This Saturday the No. 19 Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) will visit the Iowa State Cyclones (1-0). This isn’t just another in-state showdown. This will be the site of GameDay (first time ever in Ames). Kickoff is set for 4:00 EST at Jack Trice Stadium and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
Oddsmakers opened up this with Iowa State as a slim 1-point favorite, but the line has flipped and it’s Iowa that’s currently a 2.5-point road favorite. The total for this one is sitting at 44.5 points.
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Iowa State vs Iowa Game Betting Line & Vegas Preview
Iowa has looked impressive to start out 2019. The Hawkeyes took down Miami (OH) 38-14 in Week 1 and cruised to a 30-0 win at home over Rutgers in Week 2. Iowa failed to cover as a 25.5-point favorite against the RedHawks, but easily covered the 17.5 against the Scarlet Knights.
Iowa has displayed a very balanced offensive attack, as they are averaging 203 rushing yards and 248 through the air. Senior quarterback Nathan Stanley has completed 64% of his attempts for 488 yards with a 6-0 TD-INT ratio. Keep in mind Iowa lost two 1st round NFL draft picks at tight end.
The defense has been really good. After holding Miami (OH) to just 245 yards of offense in their opener, they absolutely dominated Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights managed just 5 first downs and 125 total yards.
Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones were off last week, as they got a much-needed bye after nearly getting upset by Northern Iowa at home in Week 1. ISU needed a field goal in the final minute of regulation to tie it up 13-13. They would eventually win 29-26 in a triple-overtime thriller.
While the defense played well enough to win, it was not the offensive showing we were expecting to see. It did get better as the game progressed. Sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy ended up throwing for 278 yards and 2 scores. Iowa State did also have a 463-262 edge in total yards, which is a pretty significant edge for a game they only won by 3-points.
The Hawkeyes have won 4 straight in the series, as Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell looks for his first win against Kirk Ferentz. Iowa won going away 42-3 in Campbell’s first year at home, but barely squeaked by with a 44-41 OT win in 2017’s visit to Jack Trice. Last year the Hawks won a defensive battle at home 13-3.
Free NCAAF Betting Pick Against the Spread: UNDER 44.5
I don’t see a ton of value here with the spread. I would probably take the points with the home team coming off a bye, but I’m a bit nervous with the Cyclones ability to move the ball against this Iowa defense. I would much rather take my chances on the UNDER 44.5 if I was playing this one.
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I get Iowa hasn’t played the most challenging offenses the first couple of games, but you can’t ignore what they did to that Rutgers offense. Keep in mind a lot of people though Rutgers was going to give them a game (line dropped almost 3-points). It’s hard to only get 5 first downs in a 30-0 blowout. Last year the fewest first downs for Rutgers in any game was 10.
Iowa’s got a potential Top 10 pick on the defensive line in A.J. Espenesa. There were some question marks with the defensive line having to replace 4 starters, but the depth here was better than expected. They also brought back 3 linebackers who started 5+ games.
I also don’t think the struggles to score against UNI were just the first game jitters for Iowa State. This team lost two elite talents from last year’s team in running back David Montgomery and wide out Hakeem Butler. I really think they have a hard time moving the ball against this Hawkeyes defense.
I do think you have to be a bit cautious when looking at the offensive numbers for the Hawks given who they have played. They did have just 10-points at the half against Miami (OH) and while they put up 30 points against Rutgers, they were a miserable 2 for 13 on 3rd downs. This is just not the same offense without those two elite talents at tight end.
Last year Stanley was just 16 of 28 for 166 yards against Iowa State and 10 of those 16 receptions were to Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson. I think we will see this offense struggle a lot more due to the Cyclones ability to keep them from picking up big yards on the ground.
UNDER has been a popular trend in the series, as 10 of the last 14 meetings (1 push) have stayed under the total. Give me the UNDER 44.5!