Iowa-Florida Outback Bowl To Feature Few Points And Minor Upset

Iowa Hawkeyes

Thursday, December 15, 2016 4:53 PM GMT

It is always a little weird to have the New Year's Day bowl games on Jan. 2, and it's really odd for those of us who bet college football that we only get four choices on this day instead of six or eight. Here's a look at the Outback Bowl in Tampa between Iowa and Florida. 

This is what some call progress, but with the national semifinals out of the way two days before, we take what we can get. The Outback Bowl college football odds at A+ rated Bookmaker (a SBR readers favorite) have Florida as a two-point favorite over Iowa with total of 40.5. This is the third contest between these since 2004 and oddly enough each has been in this same bowl game (2006 also).

 

Iowa Covers And Possibly Pulls Upset By ...

Staying hot and playing with confidence. After losing home games to North Dakota State, Northwestern and Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes found a running game and their run defense came around seemingly overnight. After averaging 152.5 yards per game rushing, head coach Kirk Ferentz coached up his offensive line and running backs, and they averaged 230 YPG to finish the season on a three-game winning (3-0 ATS on college football picks). With a dearth of wide receivers, this was necessary.

The Iowa defense was on pace to be the worst run-stopping group since Ferentz's first two years in 2000-01, permitting 176.4 YPG. But after being run over by Penn State for 359 yards, Hawkeyes pride showed up and they stuffed the run like the old days at 83 YPG. With Florida's offensive woes, if Iowa wins in the trenches, it wins this game.

 

Florida Wins And Covers By ...

Playing great defense and executing something in the passing to help the run offense. Florida only averaged 129.8 rushing yards a game (113th nationally) at 3.7 yards a carry. In five of their 12 contests, the Gators averaged less than three yards a carry because opposing teams had no belief Florida could beat them throwing and sold out to stop the run. No idea at this time who will be coach Jim McElwain's starting QB between Luke Del Rio (the usual starter when healthy) or Austin Appleby, but whomever it is has to hit some slants and screens to loosen up the Iowa defense.

The Gators defense was ravaged by injuries at linebackers, which was the leading cause for Florida gouged for more than 200 yards rushing in five of last seven contests. With basically a month off, the defense will be rested and with nothing to fear on the surface from Iowa pass offense, Florida's can dictate style of play and cover a short number from SBR's best sportsbooks.

 

Motivation Level 

Iowa should have the edge, feeling great about three straight wins and being slaughtered in its past two bowl games. Florida was whipped by Florida State and Alabama the second straight year to close the season and facing an average Big Ten club is not inspiring for program that considers itself elite. The Gators were eaten up by Michigan 41-7 in last year's Citrus Bowl in the same situation.

 

What To Watch For & Outcome

We could see a lot of the chain gang for measurements, because every first down would seem to be by inches with these offenses and defenses. By the second half, you will know the punter for each team well and start calling him by his first name. Everything points to a low-scoring affair and with Iowa more confident and having the better quarterback to make a few big plays, it will be the Hawkeyes 20-17.

NCAAF Free Picks: Iowa +2 & 'Under' 40.5

Best Lines Offered: BookMaker

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