Big Ten Week 9 Overview: Defense to Star in Iowa-Penn State Tussle

Monday, October 22, 2018 10:48 AM UTC

Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 10:48 AM UTC

Look "under" and pick the Nittany Lions against the spread when No. 18 Iowa and No. 17 Penn State clash in Week 9 action. College football predictions and lines for the full Big Ten slate here.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" rel="nofollow" title="Game Odds">Big Ten Spotlight: No. 18 Iowa at No. 17 Penn State (-5)</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NCAAF Pick: Nittany Lions &amp; Under</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href="http://;book=Heritage" rel="nofollow" title="Top-Rated Sportsbook">Heritage</a></h2><p style="text-align:center">[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3448275, "sportsbooksIds":[169,19,93,1275,1096], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>Penn State (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) is still reeling from its 1-point loss to Ohio State in Week 5. Following a bye, the Nittany Lions lost 21-17 as 13-point favorites two weeks ago, and barely squeaked past Indiana 33-28 on Saturday. The Hoosiers gained more rushing and passing yards, 12 more first downs, and more time of possession in the loss than Penn State. An “average” Indiana offense ran 100 plays overall. Expect a much better effort at Beaver Stadium.</p><p>Surprisingly, head coach James Franklin’s offense is putting up 42.6 points per game. Last year, buoyed by Saquan Barkley’s rushing attack, it posted only 39.8 entering Week 9. The Lions’ .585 points per play ranks seventh best in the country. This year’s unit is just as dangerous.</p><p>Iowa (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) smothered Maryland 23-0 in its last outing. The Hawkeyes allowed 115 total yards, the fewest ever under head coach Kirk Ferentz in a Big Ten contest. Since the start of last season, the defense is holding opponents 11.2 points per game below what they average for the year.</p><p>For Iowa to stay competitive in Happy Valley it needs scoring opportunities. It’s 5.4 yards per play against FBS competition ranks 67th nationally. Since 2015, Ferentz’s offensive production as a road underdog is abysmal. In five contests, the Hawkeyes post just 11.6 points on 211.8 total yards per contest. This is the team’s first test under these betting conditions in 2018.</p><p>Home favorites are 37-9 SU and 27-18-1 ATS (60.0 percent) in ranked Big Ten matchups since 1994, including winning the last 10 straight. Iowa just doesn’t have the firepower or big-play outlets to keep close to Penn State. Defense will star for both sides, but the Nittany Lions edges clear late. Pick the "under" and Penn State to cover the spread.</p><blockquote data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;📸 &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#PSUvsIU&lt;/a&gt; Through the Lens: &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WeAre&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;October 21, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p></blockquote><h2 style="text-align:center">Around the Big Ten (All Games Saturday Unless Noted)</h2><p><strong><a href="" rel="nofollow" title="Game Odds">No. 20 Wisconsin (-5.5) at Northwestern</a>, noon ET, FOX: </strong>Despite head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s penchant for huge upsets, Northwestern (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) is just 5-15 SU and 6-14 ATS (30 percent) as a home underdog hosting ranked opponents in his tenure. Two of the outright wins, however, have come in three matchups against Wisconsin (5-2 SU, 2-5 ATS). The Wildcats won 33-31 catching 7 points in 2009 and 20-14 spotted 8 points in 2014.</p><p><strong><a href="" rel="nofollow" title="Game Odds">Purdue at Michigan State (-2)</a>, noon ET, on ESPN: </strong>The last 53 teams to upset Ohio State outright as betting underdogs are 32-21 SU and ATS (60.4 percent) next time out. Purdue (4-3 SU, 5-2 ATS) stunned the Buckeyes 49-20 as a 12-point pup on Saturday. Don’t expect a letdown from Michigan State (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) following their 21-7 loss against state rivals Michigan. Head coach Mark Dantonio is 9-2 SU and 7-4 ATS in his next effort, covering a -3.2 average line by 4.3 points per game.</p><p><strong><a href="" rel="nofollow" title="Game Odds">Illinois at Maryland (-17)</a>, 3:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: </strong>Illinois (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) is 2-21 SU, 8-15 ATS, and averaging 14.6 points per game as the betting underdog behind former NFL coach Lovie Smith. Maryland (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS), meanwhile, posts 32.7 points per game all-time as the betting favorite in Big Ten clashes, including 42 (Minnesota) and 34 (Rutgers) in two matchups this season.</p><p><strong>Indiana at Minnesota, Friday, 8 p.m. ET, on FS1: </strong>The line is off the board as of publication as oddsmakers await the playing status of Minnesota (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) QB Zack Annexstad. The rookie was taken to the hospital with an internal midsection injury at halftime in the Gophers’ 53-28 loss at Nebraska on Saturday.</p>
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