Iowa State Cyclones vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Line: Iowa State -4.5
Where: Jack Trice Stadium
When: Saturday, 9/11 at 4:30 p.m. ET
No. 10 Iowa might be on a seven-game winning streak and 4-0 in its last four trips to Ames, but it enters Saturday afternoon’s contest as an underdog against No. 9 Iowa State.
The Cyclones opened as 6-point favorites, but that line was quickly bet down to 3.5 within several hours last Sunday. There has been some movement towards the home favorite since then, with the line sitting at -4.5 as of Saturday morning. The total has been bet up from 44.5 to 46.
Last season’s contest between these teams was canceled due to COVID-19. The two-year gap between games has only heightened expectations, as this is the first time both teams have been ranked heading into the rivalry.
Iowa picked up its seventh straight win dating back to last season when it routed a ranked Indiana team last weekend. The Hawkeyes intercepted Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. three times, returning two of those for touchdowns. They allowed just 202 passing yards in the win.
Iowa State did not fare as well, barely squeaking past Northern Iowa in a 16-10 win. The Cyclones were 28.5-point favorites, so they were never close to covering that number.
Quarterback Brock Purdy entered the season as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, but his price has dropped from 28/1 to 40/1 following a slow start. Purdy completed 21 of 26 attempts for just 199 yards and did not throw a touchdown.
Running back Breece Hall, who is also 40/1 to win the Heisman, averaged just 3.0 yards per carry. He finished with 69 yards and one touchdown, finding the end zone for a school-record 13th consecutive game.
All-American tight end Charlie Kolar is expected to play in this game. He was a late scratch last weekend, as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. Kolar caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon in January. He is officially listed as ‘probable.’
While the Cyclones might have been caught looking ahead, Iowa was focused right out of the gates. The Hawkeyes shut down then-No. 17 Indiana in a 34-6 final. With the defense doing most of the work, Iowa’s offense did not have to do much.
Junior quarterback Spencer Petras completed 13 of 27 pass attempts for 145 yards. Running back Tyler Goodson had the highlight play against Indiana, scoring on a 56-yard scamper in the first quarter. He finished with 19 attempts for 99 yards.
Iowa has not only won seven straight games—its average margin of victory is more than three touchdowns. The Hawkeyes cannot expect multiple pick-sixes in every game, but head coach Kirk Ferentz said “that’s how we play.”
Iowa State has covered the spread in four of its last six games, while Iowa is on a 6-1 ATS run. The Hawkeyes have won the last five head-to-head meetings.
Both teams have been playing low-scoring contests. Iowa State has gone ‘under’ in five of its last six games, while Iowa has cashed the ‘under’ in 12 of its last 18 games. The total has gone ‘under’ in 12 of the Hawkeyes’ last 16 September outings.
The pick: Iowa State -4.5
Multiple sites are reporting more than 70 percent of bets on Iowa, yet the line has gone from -4 to -4.5. Is it a square-sharp divide? Maybe. Either way, I think there has been an overreaction based on Week 1 results. Iowa State was clearly looking ahead to this game. If the Cyclones come out and look anything like they did last week, I will make an adjustment from there. For now, I expect Purdy and Hall to get things going, especially with Kolar back in the mix. Iowa’s defensive performance against Indiana masked over the fact that its offense was not great by any stretch of the imagination. I would be surprised if the Hawkeyes put up more than 17 points on the road against a solid Iowa State defense.