NCAAF Free Pick: Northwestern Wildcats vs Iowa Hawkeyes

Northwestern Wildcats vs Iowa Hawkeyes (IOWA -2.5, O/U 46)

Spencer Petras and the Iowa Hawkeyes will look for their first victory of the season at home against Northwestern on Saturday.

Northwestern enters after a massive 40-point victory over Maryland in which the Wildcats tallied more than 500 yards of total offense. Saturday’s matchup should be much more competitive for Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats, as Iowa is currently listed as a 2.5-point favorite with an OVER/UNDER total of 46 points.

Despite a tight spread and low total, our model is predicting Iowa will win by nearly 10 points on Saturday, projecting a final score of 26.4-16.5 in favor of the Hawkeyes. With a near double-digit victory projected and the spread sitting at 2.5 points, we have a sizable edge on Iowa against the spread. Our model suggests a $139 wager on IOWA -2.5 for an average $100 bettor.

Prediction Machine’s NCAAF picks are 91-76 ATS (54.5%) and 97-61 on O/Us (61.4%) in 2020, profiting +25.12 units, or $2,512 for an average $100 bettor. Head over to predictionmachine.com to sign up for a free trial and get access to every NCAAF projection.

Why will Iowa cover the spread?

  • Iowa’s offense moved the ball with relative ease against Purdue but struggled to turn drives into touchdowns. The Hawkeyes’ 6.1 yards per play ranks 21st in college football after their first game, and their 460 total yards of offense was fifth-most in the Big Ten. However, Iowa managed only 20 points on those 460 total yards, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten. If they can continue to manufacture yards and quality drives on Saturday, the points should follow.
  • Despite allowing 282 passing yards to Purdue in their season opener, Iowa was very solid on a per play basis. Their 5.6 yards per pass attempt allowed currently ranks 11th-best in college football, as Purdue needed 50 pass attempts to accumulate those 282 yards. Northwestern certainly has an upgrade at quarterback this year with Peyton Ramsey under center, but their pass catchers aren’t necessarily dynamic and could struggle to produce against a stout Iowa secondary.

Wildcats vs Hawkeyes: How to bet the total

This matchup currently features an OVER/UNDER of 46 points. Prediction Machine’s projected score totals 42.9 points (26.4-16.5), giving us a solid edge on the UNDER in this one. Our model suggests a $79 wager on UNDER 46 for an average $100 bettor.

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