This handicapper wonders how Nebraska and Iowa, both now out of the running in the Big Ten West, will approach their meeting Friday afternoon in Iowa City. Here's our free college football pick.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Odds
Most books we consulted opened this game with Iowa favored by one point, with the total proffered at 57. As of Tuesday morning the best line we could find on the Hawkeyes was the 'pick 'em' offered at Bookmaker, while Nebraska was getting +1.5 points at Heritage.
Huskers-Hawkeyes: The Situation
Iowa went off this season as a 10/1 shot to win the Big Ten title, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 8.5. But at 7-4 overall (6-5 ATS) and 4-3 in Big Ten play the Hawkeyes ain't gonna win the conference, and they ain't gonna go OVER their total.
Iowa started this season 5-1, with a loss to rival Iowa State but road wins at Pitt and Purdue. The Hawkeyes then lost at Maryland 38-31, pounded Northwestern 48-7, got pounded at Minnesota 51-14, won at Illinois 30-14 but, last week, lost at home to Wisconsin 26-24.
Iowa fell behind the Badgers 19-3, rallied to get within 19-17, but gave up an insurance touchdown and eventually came up short. The Hawkeyes did, however, cover as nine-point home dogs.
Iowa, after losing its first three games this season ATS, is now 6-2 ATS over its last eight games.
Nebraska began this season as an 8/1 choice to win the Big Ten, with a wins total of eight. At 8-3 overall (6-4-1 ATS) and 4-3 in conference play the Huskers won't win the Big Ten, either, but they can play OVER their total with a victory Saturday.
Nebraska started this season 5-0, the best win coming in a 41-31 decision over Miami. The Huskers then lost at Michigan State 27-22 in a game that wasn't that close, although Big Red rallied for a back-door cover as a six-point road dog in College Football odds. Nebraska then won three in a row, beating Northwestern, Rutgers and Purdue. But two weeks ago the Huskers gave up 581 yards rushing to Wisconsin in a 59-24 defeat, and last week they gave up the last two scores of the game to lose at home to Minnesota 28-24.
Nebraska got outrushed by the Gophers 281-174, held the ball for just 25 minutes and lost the turnover battle 2-0. No wonder they lost.
The Huskers started 6-1 ATS this season, but have gone 0-3-1 ATS over their last four games.
Huskers-Hawkeyes Recent History
After joining the Big Ten three seasons ago Nebraska took the first two games from Iowa, by scores of 20-7 and 13-7. But last year the Hawkeyes went into Lincoln and came away with a 38-17 victory.
Keep in mind when placing your College Football pick here that Nebraska scored early in the fourth quarter last year to get within 24-17, but Iowa scored the last two touchdowns of the game to make the final score a bit misleading. The Huskers actually outgained the Hawkeyes 288-282, but got outrushed 156-89 and lost the turnover battle 3-0.
Huskers-Hawkeyes Betting Trends
Nebraska is 21-11 SU but just 14-17 ATS in three-plus seasons of Big Ten play.
The Huskers are 6-5 on the totals this season, as their games have averaged 62 points.
Iowa is 5-5-1 ATS, as Hawkeyes games have averaged 51 points.
In five games this season vs. common opponents (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern and Illinois) Iowa is 3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS, while Nebraska is 2-3 both SU and ATS.
Huskers-Hawkeyes Free Pick
This looks like a tough one, as the pointspread indicates; Nebraska owns an edge on offense, and in the running game, but Iowa holds an edge on defense. And in cases like this we usually go with the better defense. So we like the home team in this spot, at the short spread.
Free College Football Pick: Play the Hawkeyes at BookMaker