Record to date: 12-3, $1,722

Pete Ruden, Action Network College Football Editor

Iowa +29.5

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t see another 55-24 type of game breaking out in Columbus this week. But Iowa won’t lose this game by 30.

With CJ Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams leading the way, the Buckeyes might very well boast the best offense in college football. 

They rank top-five nationally in Passing Success Rate, Rushing Success Rate and Finishing Drives and have put up at least 45 points in every game since Week 1.

Enter Iowa. The Hawkeyes are the best defense Ohio State will have faced all season. Through the air, they rank seventh in Defensive Passing Success Rate and first in PFF coverage grade. On the ground, they rank 32nd in Defense Line Yards and boast two linebackers who rank top-five in total tackles in Jack Campbell and Seth Benson.

This isn’t like the Toledo defense that allowed Ohio State to score 77 points. 

On the other side of the ball, the hiring of former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has been felt in a big way. Now in the same position with the Buckeyes, Knowles has the OSU defense ranking top-10 nationally in most advanced metrics.

Luckily for Iowa, it has already faced a Big Ten defense in Michigan that ranks top-20 in a number of key categories. The Hawkeyes ultimately failed to cover against the Wolverines as 10.5-point underdogs, but the offense turned it on late in an attempt to slide in the back door. 

I expect the Hawkeye defense to keep the Buckeyes in check enough on the scoreboard to allow for a backdoor cover.

Under 49.5

I have taken the under in every Iowa game this season, and it has gone 5-1 — and it would be 6-0 if not for two defensive touchdowns and a doinked field goal that went in against Rutgers. 

As mentioned above, Iowa’s secondary has the ability to limit Ohio State’s stellar passing attack, and its front seven can keep up with Henderson and Williams in the backfield.

That’s not to say the Buckeyes won’t light up the scoreboard, but there’s a real chance this is the first game since Week 1 that Ohio State scores fewer than 40 points.

As for Iowa’s offense… Well, I expect it to be Iowa’s offense. Brian Ferentz may have some success drawing up plays for Iowa’s tight-end duo of Sam LaPorta and Luke Lachey much like he did with TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant in 2017. 

However, Spencer Petras doesn’t have the same poise under center as Nate Stanley, and the run game isn’t the same as it was back then.

With two top-10 scoring defenses, this is shaping up to be another classic Iowa under.

Pick of the Week: Minnesota +4.5 vs. Penn State

The Kirk Ciarrocca Golden Gophers are back. 

Minnesota boasts one of the best run games in the country, ranking fourth in Rushing Success Rate and seventh in Offensive Line Yards. 

However, it suffered a 26-14 loss last week to Illinois, whose strength comes against the run. But Minnesota still ran the ball well, compiling a 0.53 EPA (Expected Points Added) per Rush, which ranks in the 98th percentile, per GameOnPaper. The Gophers also recorded five explosive runs.

Penn State is an entirely different story. The Nittany Lions rank 86th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and allowed Michigan’s Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards to post an EPA per Rush in the 96th percentile. Now, they have to contain another star in Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim? Good luck.

Add in a capable Minnesota defense against a banged-up Sean Clifford for Penn State, and I’ll take the points with the Golden Gophers.