Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Iowa State Cyclones Expert Picks with Betting Odds
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Iowa State Cyclones, Saturday September 14, 4 p.m. ET
I'm not sure if it's a sign of how interesting this annual matchup is this year, or of how generally underwhelming the slate of games is this week, but the battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy is the best game of the week in college football. Iowa State has not won a game in this matchup since 2014, but this is the best team they have had in that time, and they are certainly hungry. Both teams are undefeated - even if they have played only three games between them - and there is real potential for fireworks here.
Iowa at Iowa State Betting Storylines
The Cyclones got a win in their only game to date as expected, but it certainly didn't build a whole lot of confidence. They opened at home against Northern Iowa, an FCS team coming off a 7-6 season. Iowa State was favored by 22.5 points and seemed like they wouldn't even have to break a sweat. But they needed three overtime periods to get out with a win by a field goal. And they needed a late fourth quarter field goal to even get to overtime. It was a lousy effort all-around. But we have all watched enough college football to know that one effort - good or bad - doesn't necessarily tell us about what a team really is. They had UNI followed by a bye before this game, so it would have been very easy for the Cyclones to look past that game and not give their best effort. That isn't necessarily what happened, of course - the Cyclones just might not be good enough to justify the fact that they were ranked to start the season. But there is a good chance that this version of the Cyclones won't look much like the last one we saw. They have a very good coaching staff, and they have had a bye week to tighten things up and refocus.
Iowa gets credit for having taken care of business handily in both of their games, but they haven't exactly proven anything. They beat Miami of Ohio in their opener followed by shutting out Rutgers in their second game. So, they have basically just played two exhibition games. Both of those opponents were tougher than UNI, but only by a little bit - especially in the case of Rutgers. Nate Stanley has played close to flawless football at quarterback, but it is tough to draw any more conclusions from what he has done than from Iowa State given the quality of the competition. He's going to be tested in a way that he hasn't been so far. For both teams, then, it's almost as if we have to just toss out most of what we have seen and base our decisions more on what we expected coming into the season.
One area of concern for Iowa has been their pass rush. Or, more accurately, their basic lack of one so far. Iowa has been solid when it comes to defending the run, but they have done very little to concern opposing quarterbacks so far. And, as has been a theme with everything we have talked about so far, they haven't faced a caliber of talent up front that they will here. Iowa State's Brock Purdy was mostly solid in the opener, but there is a lot of room for him to be better. And if Iowa can't apply pressure consistently to him, then it is going to be a problem for them.
Iowa at Iowa State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Iowa State favored by as many as 1.5 points, but that quickly shifted, and now Iowa is widely favored by two points on the road. About two-thirds of bets have been on Iowa, so there is nothing fishy about the line movement at this point. The total opened at 46.5 and has fallen to 44 in early action.
The Hawkeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last six nonconference games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the road. They are, however, just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games played on grass. The Cyclones are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games, but they are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games against Big Ten foes.
Iowa at Iowa State Predictions and Picks
It's time to go against the public here. Iowa State's first game was ugly, but I liked this team a lot coming into this season, and I still do. They were much better than they showed, and they do not deserve to be an underdog at home in this matchup. Iowa has looked good so far, but they haven't played any team of note, and their upside doesn't impress me. It's going to be a tight game, but in a case like that I'd happily take the home dog. Iowa State is the pick.
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