Big Ten Betting Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes at Penn St Nittany Lions

Iowa Hawkeyes at Penn St Nittany Lions
Beaver Stadium – University Park, Pennsylvania
Saturday, October 8, 2011, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC, ESPN, ESPN GP
Opening Line: Penn St -1 1/2
Current Line: Penn St -4 1/2
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 45 1/2
Opening Money Line: Penn St -150 / Iowa +130
Current Money Line: Penn St -190 / Iowa +165

Penn St is a 4.5 point favorite at home versus Iowa. The line opened with Penn St favored by 1.5 points.

Both these teams have one loss, but are lucky because they have played some close games that could have gone either way. Iowa is 3-1 under coach Kirk Ferentz with the only loss coming at rival Iowa St 44-41 in overtime. Iowa has home wins over Tennessee Tech 34-7, Pittsburgh 31-27, and two weeks ago against Louisiana-Monroe 45-17. Penn St is coached by the legendary Joe Paterno, and is 4-1 with the only loss coming at home to #2 Alabama 27-11. Penn St has home wins over Indiana St 41-7 and Eastern Michigan 34-6, and road wins at Temple 14-10 and last week at Indiana 16-10. Iowa leads the series 12-11 and has won the last 3 games including 24-3 last year in Iowa City.

Two weeks ago Iowa hosted Louisiana-Monroe. Iowa was coming off an emotional come from behind victory over Pittsburgh, and many thought they would be in for a let down against the inferior Warhawks. It didn’t happen as Iowa jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead and cruised to a 45-17 win to easily cover the 17 point college football betting line. Iowa had 453 total yards including 180 rushing yards. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg threw for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns, and ran for another. Running back Marcus Coker ran for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Marvin McNutt had 7 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Warhawks had 352 total yards, including just 59 rushing yards.

Iowa has averaged 421.8 yards a game and 37.8 points a game so far in 4 games. The Hawkeyes are averaging 281.2 yards passing Iowa has 4 turnovers on the season and has allowed 5 sacks. Iowa is 24/53 on third and fourth down conversions, and 17/18 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns.   Defensively, Iowa is allowing 388.8 total yards a game and 23.8 points a game. The Hawkeyes are allowing 132.5 rushing yards a game. Iowa has forced 9 turnovers and 8 sacks. Hawkeye opponents are 34/71 on third and fourth down conversions, and 12/17 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns.

Vanderberg is 81/129 passing with 1,095 yards and 10 touchdowns with a pick. Vanderberg also has 22 carries for 33 yards and 3 touchdown runs. Coker is the leading rusher with 87 carries for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 56 yards. Receiver Marvin McNutt has 25 catches for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns. Keenan Davis has 19 catches, 286 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Kevonte Martin-Manley has 14 catches, 181 yards, and 3 scores. Kicker Mike Meyer is 17/17 on extra points, and 8/10 on field goals with a long of 50 yards. Three Iowa players are out for the season, DB B.J. Lowery (wrist), FB Brad Rogers (heart), and RB Mika’il McCall (ankle). OL Nolan Mac Millan is questionable against Penn St with a hernia.

Last week, Penn St was a 14 point favorite at Indiana. The Hoosiers were playing without their starting quarterback, leading rusher and second best receiver but still almost beat Penn St, losing only 16-10. The teams were tied 3-3 at halftime, but Penn St scored 13 unanswered points to jump ahead 16-3 before Indiana scored a late touchdown with less than 4 minutes to play. Indiana got the ball back with 2 minutes to go but were unable to advance past the Penn St 40 before time ran out. The game was sloppy with 11 combined penalties and 5 turnovers, (3 by Penn St). Penn St had 464 total yards, including 193 rushing yards. Penn St quarterback Matthew McGloin threw for 204 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Nittany Lions held Indiana to 256 yards, including 72 rushing yards.

Penn St has struggled this season on offense. The Nittany Lions are averaging 370 yards and 23.2 points a game. Penn St is averaging 221.8 passing yards and 148.2 rushing yards a game. The Lions have 10 turnovers and have allowed 5 sacks. Penn St is 36/82 on third and fourth down conversions, and 14/19 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns. The defense for Penn St is ranked in the top 10 in most major categories except rushing defense and they are still ranked #23 in that category. Penn St is allowing 250.4 yards and 12 points a game. Penn St is allowing 155.4 passing yards and 95 rushing yards a game. The Lions have forced 8 sacks and 11 turnovers. Penn St opponents are 31/87 on third and fourth down conversions, and 10/10 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.

McGloin and Rob Bolden have split the snaps at quarterback this season, but neither has been spectacular. McGloin has put up better numbers, with 44/76 passing for 625 yards, and 4 touchdowns with no picks. Bolden is 39/85 for 455 yards, a touchdown, and  interceptions. Running back Silas Redd has 91 carries for 432 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 5 catches for 18 yards. Michael Zordich has only 9 carries but he has two touchdown runs. Back-up Brandon Beachum has 21 carries for 81 yards but is questionable with an ankle injury.  Receiver Derek Moye has 26 catches for 443 yards, and 3 scores. Justin Brown has 16 catches for 183 yards. Penn St has used 3 kickers this year and the three are 12/13 on extra points and 6/12 on field goals with a long of 43 yards.

Penn St is 0-5 against the spread this year and all 5 have gone under. Iowa is 2-2 ATS this year and 3 of the 4 have gone over the total. Iowa has covered the last 2 in the series against Penn St and both games have gone under the total. Iowa is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 October games, 5-1 in the last 6 as a road underdog, 16-5 ATS in the last 21 as an underdog of between 3.5 and ten points, including 7-2 on the road, 17-7-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 36-17-1 in the last 54 as an underdog, 2-5 in their last 7 on grass, 1-4 in the last 5 following a straight up win, and 0-4 in the last 4 road games. Penn St is 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 October games, 1-4 ATS in the last 5 as a home favorite, and as a home favorite of between 3.5 and 10 points, 0-5 following a game where they failed to cover, 0-4 in the last 4 as a favorite and at home, 0-5 following a straight up win, 0-6 ATS in the last 6 versus teams with winning records, 0-7 in their last 7 overall, and 0-6 in their last 6 on grass.

This is a contrast in styles with the rugged defense of Penn St against the explosive offense of Iowa. Penn St can’t afford to get too far behind as they don’t have the offensive fire power to comeback. I see a similar game to when Penn St hosted Alabama several weeks ago. Penn St held Alabama to 27 points but were never in the game because the inept offense couldn’t move the ball. I like Iowa to not only cover the 4.5 point spread but win straight up. The line has moved 3 points as Penn St opened as a 1.5 point favorite.

Check out our college football odds page for real time line movements on every game. Our college football handicappers are red hot in 2011.


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