This Saturday the Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0) will host the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0). Kickoff is set for 6:30 EST at Kinnick Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 4 odds, Penn State is currently a 12.5-point road favorite with the total at 52 points.
Penn State vs Iowa Betting Odds & Game Preview
The Nittany Lions cruised to a 56-0 win at home under the lights against an inferior Georgia State team. Penn State covered rather easily as a 37-point favorite. That’s now 3 straight wins against the spread to start out the 2017 season.
Iowa pulled away late for a 31-14 win at home over North Texas, but came up short on the number as a 19.5-point favorite. The Hawkeyes easily covered their opener at home against Wyoming and pushed in their OT win over Iowa State.
These two teams played last year and it wasn’t close. Penn State scored twice in the first 5 minutes and led 21-0 on their way to a 41-14 win. The Nittany Lions outgained the Hawkeyes by a staggering 365 yards (599-234). That’s the only meeting between the two teams over the previous 4 seasons.
College Football Predictions & Betting Free Prick: Iowa +12.5
It would be easy to look at how the Nittany Lions man-handled Iowa last season and just assume Penn State will roll again. That’s not typically how it works and I like the value here with the Hawkeyes as a double-digit home dog.
There’s a couple of key differences from last year. One being the location of the game, which is huge. Iowa has a great home field advantage and it gets crazy in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes have a night game. The atmosphere is going to be electric and one the Nittany Lions could take a bit to get use to, as their first 3 games have all come at home.
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The other factor is that unlike last year, Penn State is no longer flying under the radar. Big 10 teams are going to take note when they are on their schedule. Something Iowa might have overlooked last year, as their game at Penn State was sandwiched between two huge home games against Wisconsin and Michigan.
You also can’t overlook the revenge factor. There’s little doubt that Iowa has had their eye on this game. Not only cause of what happened last year, but it being a night game and their conference opener. It’s also worth noting that game against Penn State was an outlier from the last two seasons. Iowa has played 7 ranked teams the past two years and won 4 of those with two of the three losses coming by single-digits.
Something else to keep in mind with this one is Penn State’s resume isn’t all that impressive so far. They have beat Akron, Pitt and Georgia State. The Zips just lost at home 14-41 to ISU, a team Iowa beat. The win over the Pitt doesn’t look as good after the Panthers lost at home to Oklahoma State by 38. Keep in mind Pitt actually outgained Penn State 342-312, despite losing the game by 19-points.
The big concern with Iowa is the health of running back Akrum Wadley, after he left last week’s game against North Texas. Looks like that may have just been precautionary, as he’s listed as probable. Either way, expect the Hawkeyes to cause some problems with their rushing attack, as they continue to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the country.
Given some of the upsets Iowa has had, I don’t think it’s out of the question they win here outright. Either way, I think there is an excellent chance this game is competitive throughout, making this an easy play given the number.