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With that last-second victory in Iowa City last year, Penn State now owns a four-game winning streak in the series with Iowa, going 3-1 against the spread along the way. But might the Hawkeyes have revenge in mind when they take on the Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley?
College football point spread: The Nittany Lions opened as nine-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 36.6-30.4 Nittany Lions (College football picks on every game)
Why the Iowa Hawkeyes can cover the spread
Iowa just reached 6-1 on the season both SU and ATS with a windy 23-0 victory/cover over Maryland last week. The Hawkeyes broke the ice with a field goal late in the first quarter, led 13-0 at the half and cruise-controlled from there, on their way toward the win and the cash as 9.5-point favorites.
On the day Iowa out-gained the Terrapins 310-115, out-rushed Maryland 224-68, held a 22-7 advantage in first downs, dominated time of possession by a 41/19 split and won the turnover battle 2-0.
Two weeks ago the Hawkeyes won at Indiana 42-16, covering as three-point favorites, and just before that they won at Minnesota 48-31, covering as seven-point favorites. Iowa has also out-gained and out-rushed every opponent this season except Wisconsin.
Why the Penn State Nittany Lions can cover the spread
Penn State just snapped a two-game losing skid with a 33-28 win at a game Indiana last week. The Lions took advantage of a long return on the opening kickoff to take an early 7-0 lead, then fell down to the Hoosiers 14-7. And they fell down again 21-20 late in the third quarter. But Penn State got another long kickoff return to set up one touchdown, then took advantage of an Indiana fumble off a punt to score another touchdown and held on from there.
On the afternoon, the Lions produced 417 yards of offense, as quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 220 and ran for 107. And most importantly, they won the turnover battle 3-2, basically resulting in a plus-13 point differential.
Penn State lost its previous two games, but those came against two pretty good teams in Ohio State and Michigan State. And the Lions led both those games in the final three minutes.
Smart betting pick
Penn State won this matchup last year 21-19 on a touchdown on the final play of the game, but the Hawkeyes covered as 13-point dogs. Now, the Lions aren’t quite the same team they were that day, while Iowa is improved. So while revenge is an often-overrated factor when it comes to handicapping sporting events smart money here still hangs with the Hawkeyes.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in four of Iowa’s last five games on the road vs Penn State.
Iowa is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games on the road vs teams with winning records.
Iowa is 8-1 SU and ATS in its last nine games.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.