The Iowa Hawkeyes are set to host the Wyoming Cowboys to open up the 2017 season. Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST on Saturday, Sept. 2nd at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Taking a look at our Week 1 betting lines, oddsmakers have Iowa listed as a 12.5-point home favorite. The over/under for this contest has been set at 54 points.

Iowa vs Wyoming Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds

The Hawkeyes finished up the 2016 season at 8-5, but it was considered a disappointment by a lot of people. Iowa was expected to defend their Big Ten West title from 2015, but ended up 1-game out of first at 6-3. They also got embarrassed 30-3 by Florida in their bowl game, giving them 5 straight postseason losses.

It’s hard telling what to expect from Iowa in what will be head coach Kirk Ferentz’s 19th year on the job. The Hawkeyes return 14 starters, but lose a lot of key pieces, including starting QB C.J. Beathard.

Wyoming was one of the big surprises last year. After going a mere 2-10 in 2015, the Cowboys finished up at 8-6. That included a spot in the MWC title game, where they lost a heartbreaker 24-27 to San Diego State. Keep in mind they play in the same division as Boise State in the MWC.

The turnaround shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise given the track record of head coach Craig Bowl. He was the architect that turned North Dakota State into an FCS powerhouse. He had a 104-32 record in his 11 years there, including a 33-2 mark in his last 3 seasons. Last year marked his 3rd season with Wyoming, so he’s finally getting his recruits for his system on the field. The Cowboys return 14 starters for 2017.

College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: Iowa -12.5

There’s a lot of people praising Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen as a potential 1st round pick in next year’s NFL draft. On the flip side of this, Iowa has yet to name a starter. Sophomore Nathan Stanley and junior Tyler Wiegers haven’t been able to separate themselves from the other.

A lot of people like to base their picks off the quarterback position and the public appears to be all over Wyoming here. I think that’s a mistake.

Click here for more free college football picks from our expert handicappers.

While Allen is a nice talent, I’m not quite convinced he’s the real deal. Wyoming played at Nebraska last year in non-conference and Allen was a mere 16 of 32 for 189 with 1 TD and 5 interceptions. He also had a game against Colorado St where he went 7 of 18 for 165 yards.

You could argue that some of Allen’s success was in part a result of teams having to respect the running game. Wyoming rushed for 205 yards/game. The problem is they lose their star RB in Brian Hill, who rushed for 1,860 yards and 22 TD’s.

They don’t figure to do a ton of running against Iowa, who is loaded with talent on the front 7, including one of the nations best set of linebackers.

I’m not concerned over Iowa’s quarterback situation as others. The most important thing is the offensive line, which will also be one of the top units in the country.

When the Hawkeyes are strong up front, they typically produce offensively. Keep in mind they have a big time threat at running back in senior Akrum Wadley, who rushed for 1,081 yards (6.4 yards/carry).

Wyoming allowed 204 rushing yards/game and 5.3 yards/carry last year. I just think the hype around Allen has this line a lot lower than it should be. Iowa is no easy place for opposing teams to play. Keep in mind last year they were a 28-point favorite over Miami, OH in their home opener last year.

Wyoming is a mere 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games in September and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games. I also think there’s a good chance Iowa scores at least 28 points in this one. That’s worth noting, as the Hawkeyes are 88-27 ATS in their last 115 games when they hit that mark.