Penn State Nittany Lions vs Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Preview: CFP Hopes on the Line in Titanic Top-Four Tilt in Iowa City

Matt Wiesenfeld

The biggest game of this week’s college football schedule is in the Big Ten, as Iowa hosts Penn State in a showdown of top-four teams. Both teams are 5-0 and look capable of unseating Ohio State.

Both teams have two wins over teams who were ranked at the time of the matchup. Penn State has wins over Wisconsin and Auburn, while Iowa took down Indiana and Iowa State.

This could certainly be a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game, though Ohio State will have their say in that one as well.

Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0) vs Iowa Hawkeyes (5-0), FOX, 4:00 p.m. ET

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes College Football Betting Odds


  • Penn State Nittany Lions +106
  • Iowa Hawkeyes -130


  • OVER 41.5 (-102)
  • UNDER 41.5 (-120)


  • Penn State Nittany Lions +2.5 (-110)
  • Iowa Hawkeyes -2.5 (-110)

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Iowa Hawkeyes college football betting odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Outlook

If we are comparing resumes Penn State has been a little quieter in building their record compared to Iowa. They are 4-1 ATS with their lone non-cover being against FCS Villanova. Quarterback Sean Clifford has looked comfortable in the offense with speedy receiver Jahan Dotson becoming one of the best playmakers in college football. This Penn State team is talented, and they have been able to make big plays on offense when they are available. Can they manage to do that against Iowa’s stout defense?

Speaking of defense, Penn State does not have the gaudy stats on that side of the ball like Iowa does. When they have faced like competition the defense has been more bend but don’t break. They are third in the nation in points allowed and 13th in takeaways, and that gives them a chance. Some are conceding Iowa as the better defensive team, and they may be. But there is some balance in that equation as Penn State gets to face a light Iowa offense.

Iowa Is Tough to Beat and Doesn’t Beat Themselves

It is kind of refreshing to see a team with such limited offense get so much love. Iowa is winning their games by an average of 22 points per game, and that is in spite of the fact that they are not even averaging 200 yards on the ground or through the air. Quarterback Spencer Petras is the best game manager in college football this season. He has thrown just one interception, and Iowa has been content to be methodical in running an offense that does not have the skill talent we have seen in the past, especially up front where they often have NFL-caliber linemen and tight ends.

The reason it works is because of their defense. The Hawkeyes are second in FBS in points allowed come in and seventh in yards. Best of all they lead the nation with 12 takeaways through five games. I know most say that turnovers are not predictable, but they have been doing this for years. They scheme well, let their defensive backs take chances, and develop them to hold onto the ball. I think that the last part is key. There are so many DBs who just can’t squeeze it when they have the chance.

College Football Betting Trends to Consider for Penn State Nittany Lions vs Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Penn State is 4-0 ATS in their last four games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • The Nittany Lions are 6-0 ATS in their last six conference games.
  • The Nittany Lions are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games overall.
  • Iowa is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
  • The Hawkeyes are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.
  • The Hawkeyes are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Iowa Hawkeyes Best Bet

Iowa -2.5

This definitely looks like a game that should come down to the final possession. Iowa is at home and though it isn’t a night game, Kinnick Stadium is a very tough place to win. Penn State has a talent edge, but they will have to actually beat the Hawkeyes, who don’t beat themselves. The key is whether they can find ways to get Dotson loose. If he is limited, I don’t think they can win a game where it is all about field position and going back and forth without mistakes.

Penn State vs Iowa College Football Score Prediction

Iowa 23, Penn State 16

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