College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Iowa vs. Penn State (Monday, January 31)

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Iowa vs. Penn State (Monday, January 31) article feature image

Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Murray.

  • Iowa is a road favorite over Penn State in Monday college basketball action, with the line moving from -3.5 to -4.5 and even -5 at some sportsbooks throughout the day.
  • Iowa was a 10-point favorite over PSU at home and won by 17, and Keg sees this matchup going a similar direction.
  • Get his full Penn State vs. Iowa preview and pick below.

Iowa vs. Penn State Odds

Monday, Jan. 31
7 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Iowa Odds
-110o / -110u
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

After both teams suffered losses in their last game, Iowa will travel to Penn State to take on Monday night. Iowa lost its last game by 10 to Purdue, while Penn State is returning home after losing three in a row on the road, the last being a 74-57 defeat at Indiana.

Iowa has been impressive most of the season but has had issues when it comes to some of the top teams in the Big Ten and playing on the road. The Hawkeyes have road losses to Iowa State, Wisconsin and two losses to Purdue.

Penn State had to take two weeks off in the end of December due to COVID-19 issues. It returned to action beating Indiana and Northwestern back to back, but since then it's been a struggle for the Nittany Lions. Penn State is just 1-4 since those wins, with one of the losses being on the road to this Iowa team where it lost 68-51.

Both teams find themselves on the outside of the Big Ten top five looking up, with Iowa at 4-5 in conference play while Penn State is 3-6. Can Iowa sweep the Nittany Lions in the series season and avoid falling to .500 in conference play?

The Hawkeyes lead the all time series 33-18 and are 4-2 in the last six games at Penn State dating back to 2012-2013.

Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes offense has been one of the best in not only the Big Ten, but the nation. They rank seventh nationally and second in the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency. Iowa is also the second-highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 82.6 points per game.

Iowa is one of the more experienced teams in the country, but it is led by a trio of  sophomores when it comes to scoring. Keegan Murray paces the team with 22.4 points per game, which is also the highest scoring average by anyone in the Big Ten. Patrick McCaffery, Kris Murray and Jordan Bohannan have been huge for the Hawkeyes as well, as all three average in double digits. Murray also leads the team in rebounds and blocks with 8.4 and 2.1 per game, respectfully.

The biggest advantage for the Hawkeyes, however, is not their scoring, it's been their ability to limit turnovers and their depth. Most teams that move at a pace as fast as Iowa have issues with turnovers. Iowa, however, ranks second in the nation in turnover percentage, giving the ball up on only 12.6% of plays. It also ranks inside the 25 in both block and steal percentage.

Defensively, the Hawkeyes have been solid, allowing teams to post an effective field goal percentage of just 49.7%. They are also a force in the paint, due mainly to Murray who ranks fourth in the Big Ten in blocked shots. As a team Iowa ranks 43rd in the country in block percentage. The Hawkeyes aren't far behind in turnovers overall, as they are 50th, forcing an average of 15 turnovers per game.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions couldn't ask for a worse matchup than the Hawkeyes.

On offense Penn State has been a decent shooting team, hitting three-point opportunities at 33.7% and two-point shots at 50.8%. The Nittany Lions are even the fourth-best team in the Big Ten from the free-throw line, hitting 75.2% of opportunities.

But this is all nullified if they can't get a shot off. The Nittany Lions are one of the worst teams in the country in turnovers. Penn State is turning the ball over on 20.2% of offensive possessions, getting blocked on 9.9% of shots and giving up a steal on 10.2% of possessions. The Nittany Lions rank outside the top 200 in all turnover statistics, and against one of the best teams at forcing turnovers, it will likely get even worse. Penn State had 17 turnovers in the first meeting against Iowa.

Jalen Pickett leads the team, averaging  13.4 points, 4.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Seth Lundy isn't far behind, scoring 13.2 points and grabbing 5.6 rebounds.

On Defense the Nittany Lions are even worse at creating turnovers, ranked outside the top 300 in all areas. However, they are limiting teams to just 65.5 points per game, which I believe is due mainly to how slow of a pace they operate at.

Penn State is one of top-10 slowest teams in the country, currently ranked 348th in adjusted tempo per Kenpom. The Nittany have had some success rebounding and defending around the basket, limiting teams to 46.7% in two-point shots, but they struggle to contest shots from deep, ranked 249th in three-point defense.

Iowa vs. Penn State Betting Pick

Both teams are having issues recently, but Iowa was a 10.5-point favorite at home and beat Penn State by 17. The Nittany Lions have been better at home, but not that much better.

I'm backing Iowa to complete the sweep of Penn State on the road, currently a 3.5-point favorite. I would back the Hawkeyes as high as 6.5

Pick: Iowa -6.5 or better

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