College Football Picks For Taxslayer Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee

Jeff Grant

Monday, December 29, 2014 2:14 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 2:14 PM GMT

Iowa has gained plenty of postseason experience in recent years, which provides it betting value in the opening 30 minutes against Tennessee in the Taxslayer Bowl Friday.

Commonplace 
Iowa has been bowl eligible in 13 of its last 14 seasons under head coach Kirk Ferentz, which is important to consider when making your NCAA football picks, as it has put together a 6-5 SU record in postseason play since he arrived on campus.

Since the start of the 2001 campaign, no Big Ten Conference team has won more bowl games or has a higher winning percentage than Iowa in that situation, with Ohio State (5-6) trailing in that category. Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS when playing with two weeks or more of rest, while no edge is found in terms of the betting total (3-3 Over/Under).

 

A Big Step
Tennessee is certainly happy to travel to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL, as it snaps a three-year drought of being left out of postseason action, but the school does own a 25-24 SU all-time record in bowl games.

The Volunteers have faced the toughest schedule in the nation over the last two years under head coach Butch Jones, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA football lines, as they led the country in playing 23 true freshmen in 2014. It’s important to point out that the school was 5-1 SU and 3-3 ATS as favorites this season, with the UNDER going 3-2-1 in that situation.

 

Starting Fast
The Hawkeyes are 11-12 SU all-time against Southeastern Conference opponents, including a 4-3 mark in bowl games, but they’ve got a tremendous opportunity of jumping on their counterparts in this high-profile matchup.

Iowa has outscored foes by a 78-31 combined margin in the first quarter over its final seven games, while quarterback Jake Rudock threw just five interceptions—the fewest among 11 conference signal-callers with at least 250 passing attempts.

 

Pedestrian Attack
The Volunteers averaged 35.0 points over their last four games, but the offensive attack is still pedestrian at best, as it averaged just 6.4 yards per passing attempt for the entire year.

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions, while freshman running back Jalen Hurd led the ground attack with 777 yards.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Hawkeyes in the first half as one of their main football picks, as they’ve covered the number in five of their last six bowl games.

 

Free College Football pick:  Iowa Hawkeyes First Half 

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