It’s safe to say that in college football this year, no team is safe. Well, except for Alabama and Georgia, possibly. Consistently, college football betting underdogs continue to shock the country.
On the docket for the weekend is a top-five matchup between Iowa and Penn State. Let’s take a look at the Penn State vs Iowa college football matchup and go over the betting odds and game prediction.
Penn State vs Iowa College Football Betting Odds and Prediction
No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0) vs No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes (5-0)
Date: Saturday, October 9th, 2021
Time: 4:00 PM ET
Location: Kinnick Stadium — Iowa City, IA
Penn State vs Iowa College Football Betting Odds
Spread: PSU +1.5 (-110) | IOWA -1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: PSU (+105) | IOWA (-125)
Total: 40.5 — Over (-115) | Under (-105)
What to Watch For Penn State Football
After a disastrous, pandemic-plagued 2020 season, the Nittany Lions are back as one of the top teams in the Big Ten. James Franklin has done a fantastic job recruiting and effectively used the transfer portal. The Nittany Lions have an impressive resume right now. They have beaten Auburn and Wisconsin, but both were at home. That won’t be the case this weekend, as Kinnick Stadium will be filled to the brim with black and yellow.
Brent Pry, the Penn State defensive coordinator, has put together one of the best defenses in college football. They are led up front by defensive end Arnold Ebiketie, who has three sacks so far this year. The leader of the defense is linebacker Brandon Smith, who has totaled 32 tackles already. Finally Ji’Ayir Brown is the leader of the secondary. The safety already has three interceptions and three passes defended. The Iowa ground game will have to fight for yards, as this defense only allows 111 rushing yards per game. If the Penn State front seven can slow the run and put pressure on Iowa quarterback Scott Petras, they should be in a great position to win.
On offense, quarterback Sean Clifford doesn’t inspire much confidence. However, he’s led the team two five straight wins, so he deserves credit. However, Clifford does have the luxury of throwing passes to one of the best receivers in the country in Jahan Dotson. He already has six touchdowns this season and is an explosive deep threat. To open up Dotson, running backs Noah Cain and Keyvone Lee need to be effective. Clifford is also a running threat, having scored a rushing touchdown this season. If Sean Clifford can avoid turnovers, and the running game has success early, Penn State could be on their way to a win at Kinnick.
What to Watch For Iowa Football
Iowa’s defense has been relentless this year. The Hawkeyes secondary already has 12 interceptions on the year. Their biggest win to date is over their rivals, Iowa State, in Week 2. Defensive backs Riley Moss, Dane Belton and Matt Hankins have seven of the 12 Hawkeye interceptions. Up front, Lukas Van Ness and Joe Evans have combined for seven sacks between them. The x-factor on the defensive end for Iowa is linebacker Jack Campbell. Campbell has already totaled 46 tackles this season. He has also chipped in with a sack and three passes defended. If the Iowa front seven can get pressure on Clifford, and Riley Moss and Co. can slow down Dotson, they’ll be in a great position to stay undefeated.
On the offensive end for Iowa, it’s pretty boring. However, while it is boring, it has also been very successful. Quarterback Scott Petras has thrown seven touchdowns this season to only one interception. Junior running back Tyler Goodson has been on a tear to start the year. He has 430 rushing yards this year, finding the end zone five times. Tight end Sam LaPorta is a guy who can give the Penn State defense fits. He has been dominating battles with linebackers and safeties all year. One thing to note about the Iowa offense is that Scott Petras is not known as a runner, but he does have three rushing touchdowns this year.
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Penn State vs Iowa Prediction | College Football Betting
If this game were played a year ago, I would have said it was a toss-up. However, with fans back attending games, this will be a sold-out crowd at Kinnick on Saturday afternoon. Sean Clifford has played mistake-free for the most part this season, but he hasn’t seen defensive backs like Iowa has. The crowd will play a major factor in this game. It’s going to be very loud in Kinnick, as this is the biggest game they’ve hosted in a while. I like Iowa to pick off Clifford twice and shut down Dotson, for the most part. However, the Nittany Lions defense will have its way with the Iowa offense.
This will be a low-scoring game, and I think Iowa comes out on top.
Penn State vs Iowa Prediction: Iowa 20, Penn State 17 (Iowa -1.5, Under 40.5)
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