The hook on the filed goal could be worth taking with the home underdogs in an in-state rivalry when the Iowa Hawkeyes visit the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames on Saturday.
The home underdog getting a touch more than a field goal could be worth taking in an in-state rivalry Saturday when the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0, 1-0 ATS) out of the Big Ten pay a visit to the Iowa State Cyclones (1-0, 1-0 ATS) out of the Big 12 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA at 4:45 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX.
The point spread at Bet365 has Iowa State as a home underdog for this contest with the current line at +3½ with odds of -110.
Both Teams Beat FCS Schools at Home
Both of these teams won and covered their point spreads at home in their respective season openers last week, although not much should be read into that considering they both beat outclassed FCS opponents. Iowa had a very balanced attack while taking care of business 31-14 over Illinois State as a 10½-point favorite, amassing 221 passing yards and 210 rushing yards. Meanwhile the defense allowed just 1.3 yards per rush, although it did allow 7.3 yards per pass.
The Cyclones were not nearly as balanced while being the winning college football picks 31-7 over Northern Iowa as 10-point favorites. The passing game appeared to be in midseason form with 233 yards as Sam Richardson completed 21-of-29 passes while also adding two touchdown passes and averaging 8.0 yards per attempt without throwing an interception. However the ground game was disappointing with just 77 rushing yards on 2.4 yards per carry.
Richardson Led Upset in Iowa City in 2014
Granted, Iowa State has won a grand total of five games the last two years including just two last season, but one of those two wins in 2014 came in this rivalry game on the road in Iowa City 20-17 as a 13½-point underdog, marking the third time in the last four years that the Cyclones have upset the Hawkeyes! That could be the only reason Coach Paul Rhoads still has a job in Ames, and this could be a huge game in regards to his job security.
That is because some boosters are calling for Rhoads’s head and they just may get it if ISU loses here as the upcoming season in the Big 12 promises to be another struggle. But the good news is that Iowa did allow some big passing plays to an FCS school last week and Richardson did play well without the support of a running game (82 yards, 3.2 YPC) in the upset at Iowa City last year completing 25-of-36 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns with no picks.
Iowa finished the regular season at 7-5 last season before losing 45-28 to Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl. On the surface, that looked like a pretty good season, right? Well, not when you consider that their six wins vs. FBS schools all came over teams with losing records, and in their seventh win they had to hold off Northern Iowa of the FCS 31-23. That schedule also brings to question the Hawkeyes’ national 22nd ranking in total defense at 344.2 yards allowed per game.
Yes, Iowa passed its first test convincingly, outgaining its FCS opponent from Illinois State 431-231 last week. But again, the Hawkeyes were vulnerable at times to the pass and even a one-dimensional passing Iowa State attack could again have success if Richardson can repeat his performances for the Cyclones both from last week and from last year’s meeting vs. Iowa.
Also passing the test for the Hawkeyes was new quarterback C.J. Beathard, who completed 15-of-24 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown. But again, that was at home vs. an FCS school and the junior is now making his first career start both on the road and vs. an FBS opponent.
Throw Out the Records?
Besides, it has been said that you can throw out the records whenever these two rival collide, as with Iowa State pulling those outright upsets three of the last four years, the underdogs are now 8-3 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head meetings overall.
Whether or not the recent outright upset trend for Iowa State will continue could be debatable, but we think the hook attached to the field goal can turn out to be huge here, so we recommend taking the points with Iowa State at home hosting Iowa on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Iowa State +3½ (-110)