Michigan looks stacked. They faltered slightly against Maryland but ultimately were victorious in their first real test. This is the best offensive line in the FBS. The defense looks good. JJ McCarthy looks great in the starting role.
Even though Michigan dominated Iowa in the Big Ten title game last season (42-3), it’s always tough to go into Kinnick as a top-rated team.
In Iowa's last 6 home games against AP top-5 foes:
2008 vs. 3. Penn State, W 24-23
2010 vs. 5. Michigan State, W 37-6
2016 vs. 2. Michigan, W 14-13
2017 vs. 4. Penn State, L 21-19
2017 vs. 3. Ohio State, W 55-24
2021 vs. 4. Penn State, W 23-20
This week, No. 4 Michigan
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 26, 2022
Iowa has a great defense, even if it often relies on Havoc and turnovers. They can keep in any game based on that. But this is one of the worst offenses in FBS.
This game is going to be a typical Big Ten battle. It’s going to be low-scoring featuring lots of first-down rushes and punts.
Who has the edge?
Let’s break it down. Read on for our Michigan Wolverines vs Iowa Hawkeyes Broncos odds, picks, and predictions.
Michigan Wolverines vs Iowa Hawkeyes Odds
This line has hung between Michigan -10 and Michigan -11 since the opener. The heavier money is on Iowa, but the line hasn’t budged either way.
The under has taken all the money and, predictably, has dropped considerably.
Michigan Wolverines vs Iowa Hawkeyes Broncos Prediction & Pick
Guess who are the two best defenses in the FBS so far this year?
Highest graded defences through four weeks this season:
🌽 Iowa: 93.5
〽️ Michigan: 93.1 pic.twitter.com/G5eosBQ90p
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 27, 2022
That does not bode well for offense in this game.
Moreover, both teams rank outside the top 100 in seconds per play, with Michigan at 104 and Iowa at 110.
The total opened up over 45 and quickly tumbled under 42. The under seems like the smart play here, but has the line movement sucked out all the value?
I have two questions.
First, how will McCarthy hold up against Iowa? He looked fine against Maryland but his PFF grades were horrendous, including a 50.6 Passing grade, three Turnover Worthy Plays, and an 18.3 Fumble grade. That scares me against an Iowa defense that preys on careless behavior.
Second, can the Iowa offense get anything going? The Wolverines are not perfect defensively, ranking slightly lower when defending the Rush or Standard Downs. They’ve also been broken in the red zone.
The value play here is on Iowa. The trends at Kinnick point towards Iowa and the defensive matchup points towards Iowa. I’m also worried about McCarthy facing the first elite defense of his career – how will he respond?
If I had to pick a side, I’m taking Iowa as a huge home dog. But there is too much variance with Iowa’s reliance on turnovers and I have zero confidence in their offense. So, I’ll personally be passing on this one.
Lean: Iowa +11 (-107) at PointsBet Sportsbook
Michigan Wolverines vs Iowa Hawkeyes Key Matchups
Key Matchup: JJ McCarthy vs Iowa’s Havoc
As mentioned, McCarthy has been a little turnover prone. He cannot make a single mistake against Iowa because the Hawkeyes will immediately pounce.
McCarthy’s dual-threat ability in tandem with superstar running back Blake Corum may be the only way to get past this Iowa front seven. So, there’s hope here with some good playcalling and misdirection.
The last time Blake Corum and JJ McCarthy played against Iowa 🔥
Go Blue! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/tnipfmL7pG
— JD 〽️ (@MGoJDBlue) September 27, 2022
There is also a lot of danger. McCarthy needs to tread lightly. As does the whole Michigan offense. Or this game could be dropped quickly.
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