Big Ten Picks: Purdue vs. Iowa 10/16/21
When: Saturday, October 16, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Point Spread: PUR +11.5/IOWA -11.5 (Wagerweb - Make Purdue +31.5 OR Iowa +9.5 by adding either into a MASSIVE 20 point college football teaser there!)
Total: O/U 43
Iowa just barely hung on to its undefeated record last week, as the Hawkeyes needed a lot of luck with Penn State losing Sean Clifford to injury in the second half. Now Iowa’s got a tough ask against an opponent that has been a thorn in their sides for the past four seasons, as Purdue has won three of the past four matchups in this series. The Boilers have been the one team that Iowa hasn’t been able to stop as of late, as Purdue has scored at least 20 points in six straight matchups against the Hawkeyes.
But this Purdue offense has looked a heck of a lot less than impressive over its past three games, as the Boilers have scored just 13 points in each of their past three contests. One was excusable against Notre Dame, but Purdue did the same thing in escaping Illinois and losing to Minnesota. With the Boilers struggling to get the job done against a defense that couldn’t handle the likes of Bowling Green, it’s difficult to see how Purdue can handle the step up in competition that comes with facing the Iowa defense.
How the Public is Betting the Purdue/Iowa Game
The money has come in on Purdue to this point, mainly out of a worry as to how many points Iowa can actually score in this game. The public is backing the Hawkeyes, though, as 67 percent of tickets are on Iowa. However, the line has dropped a point, with Iowa now favored by -11.5 instead of -12.5.
Wide receiver Abdur Rahmaan-Yaseen (undisclosed), running back Sampson James (ineligible), cornerback Cory Trice (ankle), offensive lineman D.J. Washington (toe), tight end Jack Cravaack (knee), wide receiver Mershawn Rice (foot), and running back Zander Horvath (undisclosed) are out. Tight end Payne Durham (concussion) is probable.
Defensive back Riley Moss (knee) and defensive lineman Ethan Hurkett (leg) are out.
When Purdue Has the Ball
Statistically, Purdue dominated Minnesota, piling up nearly 450 yards of offense to just 294 for the Golden Gophers. The Boilers also dominated in the first down battle, notching 28 to Minnesota’s 12. So why did the Boilers get beat? Purdue had just three scoring drives for the game while putting together four drives that either resulted in a turnover or a missed field goal. The Boilers coughed it up twice and turned it over on downs once, wasting a 371-yard performance from Aidan O’Connell.
That’s a big problem going up against Iowa because the Hawkeyes’ most significant strength is that they make their opponents beat themselves. Iowa doesn’t overwhelm its opponents with a huge talent advantage or put teams in a deep hole with a powerful offense: it plays its system and forces teams to try to figure things out on the fly, figuring that sooner or later, the offense will make a mistake.
Purdue has already shown that it’s prone to making several mistakes, so unless the Boilers get things cleaned up, it’s just a matter of time before another team beats itself against the Hawkeyes.
When Iowa Has the Ball
It’s hard to fathom how Iowa is in this position when its offense is doing essentially nothing to help the defense out. The Hawkeyes rank 100th in passing nationally and 99th running the ball. Yet the Hawkeyes have gone over the number in each of their past two games and got there by themselves against Maryland.
But the Hawkeyes do one thing well: they don’t get in their own way. Iowa has just three turnovers on the season, as Spencer Petras can mostly be trusted to manage the game and count on the defense to do its job. At some point, Iowa will need to win a game with its offense, but that doesn’t seem likely to be this game. With the Hawkeyes sitting at plus-13 in turnovers, all Iowa has to do to get through this game is not make mistakes.
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There’s one significant benefit to Kirk Ferentz having lasts as long as he has at Iowa: he knows this league like the back of his hand. The Hawkeyes have covered in five straight games in conference and seven of eight overall, as Iowa seems to know exactly what it needs to do against every Big Ten team, it plays as well as Iowa State. Ferentz is now in year 22 as the head man in Iowa City, and the one thing you can count on with the Hawkeyes, as a result, is that they’ll be well prepared against whoever they face in the league.
That’s not the case with Purdue. The Boilers have failed to cover in seven straight games in the league and are just 2-8 ATS in their past ten games, with the two exceptions being Oregon State and Connecticut. However, one thing you can count on with Purdue is the Boilermakers’ defense, as the under has cashed in six consecutive games for Purdue. Iowa has mostly been an under team as well, but with the Hawkeyes well known as a good-field, no-hit team, Vegas has gotten wise to Iowa with several low totals.
Field goals could be tricky, with the wind blowing to the west at 13 miles per hour. Temperatures will be much more normal for October in Iowa City, as the high is expected to hit 60 degrees.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The Hawkeyes should be able to get through this one, as Purdue is a turnover-prone offense that hasn’t shown an ability to get out of its own way. If you make mistakes against Iowa, you’re in big trouble, so I’m expecting the Hawkeyes to ride their defense to another cover in this one.
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