Big Ten Football Betting Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes at (12) Penn State Nittany Lions

Not quite the season CJ Beathard was hoping for.
Not quite the season CJ Beathard was hoping for.

Iowa at Penn State
Time: 6:30 PM (CT), Big Ten Network
Spread PSU -6.5
Total: 53.5

Betting odds c/o 5 dimes

The 5-3 Iowa Hawkeyes are coming off a tough 17-9 loss last week to then-No. 10 Wisconsin. Prior to that it had knocked off both Minnesota and Purdue and is hoping to rebound this week against Penn State. The Nittany Lions host the game as 6.5 point favorites over Iowa, with an over/under set at 53.5 points for the game which will air at 6:30 pm (Central) on the Big Ten Network.

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Iowa has a 3-2 conference mark, and has been reasonably decent, but the team has lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern in addition to last week’s loss. It has rendered the talents of one CJ Beathard less noticed than perhaps he hoped. Beathard has 1,380 passing yards, but has just a 58.7 percent completion rate and he averages just 6.87 yards per attempt. Even so, his 11 TDs and four interceptions still account for a solid passer rating of 130.5. Beathard has also benefitted from a strong backfield featuring the tandem of Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr.

Wadley has rushed for 636 yards, and Daniels 624, and the pair has combined for 14 of Iowa’s 17 rushing TDs. Wadley averages 7.1 yards per carry and has a 75-yard TD run this season. The Hawkeyes average 4.6 yards per carry and are good for 167.9 yards per game, ranking No. 71 in the nation. The team averages just 28.1 points per contest, but its defense has been very good in allowing just 18.9 points per game and ranking tied for No. 16 in the country.

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It is just that the pass game was expected to be a lot better for the Hawkeyes, and Beathard is only partially to blame. The OL has been decent, but overall the system just has not clicked as Iowa hoped it would for their talented QB.

Penn State is 6-2 with a 4-1 mark in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions have won four straight sine its Week 4 loss to Michigan, with victories over Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio State (!) and Purdue. The Ohio State victory more or less made the season, but the No. 12 ranked Nittany Lions are hoping for a premium bowl selection after a suprirsingly good season thus far. This also represents their biggest challenge remaining on the schedule, closing the season out against Indiana, Rutgers and MSU—all of which should be games PSU is favored in.

The Nittany Lions have been a well-rounded and balanced football team. It has just a 5.9 point margin of victory this season, but other than the 49-10 loss to Michigan it has won or been in every game. That bodes well against Iowa, and it can be expected that Penn State’s defense gives it a good chance to win this game. They held Ohio State to just 21 points, so shutting down Iowa who has struggled could be easy game for the Nittany Lions.

The 6.5 point spread is pretty spot on, but PSU could easily cover it if they can get running back Saquon Barkley adequate touches. He is averaging 6.0 yards per carry this season with 888 yards and 10 TDs. QB Trace McSorley has been good, too, with 1,818 yards and 12 TDs with just three interceptions. Penn State should be able to take care of business this week and possibly improve on its No. 12 ranking.

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