Record to date: 18-14-1, $2,298

Pete Ruden, Action Network College Football Editor



Iowa -10.5

Everyone enjoys a good strength-on-strength matchup. Well, what about a weakness-on-weakness showdown?

This Nebraska defense is absolutely atrocious. The Cornhuskers are tied for 12th in the conference in scoring defense, giving up an average of 28.5 points per game. They also rank second-to-last in total defense, allowing opposing offenses to go off for 427.2 yards per contest. The latter number ranks 108th nationally.

After running for a total of 300 yards over the past three games, including a 200-yard outing against Purdue on Nov. 5, Kaleb Johnson should have an absolute field day. The Huskers rank 126th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and 116th in Defensive Line Yards, so Iowa should have no problem getting a solid push up front and running wild.

Nebraska’s “Blackshirts” — more like black-and-blue shirts, am I right!? — have had such a rough year that they might even make Johnson and Spencer Petras look like the 2022 version of Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.

I also don’t expect Nebraska’s offense to have much success against a stout Iowa defense. While the Mark Whipple-coached offense was expected to be one of the best in the West this season, the Huskers are averaging just 9.8 points per game over their last four.

With rankings of 70th or worse in both Passing Success Rate and Rushing Success Rate, I don’t expect Nebraska to keep up with Iowa.

Under 38

Nebraska’s defense might be terrible, but Iowa is still Iowa. It’s still going to feed its trio of running backs (56.1% Rush Rate) while playing at a slow and methodical pace (28.9 seconds per play).

Even if the Hawkeyes do race out to an early lead, I’d expect them to stay on the ground and try to get out of Kinnick without risking injury. 

Meanwhile, I’d be a bit surprised if the Huskers put up more than 10 points against an Iowa team looking to make its second consecutive Big Ten Championship appearance.

This line (somehow) opened at 46.5 before being bet all the way down to 37 at one point. I still don’t think it’s time to buy back on the over.

Lock of the Week: Missouri +3 vs. Arkansas

Ah, yes — time to back a five-win team looking to reach bowl eligibility.

The Tigers actually match up quite well with the Razorbacks. It’s going to be imperative to stop the Hogs on the ground, and Mizzou boasts one of the best defenses in the nation. The Tigers rank 21st in Defensive Rushing Success Rate, eighth in Defensive Line Yards and sixth in Havoc.

And when Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson drops back to pass, Ty’Ron Hopper and Isaiah McGuire are going to cause problems. Both excel at putting pressure on the quarterback for a defense that ranks 16th in pass rush.

On the other side of the ball, wide receivers Luther Burden III and Dominic Lovett should find plenty of success, as Arkansas sits outside the top 100 in PFF coverage grade and Passing Downs Success Rate.

One of Mizzou’s biggest weaknesses is allowing explosive plays on defense. If the Tigers can keep Raheim Sanders and Co. from breaking off big plays, they should be in a good spot.

I’ll back a motivated Mizzou squad at a field goal or better. 

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