Penn State vs. Iowa Opening Odds: Hawkeyes Short Home Favorites

Penn State vs. Iowa Opening Odds: Hawkeyes Short Home Favorites article feature image

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Clifford.

Penn State Spread+3 (-110)
Iowa Spread-3 (-110)
Time4 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The co-leaders of the Big Ten East and the leaders of the Big Ten West will face off in a titanic matchup with major title implications this Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.

No. 4 ranked Penn State opened as a 2.5-point underdog for a visit to No. 3 ranked Iowa in Iowa City.

That line later moved to +3.

As of Monday morning, about 81% of the total money is on the Nittany Lions to cover.

The total opened 41.5 at DraftKings and has held firm through Monday.

Penn State opened as a +130 road underdog to win outright against Iowa's -150 line.

It may be too far out in advance, but The Action Network's BetLabs indicates there might be heavy crosswinds up to 15 mph for Saturday's game.

Keep up to date with The Action Network for updates regarding the weather forecast for this game.

Since 2006, college football games that have experienced 13 to 50 mph in winds have finished under the closing point total 56.6% of the time. That means that a $100 bet on every game under those conditions since 2006 would have netted you $10,206 — a return on investment of almost 10%.

Penn State's College Football Playoff Route Doesn't Necessarily Require A Win Here

The Nittany Lions are an undefeated 5-0 this season and are coming off a dominant 24-0 shutout of a good Indiana team. Penn State also won at Wisconsin in the opener and beat Auburn at home last month.

The defense has only given up 12 points per game and ranks in the top 20% of all FBS schools in yards given up per game.

The Nittany Lions are currently tied with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State atop the Big Ten East.

While this game is still an important battleground test for Penn State, it still has games against the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Spartans remaining on the schedule.

The Nittany Lions' road to the Big Ten Championship Game — and, if won, the College Football Playoff — will run through those three teams.

First off is a matchup in Columbus against Ohio State on Oct. 30. Then, Penn State hosts Michigan in Happy Valley on Nov. 13, before heading to Lansing to take on Michigan State on Nov. 27.

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The winner of the Big Ten East is likely to face off against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. Iowa is not scheduled to play either of Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State.

Iowa Almost Guarantees The Big Ten West With A Win Here

The Hawkeyes have one of the stingiest defenses in the country and lead the nation in turnover margin this season with a +12 mark.

They're currently riding an 11-game win streak dating back to last season. Iowa hasn't allowed more than 21 points over that span, with an average this season of just 11 points per game against.

A win here for Iowa could all but solidify a Big Ten West title and a date with Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game.

This game is Iowa's last real test of the season, unless you want to count a visit to unranked Wisconsin as a challenge.

And, of course, a win in the Big Ten Championship Game will all but assure Iowa a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Penn State-Iowa Matchup History

Penn State and Iowa have faced off every year since 2016. In those games, Penn State has gone 4-1, with the only loss coming during the pandemic- shortened 2020 season.

This rivalry's history is incredibly streaky. While Iowa won eight of the nine matchups between 2000 and 2010, Penn State ripped off six straight wins between 2011 and 2019.

Both teams have legitimate title shots for the Big Ten title and College Football Playoff, but as aforementioned, this game is far more important for the Hawkeyes than it is the Nittany Lions.

This matchup is the Big Ten's first regular-season matchup between AP Poll top-five teams that don't involve Michigan or Ohio State since Minnesota and Wisconsin faced off in 1962, according to The Action Network's Brett McMurphy.

Penn State is 1-15 in games against top-five teams in the AP poll since 1999, with the only win over No. 2 Ohio State in 2016.

The Nittany Lions last won a road game against a top-five team in the AP poll in 1994. They've gone 0-11 in those situations since.

Meanwhile, Iowa is 10-22 against teams in the top-10 in the AP poll over the same timeframe. 1999 was also the first year that coach Kirk Ferentz was appointed.

The Hawkeyes last beat a top-10 opponent in 2019, when they beat No. 8-ranked Minnesota at home 23-19.

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