ground twice last week. Predicting turnovers is always a bit of a crap shoot, but Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker seems to have a doctorate in teaching his players how to tip balls for interceptions and force scoop-and-score fumbles.
Kinnick Stadium is a scary place to play for even the most veteran of quarterbacks, and a few mistakes here or there could give the Hawkeyes the favorable field position it needs to actually put the ball in the end zone; though it's more likely they'll end up kicking the ball through the uprights with freshman Drew Stevens, who is a perfect 10-of-10 on field-goal and extra-point attempts this season.
Kinnick has been a house of horrors for Top-5 ranked teams in the past, but this history of home-field upsets can't make up for Iowa's historically bad offense. Ultimately, this game should finish with a score that reflects the ugly - or disgustingly beautiful in Big-Ten terms - nature of this game.
Final Score: Michigan 16, Iowa 6
If you're looking to wager on college football this season, RotoWire has a full suite of betting pages and tools with everything you need from the latest college football odds to weekly college football picks along with updated college football futures and Heisman odds. Be sure to use our college football betting sites page to see what's available across the country and in your state, along with the latest betting promo codes and sign-up bonuses.