College Football Picks: Iowas vs. Minnesota

Jeff Grant

Friday, September 27, 2013 12:33 PM GMT

Friday, Sep. 27, 2013 12:33 PM GMT

The Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Golden Gophers are very similar teams in style, as they prepare to face off at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday afternoon. Where do we recommend placing your college football picks in this matchup?

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Big Ten Conference matchup, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

Take a look at my College Football Picks: Opening Odds Report for Week 5.

Winning the statistical battle

Iowa is off to a 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS start this season, as it has won the statistical battle in all four of its games, including a 608-yard advantage on the ground.  Surprisingly enough, the team has also gone OVER the total in each of those contests.

Since 2011, the Hawkeyes are 3-4 SUATS when the betting line is between +3 to -3, with the OVER going 6-1 in that situation.

Off to another strong start

Minnesota has won its first four games for a second consecutive campaign, as it comes off a 43-24 victory over the San Jose State Spartans as four-point home favorites last Saturday, while the OVER has cashed in three of those contests.

The Golden Gophers are 54-35-3 SU all-time in Homecoming games, including a 10-2 mark when lining up against the Hawkeyes in that situation.

Battle in the trenches

College football handicappers need to back a side that it feels will when the battle in the trenches in this affair, as the Hawkeyes rank fifth in the Big Ten in stopping the run, while the Golden Gophers trail just two teams in the conference in gaining yards on the ground.

It’s important to also point out that Iowa has yet to allow a rushing touchdown in 2013, while Minnesota leads the nation in hitting pay dirt on the ground when in the red zone.

Question marks

There’s no doubt that the line movement in this affair is centered around the availability of Golden Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson (hamstring) and running back Donnell Kirkwood (ankle), as both are No. 1 options at their respective positions for the program.

Both may see some action Saturday, but Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill has made it known that he doesn’t want to send out players that are only 85 percent healthy.

[gameodds]6/239038/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Hawkeyes in the first half with their college football picks, as they haven’t allowed a touchdown in the opening 30 minutes in their last three games.

College Football Pick:  Iowa Hawkeyes PK First Half

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