Cincinnati vs. Iowa Betting Guide: Will Hawkeye Magic Continue in NCAA Tournament?

Cincinnati vs. Iowa Betting Guide: Will Hawkeye Magic Continue in NCAA Tournament? article feature image
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USA Today. Pictured: Iowa forward Tyler Cook (25) and Cincinnati guard Jarron Cumberland (34)

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Iowa NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Cincinnati -4.5
  • Over/Under: 137
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio

>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


The Cincinnati Bearcats (14-20 against the spread) failed to cover in nine of their past 11 games, but did manage to cover in their most recent game, a 69-57 win over Houston in the AAC title game.

On the flip side, the Iowa Hawkeyes (13-20 ATS) dropped nine of their past 10 contests ATS, including their most recent game, a 74-53 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

Which team presents more value in this Round of 64 matchup? Let’s break it down.

Iowa’s Big Ten Wizardry

Even though the Hawkeyes weren’t successful ATS, they pulled off a flurry of unexpected outright victories.

It began with a 15-point comeback over Northwestern with 4:30 left, followed by an off-the-backboard 3-pointer via wing Joe Wieskamp (10.8 ppg) to knock off Rutgers.

Iowa’s run was capped off by Jordan Bohannan (11.3 ppg), who scored 12 of its final 16 points — all from behind the arc —  in an overtime win over Indiana in which Iowa trailed by three with 38 seconds left.

Iowa didn’t cover in any of those games, but luck was on their side.

Iowa’s Perimeter Shooting

Guided by Bohannan, the Hawkeyes boast the 89th-highest 3-point clip in the country (36.1%). Despite their perimeter scoring rate of 31.0% ranking just 204th nationally, the efficiency of their 3-point gunners opens up the rest of their offense.

Cincinnati’s biggest defensive issue stems from the perimeter. The Bearcats are allowing a 38.7% 3-point scoring rate, which is 14th-highest in the nation. Cincinnati is also yielding a 35.1% shooting percentage from 3, which is below average as well. If the Hawkeyes play their game, they’ll be able to make the Bearcats pay from beyond the arc.

However, Bearcats wing Jarron Cumberland (18.8 ppg) may have something to say about that. Cumberland is not only Cincinnati’s top scorer, but he’ll also likely be matched up against Wieskamp, who is Iowa’s best perimeter shooter (42.2% 3P). Expect Cumberland to hold Wieskamp in check.

Moreover, the Hawkeyes thrive off of getting to the free-throw line, generating the 10th-highest scoring rate in that department (42.3%). The Bearcats’ half-court defense is extremely sound at staying out of foul trouble, however, and they possess the tools to slow the Hawkeyes’ pace.

Bearcats Dominate the Glass


Cincinnati owns the fourth-highest offensive rebounding rate in the nation (37.4%), while Iowa is a below-average defensive rebounding team (29.0%). This will allow Cincy coach Mick Cronin’s squad to nab countless second-chance opportunities via the likes of Tre Scott (6.9 rpg) and Nysier Brooks (6.4 rpg).

The Bearcats boast the nation’s 16th-lowest Adjusted Tempo (63.2 possessions per 40 minutes, per KenPom), which isn’t a favorable pace for Iowa.

On top of that, Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey’s unit has been susceptible inside the arc, allowing the 105th-highest 2-point scoring rate in the country (51.0%).

Cumberland & Co. should have their way on the dribble drive and against Tyler Cook and Luka Garza down low.

Eli’s Pick: Cincinnati -3.5 (up to -4)

Our Projected Odds: Iowa vs. Cincinnati

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Cincinnati -1.5
  • Over/Under: 142.5
  • Score: Iowa 70.5 | Cincinnati 72
  • Win Probability: Iowa 46.9% | Cincinnati 53.1%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.