Penn State vs. Iowa Odds & Pick: Is More Kinnick Magic in Store for Hawkeyes?
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Zach VanValkenburg
- Penn State is a small favorite on the road over Iowa in the latest betting odds ahead of their clash at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
- The Nittany Lions have rolled in two straight weeks, while the Hawkeyes were held to three points last week at Michigan.
- Is the market underrating Iowa after a down week, or will PSU continue to flex its muscles on defense?
Penn State vs. Iowa Odds
- Odds: Penn State -3.5
- Over/Under: 43.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Odds as of Saturday night and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Iowa has claimed its share of victims at Kinnick Stadium over the last decade, and will get another chance on Saturday night when No. 10 Penn State heads to Iowa City.
The Nittany Lions are 5-0 and have looked dominant in the last two weeks, but haven’t really been tested this season.
Is the betting market overvaluing Penn State in this tough spot?
Our Projection for Penn State vs. Iowa
- Spread: Penn State -0.7
- Total: 49
Stuckey: How I’m Betting This Game
There’s just way too much value here for me to pass up.
Penn State has been absolutely crushing teams of late (but who really?) while Iowa lost just last week on the national stage 10-3 to Michigan in one of the ugliest games of the year. That’s fresh on the minds of bettors and I think contributing to value on Iowa.
Last week’s performance against Michigan was an anomaly in many ways for Kirk Ferentz’s bunch: penalties, turnovers and poor offensive line play.
The first can be cleaned up and I don’t expect any issues in that area again. The second falls partly on the shoulders of fourth-year senior quarterback Nate Stanley. I ultimately trust the seasoned quarterback to bounce back here and take care of the football as he’s done his entire career (60 TD to just 16 INT before last week).
The offensive line was also surprisingly a major issue last week when it allowed Michigan to record eight sacks. Bad play-calling played a role, but so did the return of Alaric Jackson at right tackle. Jackson looked slow and rusty in his first game back after missing four straight. I expect him to be much better this weekend.
After all, Iowa has two elite bookend tackles in Jackson and Tristan Wirfs, two potential future first-rounders. That’s a huge luxury against a ferocious PSU front seven that leads the nation in sacks per game.
Also, chew on this fact about that Michigan loss: On the road in the Big House, Iowa finished with 8 penalties, gave up 8 sacks, rushed for 1 total yard and lost the turnover battle 4-1.
Yet, the Hawkeyes had the ball late with a chance to tie in a game it only lost by one possession. That speaks to this elite Iowa defense, led by star defensive end AJ Epenesa and do-everything safety Geno Stone.
The Iowa defense is also now as healthy as its been all year with a number of former starters back in the fold to add depth, especially in the secondary, which should allow Ferentz to play more of his preferred 4-2-5.
Penn State’s numbers all look impressive, but the Nittany Lions haven’t played anyone of note. They have four home wins over Idaho, a depleted Purdue team, Buffalo and Pitt — and were actually outgained in the latter two. Their one road win came against Maryland, who I clearly had rated incorrectly.
This is a big step up for new starting QB Sean Clifford on the road in primetime against a stingy Iowa top 20 pass defense that has already faced two top 20 opponents on the road and held them to a combined 27 points. I don’t expect a so far underwhelming Penn State running game to get much on the ground against Iowa, so it will be up to Clifford in Kinnick at night.
And Kinnick has certainly taken its share of victims in recent years. Iowa has four top five wins over the past decade at home and has only lost one of its last eight home games against top 10 opponents by more than 3 points.
Penn State could easily win this game with its destructive defense and explosive offense but I have this as a true coin flip, so I didn’t hesitate to hit Iowa at +4 and would do the same at +3 or above.
Bottom line: the field goal-plus is just too valuable in what should be a low-scoring game.
Stuckey’s Pick: Iowa +3 or better