Penn State Nittany Lions at Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview

Totals betting has the O/U set at 41.0 points for the matchup between #4 Penn State and #3 Iowa, and even that number seems high. These two Big Ten titans rank #2 and #3 in the country in scoring defense, allowing a combined 23.6 ppg while at the same time boasting less than stellar offenses. 

The Hawkeyes are a slight -1.5 point home favorite. If you are looking to make some NCAAF picks, such a low point spread makes this an ideal game for moneyline betting, and both BetOnline and Bovada have Penn State priced at +105 as the outright winner. 

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Penn State’s Offense Improving

It looked like it was going to be an ugly year offensively for the Nittany Lions after their first half of football this college football season. In the opener, Penn State was shut out for the 1st half against Wisconsin and had just 43 yards, but went no-huddle for an 86-yard scoring drive in the 2nd half and haven’t looked back. 

QB Sean Clifford has been solid for PSU and is the x-factor for Saturday’s sports betting picks. Clifford has 7 TD over the last two weeks and 11 on the season, but he has also thrown an INT in three straight games. Clifford needs to limit turnovers against this Iowa defense. 

Penn State got some nice output from their running game in last week’s 24-0 win over Indiana, running the ball 42 times for 209 yards. The Nittany Lions ran the ball just 18 times for 50 yards in Week 1 against Wisconsin and will likely put up similar numbers against Iowa’s #9 ranked rush defense. 

This feels like a sports betting game that is going to finish with a final score of 10-7. The Nittany Lions give up a bit more yardage than the Hawkeyes (45th vs. the pass, 30th vs. the run) but buckle down when needed allowing only 12.0 ppg on the season. 

Iowa Has Answered Every Test

The Hawkeyes are 5-0 despite being a 4 point favorite or less in three of their games. Iowa has answered the bell in every challenge this season and usually very well. 

Iowa began the year with a 34-6 win over Indiana as just -3.5 favorites. They beat in-state rival Iowa State 27-17 even as +4 point underdogs in Ames. Most recently, the Hawkeyes met up with an upset-minded Maryland team on the road as -3 point favorites and dominated them 51-14 in a tough Friday night atmosphere. 

What we like about Iowa as part of our weekend’s free NCAAF picks is that they seem to be improving every week. It was an all-around dominating performance that included a 31-point 2nd quarter and a 3 TD night from QB Spencer Petras. 

Iowa’s defense also had arguably their best performance on Saturday. This is a Hawks’ squad that had 2 INT TD returns in the opener against Indiana, but they forced seven turnovers against Maryland and held the Big Ten’s leading passer Taulia Tagovailoa to 157 yards passing and 5 INT. 

Penn State at Iowa Pick 

This game has every indication that it’s going to be a barn burner and the teams really do mirror each other with great defenses and solid-when-needed quarterbacks. 

Iowa has a little bit more reliable running game with Tyler Goodson amassing 430 yards on the ground so far this season. The fact that the Hawkeyes are playing at home in such a big game atmosphere has to count for something as well. Hard not to like Iowa Hawkeyes here.

Free Pick: Iowa -1.5

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