Can Iowa cover the spread? Read on to see what the college football odds have in store for their matchup.
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Saturday, October 16, 2021 – 03:30 PM EDT at Kinnick Stadium
Iowa has been one of the best teams in college football despite some close calls. They remain undefeated, which is more than some top teams can say. They control the Big Ten, and they have a genuine shot of making the College Football Playoff.
While Iowa has a great resume right now, they have tough tests ahead. That means that they can’t risk losing against a team they should easily beat. Keep that in mind as the Iowa Hawkeyes prepare to face the Purdue Boilermakers.
Purdue is 3-2 on the year, but they are still a relatively solid team. They execute well in certain situations and have respectable losses. However, there is no doubt that Iowa is the superior team. This is Iowa’s shot to show how dominant they can truly be, and they can prove that by covering the spread.
NCAAF odds favor Iowa by 11.5 points at home, but can they cover a double-digit spread? Here are keys for each team to cover and a prediction.
Keys for Iowa to Cover the Spread
Iowa may be ranked highly, but they are still very flawed. If Penn State’s quarterback wouldn’t have gotten hurt, the Hawkeyes would have likely lost their last game. Their defense is relatively solid, but their stats are skewed from a couple of outlier games.
While having balance on offense is good, Iowa needs to have one facet of their game explode. It can be either the run or the pass, but they need to dominate in some fashion. They lack explosion on offense, and that lowers your margin for error in every game. This is a key for a successful season, but it also applies to this individual game.
Iowa needs to get pressure with their defensive line as well. Purdue loves to pass the ball, so Iowa should be able to drop back in coverage while still winning the line of scrimmage. Committing more players to the pass rush puts strain on the secondary, and this is not a recipe for success.
Iowa has a solid secondary, but having more players in coverage is what they need to do to force turnovers. Execution should be a strength of Iowa’s, but that has to remain the case against Purdue.
Keys for Purdue to Cover the Spread
Purdue is playing on the road, and Iowa can have a loud crowd. First and foremost, the Boilermakers need to avoid the mental errors that come with road games. They also can’t afford to lose the turnover battle. Iowa is great at forcing turnovers, and Purdue has a negative turnover differential. Even if Purdue has to take fewer risks, they need to avoid turnovers at all costs.
Winning the game will come down to their offense. They need to sustain long drives that wear down the Hawkeyes and end with touchdowns. They can’t settle for field goals the few times they get in scoring range, so they should take risks on fourth downs and try to end up in the end zone as opposed to settling for three points.
However, covering the spread comes down to the defense. Purdue will struggle to get points on the board, so keeping this one low-scoring would go a long way in helping their NCAAF odds. This will be a challenge, but you have to do something right if you want to cover the spread against a fundamentally sound team with a smothering defense.
Time for a Pick
Iowa will be worn out after last week’s game, but they are a resilient team. It will be interesting to see how they respond to Purdue’s passing attack.
All things considered, Iowa is an overrated team. They are not the second-best team in the country, and this line proves that. Purdue is a high-variance team, but they have what it takes to pull off the upset if everything goes right.
That likely won’t happen, but it is still likely that Iowa’s offense sputters for long enough that they fail to cover the spread. They can pull away with a win, but they won’t cover unless their offense stays on track. Since I’m concerned about that, I’ll take the Boilermakers for my NCAAF pick.
NCAAF Pick: Purdue +12 (-115)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.