Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview

Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview article feature image

John Autey / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota Gophers guard Payton Willis (0), forward Jamison Battle (10)

  • Iowa beat Minnesota by 10 points earlier this season, but our college basketball analyst isn't betting on a repeat performance from the Hawkeyes.
  • Find out why, based on Minnesota-Iowa odds, our analyst is backing the underdog in Sunday afternoon's Big Ten showdown.

Minnesota vs. Iowa Odds

Sunday, Feb. 6
4:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Minnesota Odds
-110o / -110u
Iowa Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Iowa will be without head coach Fran McCaffery when the Hawkeyes host the Minnesota Golden Gophers due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, leaving assistant Billy Taylor to step in as their active head coach for Sunday.

Minnesota enters the contest looking for its first win in Iowa City since Feb. 2015. The Gophers fell 81-71 to the Hawkeyes in the first matchup this season, but Minnesota was without Eric Curry, Sean Sutherlin, Danny Ogele and Joey Kern. And while the Gophers are just 2-8 in conference play, they've faced some of the toughest competition in the Big Ten, which is strong overall.

Iowa, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back losses to Purdue and Penn State. The Hawkeyes currently sit 14-7 on the season and 4-6 in the Big Ten, but are 11-2 in home games, averaging 90 points and nearly nine steals per contest while shooting 80% from the foul line and 47.6% from the field. They're also first in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio and second in fewest turnovers per game. The Hawkeyes also rank fourth in turnover margin. 

Iowa is 24th in the NCAA NET Rankings while Minnesota is 90th. The Hawkeyes have two Quad 2 victories on their resume while five of their seven losses have come to teams ranked in this week's AP Top 25. Will they be able to hold off the Gophers at home?

Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Minnesota offense is averaging 68.9 points per game led by Jamison Battle, who is ranked sixth in scoring among Big Ten players and seventh against conference opponents. Battle averages 17.8 points per game while Payton Willis ranks 10th in the conference at 16.7 points per game. Willis is also the Big Ten's best three-point shooter at 42.8%.

Battle racked up 21 points against Purdue, which marked his 34th straight double-figure scoring game. He has scored 20 points or more points in seven games this season.

Minnesota has 10 first-year Gophers, but most have multiple years of collegiate experience. Luke Loewe and Eylijah Stephens played four years of collegiate ball at William & Mary and Lafayette. Willis returned to the Gophers after a year at College of Charleston while Battle saw two years of action at George Washington before joining Minnesota.

Minnesota has been great at limiting turnovers, currently ranked first in the Big Ten and second nationally, giving the ball up 9.0 times per game.

The Gophers defense allows 67.8 points per game, with opponents shooting 51.4% from two-point range and 30% from three. They have also struggled on the defensive end to force turnovers and create issues outside of defending shots. They're outside the top 250 in two-point defense, steal percentage, block percentage and turnover percentage on defense.

Any kind of stop on the defensive end would be impressive for the Gophers.

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Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes have done enough to place themselves firmly in the NCAA Tournament for now, but the Big Ten is a tough and unpredictable conference and no game is easy. Will they be able to stay consistent through the end of the season?

Offensively, the Hawkeyes are second in the conference and sixth nationally in scoring offense averaging 82.8 points per contest. They have ranked first in the Big Ten in scoring offense the last three seasons while also leading the conference in scoring four of the last eight seasons. They also move at the 55th-fastest pace in Division I, per KenPom.

Iowa has been led by Keegan Murray, who is having an amazing season with 22.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.1 blocks per game on 55.1% shooting from the field. His brother Kris Murray has also been effective with 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Defensively, Iowa allows opponents to rack up 71 points per game, but the Hawkeyes have been effective at defending the perimeter and getting turnovers. They're first in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio and fourth in turnover margin. They should also give the Gophers a challenge around the basket, as Iowa ranks 50th in block percentage.

Minnesota vs. Iowa Betting Pick

The Hawkeyes did beat the Gophers by 10 earlier this season, but I don't see Iowa replicating that performance — Minnesota has been a better team on the road and should keep that up in the second meeting with Iowa.

Minnesota opened up as a 12-point dog, and while I wasn't able to get them at anything better than +11, I would take the Gophers at +9.5 or better.

Pick: Minnesota +9.5 or better

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