Iowa Hawkeyes Win Total: O/U 8.5 wins
If stability is a sign of success, the Hawkeyes can be considered one of the more successful programs in the country. Head coach Kirk Ferentz is the longest-tenured coach in college football and has been the head man for the Hawkeyes since 1999. Iowa has won more than 8 games on 8 occasions during Ferentz’s time, so the sportsbooks anticipate Iowa being better than average.
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Why not kick off the season with one of the tougher games on the schedule. BetUS has the Hawkeyes as a 4.5 point favorite at home against the Hoosiers, who bring back quarterback Michael Penix Jr. who was having a breakout season prior to tearing his ACL later in the 2020 season. The Hoosiers expect Penix to be healthy to start the season, but from the Hawkeyes perspective, it helps to catch Indiana early when there may still be some rust.
At Iowa State (9/11)
The battle for the CyHawk trophy. These two teams took a year off from their in-state rivalry due to conference-only schedules as a result of COVID in 2020. The Cyclones are towards the top of the list of Big 12 contenders and hope to challenge for a playoff spot on the national stage.
Quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall return as upperclassmen for rising coach Matt Campbell to lead a deep and experienced team poised to make a run at a national title. If the Hawkeyes can knock off the Cyclones on the road, they should be well on their way to hitting their betting line for their projected win total. BetOnline currently has the Cyclones as a 5.5 point favorite at home.
At Wisconsin (10/30)
Bovada has the Badgers as the favorites to win the Big Ten West (-120), one spot ahead of the Hawkeyes (+190). Unfortunately for Iowa, they travel to Camp Randall Stadium for the game that will likely decide the winner of the division and the representative in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game. Graham Mertz returns as quarterback for Paul Chryst’s team, who has been just as steady of a presence as the Hawkeyes over the past decade.
The Hawkeyes are typically replacing talent on both sides of the ball, which is a blessing and a curse. Kirk Ferentz teams typically send numerous upperclassmen to the NFL, but the program does a great job of backfilling those positions with players who have been in the system for multiple years. Iowa ended 2020 on a six-game win streak following two losses to open the season. Quarterback Spencer Petras turned his game around during the win streak with 8 touchdown passes to only two interceptions compared to a 1:3 ratio in the teams’ two losses.
Over 8.5 wins. The game at Iowa State early in the season will tell a lot about where the Hawkeyes stand from a competitive standpoint. However, even a loss in that matchup still gives the team a chance to hit the over on this betting line. Outside of the highlighted games above, the schedule is favorable, and the Big Ten West has typically been the weaker of the conference’s divisions.
Iowa Big Ten West Champions
As mentioned above, Iowa is +190 per Bovada to win their division, just a hair above the odds on BetUS (+175). The game at Wisconsin should go a long way in determining the winner here, but a loss doesn’t necessarily end the Hawkeye’s chances at a division title.
Iowa Big Ten Conference Champions
If the Hawkeyes can make it to Indianapolis, with a likely matchup against Big Ten East favorite Ohio State (-500), history won’t be on their side. Despite winning the last matchup by three touchdowns, Kirk Ferentz is 2-8 lifetime against the Buckeyes, and Iowa hasn’t won the Big Ten since 2004. But with 10/1 odds (BetUS), it may be worth taking a swing to take the sportsbook for some extra cash.