Odds & Pick for Minnesota vs. Iowa Basketball: Target the Total in Big Ten Clash
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Garza.
- Iowa looks to avenge its only Big Ten loss of the season so far when it hosts Minnesota.
- The Gophers' offense thrived in the first matchup against the Hawkeyes, who have one of the nation's best players in Luka Garza.
- BJ Cunningham is targeting the total in this matchup to find value.
Minnesota vs. Iowa Odds
Iowa looks to avenge their lone Big Ten loss against Minnesota on Sunday in Iowa City.
Minnesota upset Iowa on Christmas, winning 103-95 in overtime at home. However, in all three of the Gophers’ road games this season, they have been blown out by Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So it seems Minnesota’s performance is dependent on where the game is being played.
However, Richard Pitino has an above-average team in the Big Ten, so they could give the Hawkeyes trouble again on Sunday.
Iowa blew out Maryland on the road Wednesday for its third straight Big Ten. According to KenPom, the Hawkeyes have the second-best offense in the country in terms of efficiency. What has been the issue for the Hawkeyes is their defense, which was the reason they lost to the Gophers.
Can Iowa improve its defense the second time around to get its fourth straight victory?
When Minnesota has the ball
In their first meeting, Minnesota absolutely torched Iowa for 1.32 points per possession, mainly due to the fact that they shot almost 40% from beyond the arc and 86% from the free throw line.
Minnesota did what it does best in that game, which is get to the free throw line as often as possible. In fact, the Gophers are getting to the charity stripe at a ridiculous rate with the 16th-highest rate in the country, per KenPom. However, relying on a high percentage of points coming from the charity stripe is not a recipe to beat the Hawkeyes the second time around.
Minnesota loves to play at a really fast pace with the 49th-highest tempo in the country. That will play right into Iowa’s hands with that because the Hawkeyes also play one of the fastest tempos in the country.
Iowa is really going to have to defend a lot better the second time around if they are going to be Minnesota. So far in Big Ten play, the Hawkeyes haven’t been great defensively, giving up 1.06 points per possession.
The main reason for that is Iowa is doing a terrible job defending the 3-point line, allowing 37.7% shooting from behind the arc in conference play. If the Hawkeyes can’t keep the Gophers in check from deep, it may be another long night on the defensive end of the floor.
When Iowa has the ball
The reason Iowa has the No. 2 offense in the country is because all five guys on the floor can score in a variety of ways. Obviously, Luka Garza gets most of the shine and for good reason, because he is averaging 27.9 points and 8.9 rebounds. He was a matchup nightmare for Minnesota in their first meeting scoring 32 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.
The other four guys on the floor can also light up opposing defenses from anywhere on the floor. The Hawkeyes rank in the top 40 in both 2-point and 3-point percentage and are averaging 1.17 points per possession in Big Ten play. In fact, in their loss to Minnesota, they still torched the Gophers for 1.23 points per possession.
The biggest advantage Iowa is going to have in this matchup is on the offensive glass. Minnesota is the worst defensive rebounding team in the Big Ten and has allowed a 34% offensive rebound rate in conference play. In their first meeting, the Hawkeyes grabbed 27 offensive boards, 11 of which were from Garza. Iowa can expect plenty of second-chance opportunities on Sunday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think this game is going to be played very similarly to the first meeting in December. It’s going to be a track meet up and down the floor with plenty of second-chance opportunities for both teams.
However, I think the Hawkeyes still have a sour taste in their mouth from that defeat, so I wouldn’t be surprised if head coach Fran McCaffery keeps his foot on the pedal for the entire game.
I have the total projected at 165.54, so I think there is value on over 162.5 points or better.
Pick: Over 162.5 points