NCAAF Free Pick: Hawkeyes Grab the Cash When Penn State Visits Iowa

Willie Bee

Thursday, September 21, 2017 1:33 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017 1:33 PM UTC

Favored by nearly two touchdowns on the college football odds board, Penn State looks to avoid a stumble in its Big Ten Conference opener against unbeaten Iowa.

Having taken care of business in non-conference play, the Penn State Nittany Lions dive into Big Ten action with a road trip to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. The battle between a pair of 3-0 sides is set for a 7:30 PM (ET) boot at Kinnick Stadium, ABC providing the pictures and BetOnline selling PSU at -12½, the spread down a point since it was first sent out. Scoreboard punters have 52-52½ point options for their wagers.

The Nittany Lions climbed to No. 4 in the latest AP and coaches polls, putting them at least four rungs higher than any other Big Ten team. The last two times Penn State faced Iowa as a top 5 squad, the Hawkeyes won both games outright (2008, 2009), and they’re 4-0-1 ATS (3-2 straight up) the last five times a top 5 crew has visited Iowa City.


Lions A Perfect 3-0 ATS

James Franklin has to be pleased with what he has seen so far, his Nittany Lions dominating Akron and Georgia State, as expected, and leading Pitt all the way for a 33-14 decision that just got past the 19½ point line. Now comes the conference part of the fixture, the next three weeks finding road trips to Iowa and Northwestern with a home date vs. Indiana between. Franklin has to keep PSU focused on these three games before a bye week that precedes big contests with Michigan and Ohio State. There’s good news on the injury front with defensive end Torrence Brown  and right guard Brendan Mahon both probable after getting banged up last week.

Iowa might be off to a 3-0 start, but it hasn’t come easy for Kirk Ferentz and Co. The Hawkeyes needed overtime to take down rival Iowa State a couple of weeks ago, and they trailed North Texas at halftime last Saturday before finally wearing the Mean Green down in the second half for a 31-14 triumph that fell short of the -19½ spread given them by NCAA football oddsmakers. Senior tailback Akrum Wadley is probable with a knee injury, but his backup James Butler is out for at least a couple of weeks with a bum elblow.


Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

This is the 27th meeting in the rivalry, the last 17 of those matchups coming since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1993. Penn State leads the series 14-12, running away with last year’s clash in Happy Valley by a 41-14 count to easily cover a 6½ point spread. It was the third consecutive win for the Nittany Lions, and third time in the last four collisions the home team covered. Two of the last three in Iowa City skipped past the totals.

It should be warm and muggy for the kickoff, the thermometer still in the low-to-mid 80s with a light southerly breeze that could give boots heading towards the north end zone a little extra push. I’m putting faith in Kinnick karma with a free college football pick on the Hawkeyes.

Free College Football Pick: Iowa +12½ (-105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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