Penn State vs. Iowa Betting Preview: Trends, Odds, & Pick

Penn State Iowa Betting Prediction

Getty KJ Hamler #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 5, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania.

The Iowa Hawkeyes are looking to redeem themselves after scoring just three points and rushing for only a single yard in their 10-3 loss at the Michigan Wolverines, but even being back at home won’t make getting back on track easy with one of the best teams in college football coming to town.

Will No. 17 Iowa be the first to smudge No. 10 Penn State’s perfect record in 2019? Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.

When and Where: Penn State at Iowa

    • Location: Kinnick Stadium (Iowa City, Iowa)
    • Date: 10/12/19 (Saturday)
    • Time: 7:30 pm EST
    • Coverage: ABC

Follow the Heavy on Betting for all the latest betting news, odds, and picks

Matchup Preview

Penn State Outlook

What exactly can you say that hasn’t already been said about the Nittany Lions? They haven’t lost through five games with Big Ten wins at Maryland and, most recently, at home against Purdue. They also haven’t given up more than 13 points all season at a rate of just 9.4 points allowed per contest, while averaging a mind-boggling 47.0 points in each one. Penn State also houses both the fifth-best scoring offense and the second-best scoring defense.

You would think deducting the three nonconference games would change the figures some, but scoring 94 points and allowing just seven against their two league opponents only strengthens the odds in favor of Penn State. Without a doubt, James Franklin’s team has been humming right along since ending last season with a 27-24 loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl.

Though none of the Nittany Lions’ players are putting up Heisman-worthy statistics, Sean Clifford has been an admirable successor to Trace McSorley. He has passed for 1,443 yards and 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 182.8. He is the seventh-most efficient passer in the FBS and is also one of three with 200 or more rushing yards alongside Journey Brown and Noah Cain. Meanwhile, Devyn Ford (198) is knocking at the door to join the club.

Iowa Outlook 

The road hasn’t been nearly as cheery for the Hawkeyes despite being 4-1 and still in the race to win the Big Ten West. They escaped with a narrow 18-17 win at Iowa State before falling silent last week against the Wolverines. Then again, both of those games were on the road and each came with circumstances that upped the stakes some.

Now? The stakes have never been higher with Iowa needing — yes, needing — a victory at home over a ranked league opponent. Softer matchups later in the season against the likes of Purdue, Northwestern and Illinois should get them to the coveted six-win mark for bowl eligibility, but contending for the Big Ten title demands a strong showing against one of the best the conference has to offer.

To do so, Iowa must reignite and stabilize its offense after three wildly inconsistent weeks. After manufacturing a late-game comeback to knock off the Cyclones, the Hawkeyes routed Middle Tennessee State at home for a 48-3 victory behind 644 yards of total offense. Then came their dud at Michigan Stadium, where they racked up a season-low 261 yards.

Betting Odds & Trends

  • Penn State (-4.5) at Iowa
  • Over/Under: 44.5

*All odds are courtesy of OddsShark

Penn State Trends

  • 3-2 ATS and 5-0 SU this season
  • 6-1 SU in its last 7 road games
  • Total has gone UNDER in its last 6 conference games

Iowa Trends

  • 4-4 ATS and 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
  • 27-6 SU in last 33 games played in the month of October

Head to Head

  • Penn State is 4-1 ATS and 5-0 SU in their last 5 games vs. Iowa
  • Penn State has won 5 straight matchups and holds a 61-21 series margin of victory


Even on the road, Penn State is the safer option to back here, but things get more complicated when looking at the spread. Will the Nittany Lions finally meet a defense that can silence them? Do the Hawkeyes have it in them to revitalize their offense and compete in a shootout if need be? One is more likely than the other, but both could spell trouble for guessing the result beyond winner and loser.

Pick: Penn State will move to 6-0 on the season and cover the spread in the process, allowing the Hawkeyes just enough offense to keep things interesting without getting out of hand.

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