The ACC/Big Ten Challenge gets underway on Monday with one of the highlights being the Iowa at Virginia basketball betting matchup. The Hawkeyes have started off 6-0 and are scoring the most points in the country (97.2) but their competition has been suspect to say the least. The visit to John Paul Jones Arena is also the first road game of the season for Iowa.
Virginia takes a different approach from the Hawkeyes, ranking 4th in the nation while allowing just 53.6 points/game. The strength of schedule for UVA has been a lot tougher too, losing in a road trip to #12 Houston while also toppling Georgia and Providence to win the Legends Classic in Newark, New Jersey.
Spotlight Game for Murray Brothers
This nationally televised matchup is the first opportunity for many fans to see the country’s leading scorer, Iowa’s Keegan Murray who is putting up 25.7 points/game. Murray has been a best in all six of the Hawkeyes’ wins this season, scoring 23+ in all six games including a 27 point, 21 rebound performance against North Carolina Central.
Murray plays along side his twin brother Kris Murray, who is second on the team putting up 12.8 ppg and a solid 6.8 rebounds/game. Iowa has some depth, with Patrick McCaffrey averaging over 12 points/game for his father Fran’s team. Iowa also has an invaluable piece in the experienced Jordan Bohannon, who is playing in his sixth season in Iowa City after being redshirted with an injury in 2019 and getting the extension for COVID relief from last year. Bohannon is the Big Ten’s all-time leader in three pointers.
Of course Iowa’s impressive early season statistics have to be taken with a grain of salt considering their competition. The Hawkeyes have been at minimum a -19.5 favorite in each of their six games, and the opponents have been so bad that Iowa has covered the number in four of those games.
Virginia Ready to Get One for the ACC
UVA has played great defensively this season, especially lately holding four straight opponents to 55 points or less. The Cavaliers would love to get a win in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge, adding to their 2021/22 accomplishments that also includes winning the Legends Classic at the Prudential Center with wins over Georgia and Providence.
Armaan Franklin had 23 points to lead UVA’s 65-55 win over Georgia to kick off the Legends Classic, and had 14 in a dominating 58-40 win over Providence. Jayden Gardner was huge against the Friars with 21 points and 13 rebounds, and leads the Cavaliers with 13.4 ppg.
Iowa at Virginia Basketball Betting Pick
Iowa is a -2 point favorite on the road Monday based on their red hot start. It still goes back to the Hawkeyes playing all six of their games at home this season and against five of six opponents that couldn’t keep the final score within 20 points. How are the Hawkeyes going to react going on the road, and against a team that can get after you on the defensive end?
Ultimately though, Iowa is a super talented team. The Murray brothers are great, Bohanon has experience, and the Hawkeyes just look way more than two points better than UVA here.
Iowa 77 – Virginia 66
Free Pick: Iowa -2