The Iowa Hawkeyes host the Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend in a battle between two 4-3 Big 10 teams. Kickoff will be at 6:30 PM EST on Saturday, October 28th at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. The game will be televised on FS1.

Iowa enters this game as 8 point home favorites. Early betting has yet to influence the line, as the Hawkeyes opened at -8. The over/under for the game is 42.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 9 betting odds and links to game previews.

Minnesota vs Iowa Vegas Betting Line & Game Preview

The Golden Gophers ended a three game losing streak last weekend, beating Illinois 24-17 to improve to 4-3 on the season They also finally recorded their first conference win after going 0-3 against Big 10 opponents. QB Demry Croft appears to have grabbed control of the starting job after a strong performance last weekend. It was announced earlier today that Croft will start again on Saturday against the Hawkeyes. Minnesota has looked strong on the ground, averaging 188 rushing yards per game (44th overall). They are led by RB Rodney Smith, who has rushed for 545 yards and 2 touchdowns in seven games. On the other side of the ball, the Golden Gophers are giving up an average of 19 points on 317 total yards per game. Their impressive play has led to a top 25 defensive ranking heading into Week 9 play.

Iowa lost on the road against Northwestern last weekend, falling 17-10 in overtime. The Hawkeyes struggled to get anything going offensively all game, rushing for less than 100 yards on 33 attempts. They will face another tough test on Saturday against a strong Minnesota defense. However, Iowa will be happy to be playing at home, as they have looked much better at Kinnick Stadium (3-1) than on the road (1-2). The Hawkeyes are currently averaging 26.1 points per game, which is 81st overall. Defensively, Iowa is giving up just 18.4 points per game on an average of 381.3 yards per game. Their scoring defense has been especially impressive, as it is currently ranked 20th overall.

Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Minnesota +8

These two teams have been rivals for a long time. The winner of this game will receive the Floyd of Rosedale, which has been given out annually since 1935. I’ve gone back and forth on this match-up for awhile, mostly debating about whether or not to recommend the over and if I think can Iowa can win by over a touchdown. Rivalry games are often tightly contested, especially when two elite defenses are involved. I think that Iowa ultimately wins this game at home, but I don’t feel comfortable having to give up eight points. I think Minnesota offers the best value in this spot.

Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.

The Golden Gophers are 7-1-3 ATS in their past 11 road games. They are also 3-1-2 ATS versus teams with a winning record over their past 6 games. Demry Croft will get his second straight start after energizing this Minnesota offense last weekend. Their defense should also keep this game close, especially against a struggling Iowa offense that only managed to put up ten points last weekend.

I think that this game most likely plays out as a tough, defensive battle. Minnesota is definitely a rush-heavy offense which should help them control possession time and manage the clock. I don’t think that they can win this game straight up, as Iowa has also looked great on defense and have been playing really well at home. The Hawkeyes should find a way to emerge victorious, but I’m fully expecting it to be a close game throughout. The last two meetings between these two teams were decided by twelve points combined. Rivalry games like this are often tightly contested, as both teams will have circled this one on the calendar as soon as the schedule was released. I’m taking Minnesota and the points.