Record to date: 12-9, $1,511

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

Northwestern +11

When this spread opened at nine points. I was tempted to take Iowa to cover. Picking Iowa to cover the spread has been a dangerous proposition this year. The Hawkeyes are currently 3-4 against the spread.

I know the Northwestern team coming to Kinnick Stadium Saturday is bad. But Iowa might be too. As I think many anticipated, this will be a battle between two teams that aren’t playing for much. Both could still make bowl games, and Iowa is vastly more likely to do so, but usually games between two below average teams that probably aren’t going to be division-winners are competitive for some reason.

To pick one of these teams to win by double digits just doesn’t make sense to me. There is no guarantee either squad even scores 11 points. So, I’m certainly not going to pick one to win by that margin.

I realize betting on Northwestern to do anything is risky. The Wildcats are 3-4 against the spread this season too. But I’m so confident these teams will run, punt, and cut block each other to death that I’m confident picking Northwestern to cover. I just don’t see a scenario where either team scores enough points to win by double digits.

Under 37.5 

This pick goes hand-in-hand with betting Northwestern to cover. Like I said before, I’m not certain either of these teams can even score enough points to cover an 11-point spread. I can’t comfortably pick the over here knowing that both of these teams are liable to score fewer than 10 points.

I honestly thought this total would be lower. Iowa and Northwestern unders are 5-2 and 4-3 this year, respectively. The Hawkeyes rank last in the 131-team FBS in total offense. They put up 10 points and 158 yards last week in their 54-10 loss to the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Combine Iowa’s atrocious offense with its sixth-ranked total defense, and you’ve got a recipe for an under to hit. That’s been the formula all year, and I don’t see it going bad this week.

Give Northwestern credit where it’s due. The Wildcats have been moving the ball this year. They rank 75th in the country in total offense with 389.1 yards per game. Their passing offense is 45th with 262.1 yards per game. I know these stats aren’t that great. I’m just numb to what good offense looks like at this point.

Northwestern’s bugaboo all season has been turnovers. The Wildcats rank 126th in the nation in turnover margin.

It’s also a little unclear who will start at quarterback for both teams on Saturday.

 Iowa will either trot out Alex Padilla or Spencer Petras — both of whom played last weekend. Northwestern’s starter could be Ryan Hilinski — a South Carolina transfer that suffered a concussion on during the Wildcats’ 42-7 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 8 — or Brendan Sullivan, who relieved Hilinski in Week 6 and started in place of him in Week 8. The Wildcats were on bye during Week 7.

Quarterback unknowns and two inept offenses make me confident in this under. Bettors of this under should be labeled as thieves because they’ll be stealing money from sportsbooks come Saturday.

Lock of the Week: Rutgers + 14 vs. Minnesota

I have an asinine way to justify the logic to place this bet. I’m going to lean heavily on the transitive property of college football, so bear with me.

Illinois beat Minnesota 26-14 on Oct. 15. A week earlier, the Fighting Illini beat the Hawkeyes, 9-6. If Iowa lost to Illinois by fewer points than Minnesota did, the Hawkeyes must be better than the Golden Gophers.The Hawkeyes beat the Scarlet Knights, 27-10, on Sept. 24 at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.

If Iowa is nine points better than Minnesota against a common opponent like Illinois, then I suspect the Golden Gophers will beat Rutgers by nine fewer points than Iowa did. If Minnesota beats Rutgers, 18-10, the Scarlet Knights would cover the spread. Maybe the Golden Gophers beat the Scarlet Knights by 12 fewer points than Iowa because they’re at home. Still, Rutgers would cover the spread if it lost, 21-10.

Obviously, this is a ridiculous hypothetical, but when you’re betting on Rutgers no logic is sound.