Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State Betting Odds & Pick: Will Matt Campbell and the Cyclones Cover on the Road? (Oct. 24)
David K Purdy/Getty Images. pictured: Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy.
Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State Odds
|Oklahoma State Odds||-3 [ADD TO APP]|
|Iowa State Odds||+3 [ADD TO APP]|
|Moneyline||-141/+115 [ADD TO APP]|
|Over/Under||52 [ADD TO APP]|
|Time||Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET|
It’s becoming cliché to talk about backing Iowa State’s Matt Campbell as an underdog and fading him as a favorite.
Well, sometimes clichés become clichés for a reason.
Campbell’s Cyclones (3-1), ranked 17th in the latest AP Top 25 poll, are 8-3 ATS as road conference underdogs during his time in Ames, Iowa. Conversely, they are only 7-11-1 ATS as favorites since 2018.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and the sixth-ranked Cowboys (3-0) have been overvalued in this spot ever since the Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon days came to a close.
Since 2013, the Cowboys are 9-12-2 ATS as home conference favorites.
That said, let’s take a look at what’s in store in this showdown.
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Iowa State Cyclones
Quarterback Brock Purdy returns to the place that transformed him from a little-known, freshman third-string into a household name.
Purdy was efficient in that breakout game, going 18-for-23 for 318 yards and four touchdowns (he also racked up 84 yards on the ground) in the Cyclones’ 48-42 upset in Stillwater. There have been a few bumps in the road, but Purdy has been the unquestioned leader since that performance.
A similar effort Saturday will go a long way to propelling the Cyclones (3-0 in conference) to a Big 12 title game berth at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
But for that to happen, then Iowa State’s patented base 3-3-3 defense must come to play. That unique defense (now known in flashier circles as the “Air Raid Killer”) is composed of three down linemen, three linebackers, three safeties and two corners. It stops the spread-option run with big, athletic ends lined up in the B-gaps and puts the two outside linebackers wide with outside zone responsibilities.
The “middle safety” calls out coverage responsibilities, and the middle linebacker comes downhill to support the run. Against the pass, the traditional defensive backs play a Tampa-2 formation, with the middle safety typically having the Tampa-2, middle-linebacker responsibility in coverage. Iowa State likes to send linebackers on exotic blitzes (ranking 14th in FBS with 3.25 sacks per game) and ask its defensive backs to be sure tacklers and limit big plays in space.
Last season, the 3-3-3 was fairly successful against Spencer Sanders and company, albeit in a 34-27 loss. The Cowboys gained 76.6 yards below their season average on the ground, and the Cyclones’ defense held the Cowboys to 2-of-12 on third down.
Unfortunately, the back end didn’t do its part earlier that day, uncharacteristically giving up passing touchdowns of 71 yards and 50 yards in the first 18 minutes of the game. Even so, the defense tightened up late and held Oklahoma State to 14.8 points below its season average, with another touchdown coming on a Purdy pick-six.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Big plays are what Spencer Sanders produced last season for the Cowboys. As a redshirt freshman, Sanders averaged 8.6 yards per pass attempt and was even better (10.38 yards per pass attempt) against the vaunted Iowa State defense specifically designed to stop him.
Sanders was even starting to receive Heisman buzz this offseason. Unfortunately, it took less than one quarter for the buzz to end, as Sanders sustained a high-ankle sprain in the team’s second drive of the season.
Sanders will be back this week, but how much will he be hampered by the lingering effects of the injury? There is no substitute for youth when it comes to healing, but just over four weeks is not a long time for that type of injury.
Gundy has intimated that Sanders could split time with 6-foot-5-inch pro-style quarterback Shane Illingworth. The freshman has had success thus far, but much of it came in a 47-7 victory against an overmatched Kansas squad.
I’m not sure Sanders (at less than 100%), nor Illingworth, will be able to keep the focus off running back Chuba Hubbard, which could be an issue. Hubbard made more noise this offseason than he’s made on the field in 2020. The big-time NFL prospect is averaging 1.2 fewer yards per carry than his 2019 season average and has yet to be a factor in the passing game.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys defense is certainly putting up some gaudy numbers. It ranks fourth in FBS is yards per game allowed (274.7), second in yards per play allowed (3.9) and fourth in sacks per game (4.0).
Dig a little deeper, however, and we see these stats might just be a tad bit inflated (along with the game line itself). These numbers were put up against the two worst offenses in the conference (Kansas and West Virginia), as well as a Tulsa team from the AAC not known as an offensive juggernaut (95th in FBS in yards per play last season).
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Betting Analysis & Pick
My power ratings show Iowa State to be slightly the better side. Sanders might not be fully healthy, and the 3-3-3 could confuse Illingworth into mistakes. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy also has help in the form of running back Breece Hall (132.8 rushing yards per game), and the talented Cyclones secondary has gained a year of experience. As a result, the sum of those circumstances form a trend that points toward Iowa State.
This is Campbell’s week to prove himself as the guy that “sharps” believe him to be. But, in case the Cyclones come up a little short, give me the three points and the hook with Iowa State.
If you’re so inclined, PointsBet currently has the best Iowa State moneyline price at +140 odds.
Pick: Iowa State +3.5 (play down to +3)