Iowa State Cyclones Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Matt Campbell took over a mess of a program in Iowa State after a strong run in Toledo. His first season was a rough 3-9 year, but he took a big step forward last year, climbing all the way to 8-5 with a bowl win. But the season was more than just what the record indicates. The losses were mostly respectable, and there were some incredibly high highs along the way. Campbell is obviously talented. However, can he keep climbing, or is he going to run into a ceiling like he did at Toledo where he hit nine wins three times but never exceeded it?
2017 in a Nutshell
As we said in the intro, there were close losses and incredible highs. First, the losses. Iowa by a field goal in overtime. Texas by 10 for the biggest loss. By four at West Virginia, and by a touchdown against Oklahoma State. And by a single point at Kansas State in the season finale. A break going their way here or there and this is suddenly a 10-win team. And then those highs. In Week 5 they headed to Norman and stunned then No. 3 Oklahoma by a touchdown. Oklahoma went to double overtime in the national semifinal behind a Heisman winner, so they obviously didn't lose much. And to prove it was no fluke, three weeks later they beat No. 4 TCU by a touchdown. And for dessert they beat No. 19 Memphis by a point in the Liberty Bowl. A team that can win three games like that in a season could have been better than 8-5. One big upset is a fluke, but three is a trend.
Key Additions and Departures
The team lost 20 seniors and had a junior QB transfer, so they said goodbye to a lot of leadership. But there was less talent to worry about - the team didn't have a single player drafted last year, so there isn't an irreplaceable player. One leader who is back is a remarkable story. Kyle Kempt is a sixth-year senior given another year this offseason. He was a walk-on from junior college, and he was forced to start for the Oklahoma game last year - a heck of a start to a career. There is a lot to build on with him. Excellent junior running back David Montgomery is back. And while Allen Lazard, a receiver who owns a lot of school records, is gone, there is plenty of receiver talent to draw on. They return three lineman and have promising options and much more depth than they had when Campbell showed up.
The defensive line is deep and talented. Linebacker Joel Lanning will be missed, but again there are options and experience. And while they are starting three new safeties in their defense, they have two excellent corners. One of those new safeties is very interesting - Greg Eisworth went from Ole Miss to juco to Iowa State this year, and he has the chance to be very good. Defense was a strength last year and could be again.
The coaching staff is mostly stable, with the only change being that former Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is now coaching running backs.
Biggest Area of Concern
The six weeks of hell in their schedule, as we will soon see. This is a much deeper team than when Campbell arrived, but it is far from deep. They will be tested repeatedly starting in Week 2, and if they run into troubles it could turn it from a promising year to a nightmare in a real hurry.
Iowa State Cyclones Schedule Analysis
They open up against South Dakota State, but then things get rough. First, they travel to Iowa for a big rivalry game. Then they host an Oklahoma team that is favored to win the conference and which will be hungry for revenge after last year. They get brief respite against Akron, but then they go on the road for two - at TCU and at Oklahoma State. Finally, they host West Virginia. They get a bye after that stretch of games, but it might come too late. They have an easier stretch against Texas Tech, Kansas and Baylor, but then things get challenging again when they visit Texas and then host Kansas State. It is far from an easy schedule.
2018-19 Iowa State Cyclones Betting Odds and Trends
At +60000, Iowa State is far from a favorite to win a national title, according to Bovada . They are the sixth choice to win the Big 12 at +2500, but they are far behind the top five - the next highest odds are just +800. The season win total is set at 6.5, with the "over" slightly favored.
2018-19 Iowa State Cyclones Predictions and College Football Picks
I want to like this team. I respect Campbell and believe in what he is doing. But they face a tough road. I think they will go over this win total and could match their win total from last year, but exceeding it by more than a win will be a real challenge given what they have to play against.
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