Iowa vs. Michigan College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back Another Big Wolverines Win (Thursday, Feb. 25)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Michigan’s Isaiah Livers.
- Iowa and Michigan meet in Ann Arbor on Thursday night for a Big Ten clash.
- The last two times these teams played in Michigan, the Wolverines won by 21 and 12 points. Can we expect more of the same Thursday?
- Tanner McGrath previews this matchup and shares his betting pick below.
Iowa vs. Michigan Odds
|Time | TV||Thursday, 7 p.m. ET | ESPN|
In early January, this would have been the best game of the Big Ten season.
Instead, that title belongs to the thriller between Ohio State and Michigan that happened last Sunday. Michigan pulled off an amazing five-point road win against the top offense in the Big Ten.
Meanwhile, Iowa is just 5-4 in its last nine games. The Hawkeye defense is objectively bad, and the whole team is reeling because of it.
While this game would have been incredibly entertaining last month, I’m predicting a one-sided game in Ann Arbor on Thursday night.
At the time of this writing, Michigan is +600 on FanDuel to cut down the nets this March. I’m ready to believe that’s a smart bet.
Juwan Howard’s team is cooking this season. The Wolverines are 13-1 overall and continue to win games they shouldn’t.
For example, just since returning to play following a 23-day hiatus due to COVID-19 protocols, Michigan:
- Beat Wisconsin on the road after trailing by 14 points late in the first half
- Beat Rutgers at home by seven points
- Beat Ohio State and its top-tier offense by scoring 92 points on the road
That’s a very impressive three-game stretch. Additionally, Michigan is 9-1 straight up (SU) and 8-2 against the spread (ATS) in its last 10 games, while also sitting at 6-1 overall in Quad 1 opportunities.
Additionally, the Wolverines are +12.9 in point differential in those last 10 games.
Michigan is first in the Big Ten in both offensive and defensive effective field goal percentage. The team is incredibly effective and efficient on both sides of the ball, particularly with Isaiah Livers on offense and Franz Wagner on defense.
All in all, Michigan is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the Big Ten conference. It’s been so dominant that bettors should be led to believe it can win the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa is supposed to be a top-tier, championship contender. The Hawkeyes have won four straight games, which is great. However, they’ve beaten Rutgers, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State in that stretch.
While that isn’t a bad stretch, those are not important wins for a top-tier contender. With regard to “important” wins, Iowa is 5-5 in Quad 1 opportunities and has lost to Indiana twice.
The Hawkeye defense is entirely to blame for their poor performances. Iowa is allowing 72.8 points per game this season, which ranks 228th in the country. It’s ninth in the conference and 75th in the country in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, while ranking 92nd in the country in defensive effective field goal percentage.
Iowa isn’t a championship contender because of this defense. Pretty much any team in the country can dice the Hawkeye defense apart. Luka Garza is a below-average pick-and-roll defender, and the remaining roster is too small to defend long, athletic attacks.
Michigan has a long and athletic attack.
Michigan’s starting lineup features four players over 6-foot-5, and I’m expecting Livers and Wagner to eat the Iowa defense alive.
Betting Analysis & Pick
At the time of this writing, Michigan has already seen reverse line movement. The Wolverines opened as 3.5-point favorites, and while 77% of the spread tickets are on Iowa, Michigan has moved to 4.5-point favorites at some books.
However, there’s also a lot of sharp money with Michigan, as the Wolverines are receiving 72% of the handle.
Either way, both of these are good signs for Michigan. It means the smart money is with the Wolverines.
For good reason, too. Michigan is 8-3 ATS at home this year, while Iowa is just 4-4 ATS on the road. Additionally, Michigan has put up an impressive 14-6 ATS record in its last 20 home games against Iowa.
Iowa’s defense simply doesn’t have the talent or personnel to defend Michigan’s roster. Meanwhile, I think Michigan’s top-tier defense has the ability to contain Garza and company.
For example, I believe Hunter Dickinson can defend Garza on the interior. The freshman big man has 32 rebounds and eight blocks in his last three games. Plus, at 7-foot-1 and 255 pounds, Dickinson should be physical enough to defend Garza’s inside game.
The last two times Iowa and Michigan played in Ann Arbor, Michigan won by 12 and 21 points, respectively. I’m banking on a similar result Thursday night.
I would play Michigan at -5.5 or better.
Pick: Michigan -5.5 or better.