Pete Ruden

Pete Ruden, Action Network College Football Editor

Iowa +10.5

This is a risky proposition, but Iowa’s defense is by far the best Michigan has faced this season. 

After playing what was almost the easiest schedule imaginable in their first three games — Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn — the Wolverines came back down to earth when they faced Maryland last week. The Terrapins defense has been in the bottom tier of the Big Ten all season and still stayed within a touchdown. 

Running back Blake Corum went off for 243 yards and two scores against the Terps, but the Hawkeye defense has the ability to neutralize him, ranking 19th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and eighth in Defensive Line Yards.

That means the Iowa offense will have to pull its weight. Luckily for the Hawkeyes, their offense is finally starting to show signs of life with all three running backs in the mix and Sam LaPorta carrying the pass-catchers.

The Wolverines’ defense has also fallen to 66th in Finishing Drives, which is significantly worse than a Rutgers defense (29th) that Iowa didn’t have much trouble with.

Plus, things could have been very different for Michigan last week if Maryland didn’t turn the ball over three times. I’m counting on this Kirk Ferentz offense to prioritize ball security once again.

Iowa is 6-1 straight up against top-seven opponents at Kinnick since 2008. I think it can keep things close once again.

Under 42.5

If it weren’t for two defensive touchdowns and a doinked field goal that went in, Iowa games would be 4-0 to the under this season. 

Iowa’s front seven can take advantage of a Michigan offensive line that ranks 60th in pass-block grading, per PFF. That’s bad news against an Iowa defense that also ranks seventh in Defensive Passing Success Rate. 

In fact, both defenses enter this matchup in the top six nationally in coverage and tackle grading, according to PFF. Neither unit will make many mistakes or give up explosive plays. Both teams rank top-10 in opponent plays that go for 10 yards or more.

I expect Iowa to try to muddy this game up, which favors defense and solid special teams play.

Lock of the Week: San Jose State ML -120 vs. Wyoming

Wyoming seems to be overvalued in the market after beating an Air Force team that Craig Bohl always plays tough. 

The Cowboys rank outside the top 105 in Havoc, tackling, coverage and pass rush. BYU quarterback Jaren Hall took advantage of those weaknesses last week, going 26-of-32 for 337 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Meanwhile, in Week 2, San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro put up 275 yards against an Auburn secondary that plays in the SEC and ranks 29th in coverage grade. The Spartans should tear the Pokes up through the air. 

Action Network’s Collin Wilson projects this at SJSU -7.

I grabbed this line at SJSU -120 earlier in the week, and I’d play it to -150 on the moneyline to avoid any close game drama.