Minnesota vs. Iowa prediction: Bet on Hawkeyes’ defense

We’ve made a habit of betting on team totals recently, as it’s often the best way to isolate value within an otherwise messy menu. And we love the value on the Iowa defense on Saturday against a Minnesota attack that likely won’t be at full strength.

Entering the weekend, the Hawkeyes rank sixth in points allowed to FBS teams (15.1), which doesn’t even tell the whole story. If not for a 54-10 loss to Ohio State in Week 8, they would be allowing just 9.4 points per game, which would be by far the lowest mark in the country.

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It’s even more impressive on a game-by-game basis. Iowa has allowed fewer than 14 points in eight of its 10 games, including each of its last three since that loss to Ohio State, and it has held its last two opponents to their worst scoring output all season.

Minnesota’s offense could suffer a similar fate on Saturday, with quarterback Tanner Morgan (upper body) expected to miss a second straight contest. The Golden Gophers threw for just 64 yards in his absence last week, but survived anyway by running all over a Northwestern defense that ranks among the worst in all of college football.

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That’ll be a much tougher task this week against Iowa, which ranks seventh nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (94.8) and second in yards allowed per rush (2.7). This is a nightmare matchup for Minnesota’s offense, especially without Morgan, which should lead to one of the quietest days from this unit all year long.

Minnesota vs. Iowa prediction: Minnesota under 14.5 points