The Iowa Hawkeyes are just a .500 team over the last three seasons, and below par against the spreads. Will they be any better this season? This handicapper isn't betting on it.
Iowa Hawkeyes 2015 Betting Preview
Iowa is basically a rather mediocre program at the moment; over the last three seasons the Hawkeyes are 19-19 straight-up, 18-20 against the spreads, and below .500 in Big Ten play. And there's little sign they're actually on the improve at the moment. Unfortunately, that all makes Iowa a tough team to bet, either on the take or the fade. We're never quite sure what the Hawkeyes will do, from week to week.
2014 in Review
Iowa began last season by having to gut out victories over Northern Iowa and Ball State, coming nowhere close to covering as favorites of 16 and 19 points. The Hawkeyes then got upset at home by Iowa State. But they pulled a minor upset of their own at Pitt, then won their first two Big Ten games, over Purdue and Indiana, to get to 5-1 overall. Iowa then lost at Maryland, trounced Northwestern, got trounced at Minnesota, then won at Illinois to reach 7-3, but then finished with tough losses at home to Wisconsin and Nebraska, the very two teams they need to start beating to compete in the West Division. The Hawkeyes then laid an egg in a bowl loss to Tennessee.
So the Hawkeyes finished 7-6 overall last season, 4-4 in Big Ten play and 6-7 against the spreads.
Iowa also went 7-5 on the totals, as Hawkeyes games averaged 54 points.
2015 Hawkeyes Personnel
Iowa returns 12 starters this season, one less than last year. Only five starters are back on offense, although three of them play along the offensive line, and they'll have to replace starting quarterback Jake Rudock and RB Mark Weisman, who rumbled for 16 scores last season. But seven starters are back on defense, including two up front and five of the back seven.
The Hawkeyes averaged 400 yards per game on offense last year, and gave up just 344 YPG on defense. They might have a tough time reaching that same figure offensively this year, but they could get even better on defense. Sounds like a good combination for betting some UNDERS.
Iowa opens this season at home against Illinois State, which made it to the FCS championship game last year, and should be wary, considering the Hawkeyes are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against FCS opponents. Iowa then completes non-conference play with a visit to Ames and home games with Pitt and North Texas.
The Big Ten slate consists of home dates with Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Purdue, of which Iowa should win at least three, and road games at Wisconsin, Northwestern, Indiana and Nebraska, of which the Hawkeyes might be lucky to win two. Going 5-3 in conference play might be the best this team can do this season.
Betting the Hawkeyes in 2015
Iowa probably won't be much different than it was last year, when it struggled at times, looked good at times, and yet still came up short in the big games against the Badgers and Cornhuskers. We remember fading the Hawkeyes last season against rival Iowa State, then backing them next time out at Pitt, and that's just the kind of team they are; down one week, up the next.
5Dimes is offering a wins OVER/UNDER of 7.5 on Iowa for this season, but to go OVER that figure they'd have to win every winnable game on the schedule. And our guess is somewhere along the line, probably due to a pedestrian offensive attack, they'll stumble.