Iowa State Cyclones Win Total: o/u 9.5
Want to talk about high expectations? Iowa State has been playing college football for 124 seasons and has never reached double-digit wins. For the first time in program history, they’ll have to do something for this totals bet to hit the over. However, with Matt Campbell at the wheel and the experienced team he has coming back, history could be made in Ames this season.
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The in-state, out-of-conference rivalry is usually a slugfest between these two teams. The Hawkeyes have won the last five in the series and six of the last seven. The two did not play in 2020, so it’s hard to get a gauge on how this current version of the Cyclones will match up against Kirk Ferentz’s squad, but it can be assumed Iowa State sees capturing the Cy-Hawk trophy as their first step to a successful 2021 season.
The Longhorns have historically treated Iowa State as a little brother in this matchup, with the Cyclones having won only 4 of 18 matchups all-time. Currently, Iowa State owns a two-game win streak over Texas and looks to make it three in a row at home this year. Steve Sarkisian is taking over, and expectations are high on the forty acres, but it could take some time for his offense to reach the production seen at Alabama the past two seasons.
At Oklahoma (11/20):
This matchup should be the deciding factor in who takes the Big 12 regular-season championship and has the inside track at a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Sooners enter the season as the Big 12 favorites, and quarterback Spencer Rattler has the favorite betting odds to win the Heisman Trophy (+400 per Bovada and BetUS).
If things play out as the oddsmakers believe, these two teams will play again in the Big 12 Championship game two weeks later. The two teams split their meetings last season, and the expectation is that the nation will have eyes on their battle this year.
The Cyclones have gone from cellar dweller to conference competitor under head coach Matt Campbell, courted by other high-profile college jobs and even a few open NFL opportunities. Campbell has chosen to stay in Ames and continue building on his teams’ success over the past four seasons. Each of the previous four seasons would have set a high mark for conference wins in the program’s history.
On offense, Iowa State brings back senior quarterback Brock Purdy and junior running back Breece Hall, a perceived favorite for the Doak Walker Award (nation’s best running back). This dynamic duo could each push the above-mentioned Rattler for the Big 12 player of the year. The offensive line features three redshirt seniors, a redshirt junior, and a redshirt sophomore, providing a wall of experience in front of the skill players.
The defense will benefit from the experience factor as well. In a league predicated on scoring points in bundles, the Cyclones have 10/11 starters that are entering the fourth or fifth season of college football. If the defense can provide timely stops and create a few turnovers, this team has the potential to break onto the national scene.
Over 9.5 wins. Even if the Cyclones can’t get past Oklahoma in the regular season, there is still room for error for an additional loss to allow this bet to hit the over. The Cyclones make history and reach double digits for the first time in school history and face off against the Sooners in the Big 12 Championship for a chance to play in the playoffs as the first Big 12 team not named Oklahoma.
Iowa State Big 12 Champions (+260 per BetUS):
The conference title should come down to the Cyclones and the Sooners as it did last year. The teams will get a preview of each other in the second to last game of the regular season, but the real deciding match-up will be the title game in Dallas.
Breece Hall Heisman Trophy Winner (+4000 per Bovada):
Hall is the only player from last year’s Heisman finalists that returns to college football this season. The running back finished sixth in voting in 2020 but enters the season trailing his teammate in odds (Purdy +2800). A playoff appearance and similar statistic season should land Hall in the conversation for college football’s greatest award by season’s end.