Nebraska vs Iowa Betting Odds, Prediction: Our Top Pick for Heroes Game
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras.
Nebraska vs Iowa Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Iowa looks to win its second straight Big Ten West title and its eighth straight game over rival Nebraska when it hosts the Cornhuskers on Saturday.
Iowa gutted out a 13-10 win in Minneapolis last week, aided by some key turnovers in the fourth quarter. The path is now very simple for Iowa:
- Win, and head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.
- Lose, and hope for a lot of help.
Iowa has one of the best defenses in the country, but the offense is going to have to be effective against one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten for the Hawkeyes to win.
This season could not have gone worse for Nebraska, as it's sitting at 3-8. It gave Wisconsin quite the scare last weekend, but the Badgers hit a late field goal to win, 15-14.
It's been a long time since Nebraska has beaten Iowa, and it has just three wins over its Heroes Game rival since joining the Big Ten.
Nebraska's offense has been below average this season, ranking 73rd in Success Rate and 64th in EPA/Play.
Casey Thompson returned from injury against Wisconsin, but Nebraska's offense still struggled, as it gained only 3.5 yards per play.
Thompson has played decently for Nebraska this season despite its terrible record. He's averaging 8.6 yards per attempt to go along with a 79.3 PFF passing grade and 20 big-time throws.
The problem with Thompson is that he's been a little loose with the ball because he's already thrown 10 interceptions and has 15 turnover-worthy plays. That won't help when going up against this Iowa defense.
Nebraska has really struggled to run the ball this season. Anthony Grant is averaging just 4.5 yards per carry, while Nebraska ranks 84th in Rushing Success Rate and 80th in EPA/Rush.
Mohamed Ibrahim and Minnesota ran the ball all over Iowa last weekend, so the Cornhuskers are going to have to find success on the ground if they want any chance of winning.
Nebraska's defense is the reason why it's 3-8 this season.
The Cornhuskers are allowing 5.6 yards per play with ranks of 126th in Success Rate and 94th in EPA/Play Allowed.
The front seven has done a poor job of stopping the run. It's allowing 4.5 yards per carry while ranking 126th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 116th in Defensive Line Yards. Running the ball is really the only way Iowa has found success offensively this season, so Nebraska better be prepared to stop the run, or this could get ugly.
The secondary has been just as bad. Nebraska has allowed 7.3 yards per attempt and ranks 105th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 87th in terms of a coverage grade, per PFF.
The Huskers have also been pretty average at generating a pass rush, which a major key against Spencer Petras and this poor Iowa offensive line.
Iowa's offense is one of the worst in the Power Five, but it has shown improvement over the second half of the season.
The Hawkeyes averaged 4.7 yards per play against Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota after averaging under four yards per play in the three games before that.
Even though the offense only put up 13 points against the Gophers, it still averaged 5.4 yards per play
Spencer Petras has been bad this season, but it's not like he has been terrible in every single game. He put up a PFF passing grade above 82 and averaged over 7.2 yards per pass attempt against Rutgers, Michigan and Northwestern. Against Minnesota last weekend, he posted 9.2 yards per attempt and a 74.2 PFF passing grade.
However, the reason Iowa's offense has struggled is not because of Petras. Its biggest Achilles' heel has been the offensive line.
The unit ranks 130th in pass blocking, and Petras has been under pressure on 36.9% of dropbacks, which is the ninth-highest mark in college football among quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks. The good news for Iowa is Nebraska has a very average pass rush.
Iowa's run game has come alive in the past few weeks with the emergence of freshman Kaleb Johnson.
Johnson has averaged 6.0 yards per carry in the last four games and ran for 200 yards against Purdue two weeks ago. He should have no problem running the ball effectively against this poor Nebraska front seven.
Iowa has the best defensive grade in college football at 93.9, per PFF. The Hawkeyes are one of only two teams in college football that are allowing under 4.0 yards per play.
However, Iowa allowed Minnesota to run all over it last week to the tune of 312 yards and 6.2 yards per carry.
But Nebraska's ground attack isn't anywhere close to that of Minnesota's, and Iowa's run defense this season has been outstanding overall. The Hawkeyes are 13th in Defensive Line Yards, second in rushing explosiveness allowed and eighth in EPA/Rush Allowed
It helps when a team has one of the best linebacking duos in the country in Jack Campbell and Seth Benson, who are both in the top 10 for defensive grades among linebackers, per PFF.
Iowa also boasts the best secondary in the country, as the unit allows only 5.3 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks and owns the No. 1 coverage grade in the nation, per PFF.
So, it's going to be a long day for Thompson if the Nebraska rushing attack can't get going.
JACK CAMPBELL WITH A PERFECTLY TIMED INTERCEPTION FOR THE IOWA DEFENSE pic.twitter.com/ZAhxgD4wiC
— SuperHawkeyeFan (@superhawkeyefan) November 20, 2022
Iowa also has one of the best punters in the nation in Tory Taylor, who has downed 28 punts inside the 20-yard line (third most in FBS). Opposing returners are averaging just 3.9 yards per punt return.
Nebraska vs Iowa Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Nebraska and Iowa match up statistically:
Nebraska Offense vs. Iowa Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Iowa Offense vs. Nebraska Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Seconds per Play
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Nebraska vs Iowa Betting Pick
I know the Iowa offense has been really bad this season, but it's shown improvement over the past four weeks. Now, it's going up against a putrid Nebraska defense.
If last weekend against Wisconsin was any indication of how this Nebraska offense is going to play against the best defense in the Big Ten, well… it's going to be a long day for the Cornhuskers.
I have Iowa projected at -13.2, so I think there's a little bit of value on the Hawkeyes at -10.5.
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