Iowa vs Iowa State Odds, Prediction & Picks | Cy-Hawk Betting Guide
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa vs Iowa State Odds
The battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy takes place in Ames this year, as the Iowa Hawkeyes battle the Iowa State Cyclones.
Iowa started out hot before the offense went back to what we've seen over the past few seasons. It beat Utah State, 24-14, but it was hardly an impressive victory.
The Hawkeyes lost this game to Iowa State last season because of extremely poor offensive play, and that unit can't get going again, Iowa State may make it two in a row.
It's unfortunate, but all of the news with Iowa State is happening off the field. Quarterback Hunter Dekkers, along with a couple of other players, have either been suspended or are awaiting a decision from the NCAA for gambling violations.
The Cyclones won their opening game against Northern Iowa, 30-9, which is a positive. But it's going to be really hard for them to get to a bowl game if they're going to be without their starting quarterback for the duration of the season.
Let's take a look at the odds and find a pick and prediction for Iowa vs. Iowa State in the college football betting preview in Saturday, Sept. 9.
Cade McNamara was perfectly fine in the opener, but he's dealing with a quad injury that he admitted this week is going to keep him limited. He went 17-for-29 for 161 yards and two touchdowns with a PFF passer rating of 74.5 in the win over Utah State.
The level of improvement on the offensive line is the main thing that matters for the Hawkeyes.
Last season, Iowa was very inexperienced, and it fielded one of the worst offensive lines in Kirk Ferentz's tenure as head coach. Iowa finished 126th in PFF pass-blocking grade and 54th in PFF run-blocking grade, despite Iowa typically being among the nation's elite at developing offensive linemen.
McNamara was pressured on 16.1% of his dropbacks against Utah State, which is an improvement for the Iowa offensive line.
Iowa's defense was historically strong last year, as the Hawkeyes finished second in EPA/Play Allowed, third in Finishing Drives and allowed just 4.1 yards per play, which was the best in the nation.
They played a fantastic game against Utah State in the opener, holding the Aggies to just 4.6 yards per play and just 14 points on their five trips inside the 40-yard line.
There was a potential void at linebacker after Jack Campbell and Seth Benson departed, but the Hawkeyes brought in Virginia middle linebacker Nick Jackson — who has compiled over 300 tackles in his career — to help fill that.
The secondary was a huge strength for the Hawkeyes last season, ranking inside the top five in EPA/Pass Allowed, Passing Success Rate Allowed and PFF coverage grade.
The secondary loses two key starters, but Cooper DeJean and Quinn Schulte are back. Plus, five-star recruit Xavier Nwankpa is now a full-time starter and picked off a pass in Week 1, so there really shouldn't be a steep drop-off in this unit.
The Cyclones' final score against Northern Iowa is a bit misleading. Iowa State actually got outgained by the Panthers and had fewer trips inside the 40-yard line than UNI.
The difference was Iowa State capitalized on theirs, and Northern Iowa didn't.
Image via CFBData.
With Dekkers out of the lineup, starting quarterback duties fell to redshirt freshman Rocco Becht. Becht didn't attempt many passes, as Iowa State handed the ball off on 27 of its 45 plays on offense. He finished 10-of-13 for 113 yards and two touchdowns, but it was pretty clear Iowa State didn't want to show anything to Iowa on film.
Iowa State lost Xavier Hutchinson at wide receiver after he caught over 100 balls last season but returned the next three pass-catchers and added Eastern Kentucky transfer Jayden Higgins.
Without Dekkers, this offense is going to be built on running the ball, which is something the Cyclones could not do last season. Iowa State averaged only 3.3 yards per carry as a team while rankong 123rd in Rushing Success Rate and 126th in EPA/Rush.
The Clones do return four offensive linemen, but this is a line that finished 126th in Offensive Line Yards and 108th in Stuff Rate Allowed last season.
Six starters return on the defensive side of the ball, but they lose both of their starting defensive ends, including first-team All-Big 12 performer Will McDonald IV.
Iowa State brings back its two top tacklers and loses only one member of the secondary, so McNamara may have a difficult time throwing the ball against a unit that ranked 11th in coverage grading last year.
Iowa vs Iowa State
Betting Pick & Prediction
The Iowa offense needs to improve even with McNamara limited. Establishing the run is going to be key here because that will free up space in the secondary for McNamara in the passing game.
Iowa State's 21-point victory over UNI in the opener was pretty fraudulent given the facts that it got outgained, ran only 45 offensive plays and had only four drives end up inside Northern Iowa's 40-yard line.
With Dekkers out, this offense is extremely limited. After starting one game against an FCS opponent, Becht will now face what was a top-five secondary last season.
That means Iowa State is going to have to find success on the ground to move the ball, which it hasn't been able to do consistently as one of the worst teams in the Power 5 in that area.
Therefore, I'll lay the 3.5 with Iowa, which has the better defense and better quarterback.