Record to date: 12-9, $1,722

Pete Ruden, Action Network College Football Editor

Northwestern +11

I’m so happy to not be taking Iowa this week. This is simply too many points against a Hawkeye offense that has somehow gotten worse since its horrendous start.

It doesn’t matter if Spencer Petras or Alex Padilla takes the snaps on Saturday; Iowa’s offense won’t do enough to create a margin against a Northwestern team that nearly scored an upset over Maryland on the road last week.

The Hawkeyes rank in the bottom seven of nearly every meaningful advanced metric on the offensive side of the ball. Because these statistics are apparently good enough for Kirk and Brian Ferentz, we shouldn’t expect anything more from the offense than what we’ve seen to this point.

Plus, Northwestern is exactly average in Defensive Finishing Drives (66th), so I don’t trust Iowa to take advantage if it ever finds itself inside the Wildcats’ 40-yard line.

The defense will once again be the Hawkeyes’ main strength in this one. This unit shouldn’t have much of a problem keeping Northwestern under 20 points considering the Wildcats can’t run (92nd in Rushing Success Rate) or throw (78th in Passing Success Rate) all that well.

However, their one bright spot is a big one. Versatile running back Evan Hull leads Northwestern with 547 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground to go along with 436 yards receiving and two scores on 40 receptions through the air.

It doesn’t happen very often, but we’ve seen inferior offenses move the ball at times against Iowa’s defense. I’ll take the double-digit underdog in what should be a low-scoring Big Ten West showdown.

Under 37.5

This total opened at 31.5, which would have been the lowest non-service academy over/under since a 1995 matchup between Arizona and Oregon State. 

Action Network’s PRO tools have tracked seven sharp moves to the over, pushing this number to 37.5. I think that’s an appropriate number to buy back on the under.

As mentioned, Iowa’s offense ranks in the bottom seven of Passing Success Rate, Rushing Success Rate, Finishing Drives, Line Yards and Havoc Allowed. While Northwestern has posted poor numbers in Rushing Success Rate (92nd) and Passing Success Rate (78th), it also comes in at 112th in Finishing Drives.

Simply put, if either team somehow sustains a drive against the superior defense, there’s no guarantee they’ll put points on the board. And if they do, I’m betting it’ll be field goals over touchdowns.

The Hawkeyes and Wildcats are both “under” teams as well. According to Action Network’s Evan Abrams, Iowa has gone 24-15-2 (62%) to the under since 2019, while Northwestern owns a mark of 22-16 (58%).

Lock of the Week: Colorado State vs. Boise State Under 43

This game should probably be played on Thursday night with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.

If there’s one offense in the country that’s worse than Iowa overall, it might be Colorado State. 

The Rams rank 128th or worse in Rushing Success Rate, Passing Success Rate, Havoc Allowed and Finishing Drives. Remember, there are only 131 teams at the FBS level.

Meanwhile, with the defensive-minded Andy Avalos at the helm for the Broncos, BSU ranks 18th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and third in Defensive Passing Success Rate.

On the other side, Boise State has been in a weird place on offense all season. The Broncos fired offensive coordinator Tim Plough after losing by 17 to UTEP as a 16.5-point favorite, which led starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier to enter the transfer portal.

BSU has found something of a rhythm on offense after turning to a dual-threat signal-caller in Taylen Green. The Broncos have run the ball at least 40 times in every game since Green took over, and I don’t expect them to stop now.

Boise State’s run-heavy approach combined with Colorado State’s inability to move the ball should lead to a low-scoring matchup in the Land of Potatoes.