Nevada vs. Iowa Odds, Picks: Will This Week 3 Matchup Really Go Under This Low Total?

Nevada vs. Iowa Odds, Picks: Will This Week 3 Matchup Really Go Under This Low Total? article feature image

Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Iowa Hawkeyes.

  • Iowa hosts Nevada in an affair that currently has a total under 40 points.
  • In the two games the Hawkeyes have played this season, the combined points scored (27) don't even come close to the current number.
  • Cody Goggin breaks it all down and provides his view on the total.

Nevada vs. Iowa Odds

Saturday, Sept. 17
7:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Nevada Odds
-110o / -110u
Iowa Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The national narrative about this game will be around Iowa’s offense, but the Hawkeye defense deserves more shine.

Iowa will attempt to get its offense moving this week against the worst defense that it has faced thus far. The Hawkeyes shouldn’t be too concerned about an upset if their defense is can hold up like it has so far in 2022.

Nevada Wolf Pack

Wolf Pack Offense

Nevada is expected to have a rough season, and it has not gotten off to a great start. Through three games, Nevada ranks 87th in the country in Offensive Success Rate despite playing Texas State, New Mexico State and Incarnate Word. 

New Mexico State is among the worst teams in FBS, and its defense ranks 120th in Success Rate and 122nd in SP+. Texas State is rated as the No. 124 defense in FBS by SP+, while Incarnate Word’s defense came in at No. 81 in FCS prior to playing Nevada last week.

Even against possibly the easiest start to a schedule in history, Nevada’s offense has still been pretty bad.

Wolf Pack Defense

The Nevada defense has fared slightly better this season. It ranks 64th in Defensive Success Rate this season, including 38th against the run.

As much as we talked down on the defenses that the Wolf Pack have faced this season, the opposing offenses have been slightly better. Incarnate Word has one of the best offenses in FCS, ranking third by SP+ before scoring 55 on Nevada last week. Texas State ranks 114th, per SP+, but NMSU is the worst FBS offense at 131st.

Nevada performed well against both Texas State and New Mexico State, allowing 14 and 12 points, respectively. Incarnate Word's passing attack carved up the Nevada defense, however, scoring 55 points and putting up an outstanding 0.98 EPA/dropback, which ranks in the 99th percentile.

The good news for the Wolf Pack is that Spencer Petras is not going to throw for 406 yards this weekend like Lindsey Scott Jr. did.

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Iowa Hawkeyes

Hawkeyes Offense

It can only go up from here, right? …. Right?

The Iowa offense has had one of the most abhorrent starts to a season for an offense that I have ever seen. It ranks 124th in Offensive Success Rate, and somehow that undersells how bad it's been.

Iowa has scored 10 points on offense this season, with its only touchdown coming after a blocked punt so it had to drive just 16 yards to score.

Against South Dakota State, Iowa’s offense posted a 24% Success Rate (1st percentile) and -0.52 EPA/play (0th percentile). It was a similar story against Iowa State with a 29% Success Rate (5th percentile) and -0.74 EPA/play (0th percentile again).

Its rushing attack is better than its passing attack but only barely. The Hawkeyes rank 115th in Rushing Success Rate and 123rd in Passing Success Rate.

The one beacon of hope this week for them is the step down in competition. South Dakota State has a solid defense for an FCS team, ranking 22nd in SP+ at that level. Iowa State’s defense isn’t terrible either, as it ranked 38th in SP+ prior to last weekend’s matchup with Iowa.

With Nevada being the worst defense the Hawkeyes have faced thus far, Iowa has a chance to break double-digit points (or maybe more). However, I would still not expect Petras and the Hawkeyes to light up the scoreboard.

Hawkeyes Defense

The story in Iowa City so far this season has been about how historically putrid this offense has been. Overlooked, though, has been this Hawkeyes defense, which is looking like it could be one of the best in the country.

Iowa State and South Dakota State both have competent offenses. Iowa State checks in as the 43rd-best offense in the country, per SP+, prior to last weekend’s game, and SDSU’s unit was projected 11th in the preseason at the FCS level.

Both of these teams have offenses that are likely far stronger than what Nevada is bringing to the table in Week 3, and they combined for 13 points against the Hawkeyes. 

Iowa ranks 21st in the country in Defensive Success Rate and should easily finish the season in the top 10. 

Nevada vs. Iowa Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Nevada and Iowa match up statistically:

Nevada Offense vs. Iowa Defense
Rush Success35125
Line Yards5927
Pass Success8912
Pass Blocking**11226
Finishing Drives795
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Iowa Offense vs. Nevada Defense
Rush Success12874
Line Yards121116
Pass Success129101
Pass Blocking**127119
Finishing Drives13082
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling984
PFF Coverage2317
SP+ Special Teams762
Seconds per Play25.1 (46)27.6 (94)
Rush Rate61.6% (22)54.0% (59)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Nevada vs. Iowa Betting Pick

I have complete faith in this Iowa defense and believe there's a strong chance of a shutout in this matchup. Nevada’s offense will likely be completely neutralized by the Hawkeyes and keep this a low-scoring affair.

I don’t have as much faith in the Iowa offense, just like everyone else. As much as I think this will be the best game Iowa has had on this side of the ball all season, I’m still not sure what the upside could be. Without the help of defensive and special teams scores — which are 100% possible — I don’t see a world in which Iowa can threaten 30 points.

It feels like I’m leaning into the narrative around this Iowa team too much, but the total is just far too high for a game that features Iowa’s defense against an opponent that may not score and Iowa’s offense. It’s the low-hanging fruit, but I have to take the under.

Pick:  Under 39.5 (Play to 38.5)

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