Line: Iowa -5.5
Michigan vs Iowa Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Michigan Wolverines (9-6) are heading to Iowa City for a battle with the Iowa Hawkeyes (10-6) Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Hawkeyes are 5.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 154.5 points.
Since 1950, the Wolverines and Hawkeyes have played 131 times. Michigan has won 78 games, good for a 59.5% clip. Last season, the schools split the matchups with each school winning the road game. Both teams are unranked for just the second time in the last 10 matchups.
Michigan got off to a nice 3-0 start, rising to No. 20 in the poll. Since then, they have treaded water on a 6-6 stretch. They dropped a pair of games against ranked teams and a pair of neutral-site games, but they had a strange loss at home against Central Michigan as well as a loss to their rival in Michigan State. Michigan is a largely solid team, and they could even make March Madness, but they will have to escape the rut they are currently in. They have had a solid start in the Big Ten, but they have tough games coming up with trips to Iowa, Maryland, and Penn State by the end of January. Michigan is 50th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.
Michigan has an above-average offense led by junior Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson has scored 18.7 points per game and nabbed 8.2 rebounds per game. Jett Howard has poured in 14.3 points per game while hitting 2.4 threes per game. Kobe Bufkin also has a double-digit average. Michigan ranks 126th in points per game and 122nd in offensive rating. One key to the offense has been their minimal turnovers. They are the second-cleanest team in the country, turning the ball over just 9.2 times per game. Michigan does have a weakness at the free-throw line, hitting just 68.5% of their shots. However, they do get to the line often, so the volume can cancel out the lack of efficiency at times.
The Wolverines have been average defensively. They are 171st in scoring defense, allowing 68.7 points per game. On a per-possession rate, they are 144th. They are an elite rebounding team, though. They are 21st in defensive rebounds per game, and they have been effective in forcing turnovers (11.8 per game). Dickinson has been a two-way star, posting a personal defensive rating of 95.3 while swatting 25 shots. Howard and Tarris Reed have also blocked more than 10 shots. Bufkin leads the team with 22 steals, and Dug McDaniel has pitched in with 18 more. According to KenPom ratings, Michigan is the 61st defense in the country.
Michigan is 8-7 ATS this season. In their last five games, they are 3-2. As underdogs, they are 1-1 ATS, but they lost to North Carolina and Michigan State. The under is 3-2 in the last five games. This game features the highest total of a Wolverines team in their last five games.
Iowa got off to a boiling start, winning their first five games. They jumped into the polls, but they immediately went into a cold stretch. They alternated wins and losses for their next seven games to slip to 8-4 before losing to Nebraska and Rutgers on the road. They have answered with wins over ranked Indiana and Rutgers, but the Hawkeyes are not as good as they were in November. They are 2-3 in the conference, and they are 39th in KenPom.
The Hawkeyes are led by an excellent offense. They are 24th in points per game, 32nd in offensive rating, and 15th in KenPom offensive rating. They have scored 100 points twice, and they have been held below 62 points just once. Only 12 teams take more shots per game than the Hawkeyes. They have been strong on the offensive glass, pulling down 12.6 offensive rebounds per game. They have been inconsistent from the three-point line, but they take a healthy amount of them. The Hawkeyes have four double-digit scorers including Kris Murray’s 20.9 points per game. The junior forward has hit 62.1% of his twos and 38.7% of his threes. Murray averages 9.6 rebounds per game including 3.5 on the offensive glass. Filip Rebraca has nabbed 3.3 offensive boards per game, helping him score 14.5 points per night.
Iowa allows its opponents to take shots at an incredible rate. They are in the bottom 20 in field goals allowed, field goal attempts allowed, twos allowed, and attempted twos allowed. Opponents are hitting a healthy 44.6% of their total shots and 50.2% of their twos. Iowa has defended the three well, but they have enabled teams to score on the inside. Iowa averages a reasonable 10.5 combined steals and blocks. Rebraca has blocked 1.5 shots per game, and two Hawkeyes average a steal per game. Among regulars, Murray and Rebraca are the best defenders, posting a defensive rating below 100.
Iowa is 9-7 ATS this season. They are 2-3 ATS in their last five games, but they have trended in the right direction in 2023. They have covered in each of their last two games, and they failed to cover the previous game by 1.5 points. The over has been productive for bettors, hitting in four of the last five games.
Free Pick: Iowa -5.5
Home court will matter here as the Hawkeyes are an impressive 7-2 in Iowa City. Iowa has the better offense, and they should Cover -5.5 as home favorites. The Wolverines are a plucky bunch, but Iowa has been marginally better in recent weeks. It could come down to the final few possessions, and Michigan has been poor from the free-throw line, so Iowa is the best bet.