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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by November 10, 2021

The top of the Big Ten West is a log jam, with Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Purdue tied at 4-2 with only three weeks to play.  The loser of this game will almost surely see any hopes of a championship game appearance disappear, a disappointment for each.  Iowa was rolling three weeks ago, ranking second nationally after beating Penn St only to see back-to-back losses to Purdue and Wisconsin knock them back.  Minnesota was the opposite story; an opening season loss to Ohio St and a shocking week three loss to Bowling Green left in the rearview. The Gophers were cruising towards the division title until an upset loss last week to Illinois disrupted a five-game winning streak.

With an over/under set at 37.5 points, do not expect an offensive shootout in this matchup, but we can still examine the game for betting value.

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  • Opening Line: Iowa  -5.5, O/U 37.5
  • Current Line: Iowa  -5.5, O/U 37.5
  • Last meeting: November 13, 2020, Iowa 35, Minnesota 7


Iowa has struggled in an offense that ranks 95th in scoring at 24.4 points per game.  This lack of production was a primary driver in their previous two losses, and unfortunately, both sides of the ball share the blame. QB Spencer Petras faces an expectation to miss the game for the 108th ranked passing offense, handing the reigns to Alex Padilla, who has 44 passing attempts in his career.  The rushing offense has performed even worse on the way to a 110th ranking, though primary RB Tyler Goodson broke through against Northwestern with 141 yards, his best game since week three.  The offensive line has not performed to traditional standards, allowing Petras to get sacked 23 times and rank 111th in sacks allowed.

The defense has been the saving grace and stands fifth nationally in points allowed, with just 15.67 per game.  The primary driver has been takeaways; the unit has secured 23 on the season and stands second.  There is optimism DB Riley Moss will return from his knee injury suffered against Penn State.  The rush defense has been solid, ranking eighth, and the passing defense has held their own with a rank of 37.  Junior LB Jack Campbell has been a star in leading the team with 80 tackles.

Minnesota has not fared much better offensively, ranking 83rd at 25.9 points per game.  The rush offense has led the way and ranks 22nd but has been decimated by injuries losing three players before landing on a freshman duo of RB Ky Thomas and RB Mar’Keise Irving splitting time.  QB Tanner Morgan is experienced but far from dynamic, and the passing attack ranks 122nd.  The conservative approach to offense has resulted in the team taking care of Morgan, ranking 39th in sacks allowed, and taking care of the ball, ranking 36th in giveaways.

The defense has allowed the team to get away with the conservative approach, ranking 15th in allowing 18.33 points per game.  They have been nearly equal in both rush defense (14th) and pass defense (28).  When it comes to pressure, the edges Boye Mafe and Thomas Rush have performed well, with 6 and 5.5 sacks respectfully, but they have been the only ones to generate consistent pressure, and the unit ranks 64th in sacks.  The team has not taken the ball away well; only 11 turnovers leave the team ranked 91st.

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  • Minnesota is on a 5-1 ATS run
  • Minnesota is 0-5 ATS against Iowa
  • In their last 15, Iowa is 10-5 ATS

Bottom Line 

Minnesota was playing very well before the upset against Illinois.  Can that game be chalked up to looking ahead? Iowa missing Petras is a concern, though reports are the absence has galvanized the team around Padilla.  With such a low total, 5.5 points is a close margin. Still, Iowa City can be a challenging place to play, and Iowa’s rush defense can force Tanner Morgan into uncomfortable situations, where the Hawkeyes can capitalize.

Pick: Iowa -5.5

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Jeff Bell is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jeff, check out his archive and follow him @4WhomJBellTolls.

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