No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3 SU, 3-4-1 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 4th, 2017. 3:30PM (ET)
Where: Kinnick Stadium Iowa City, I.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU -17.5/IOWA +17.5
Over/Under Total: 51.5
Following one of the most memorable comebacks in recent history, the Ohio State Buckeyes vaulted to the number 3 ranking in the polls following last weeks 39-38 victory over no. 2 Penn State. The Buckeyes rallied from a 15 point deficit in the 4th quarter to keep their Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoffs hopes alive. This week the Buckeyes will attempt to keep their rising stock trending in the right direction as they go on the road to play at one of the tougher venues in the conference at Kinnick Stadium against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
I dont want to harp on Ohio States victory last week for too long because honestly it does not matter for this Saturdays game against Iowa. However, you have to admire the fight the Buckeyes showed last week. They gave up an opening kickoff return for a touchdown to Saquon Barkley, fumbled away the 3rd play from scrimmage, and were down 14-0 in the blink of an eye. The game stayed within about two scores until quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate J.T. Barrett took over to lead the comeback. Barrett threw 3 touchdowns in the final 11 minutes and finished with a brilliant day that featured a stat line of 33 for 39 passing for 328 yards with 4 touchdowns. Barrett also added another 95 yards on the ground to easily emerge as one of the top candidates in the Heisman Trophy race.
For Ohio State, the win kept all championship hopes alive and now we will see if this team can follow-up with a sneaky test against Iowa this weekend. I say sneaky because on the outside the Hawkeyes (5-3 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) do not appear to be capable to contend with a team that is arguably playing as one of the best teams in the country. However, the Hawkeyes are a physical football team and typically play extremely well at home. In fact, the Hawkeyes have won 6 of their last 7 games inside Kinnick Stadium going back to last year. During the latter part of 2016, a 5-4 SU Hawkeyes team upset no. 3 Michigan at home and then followed that up with two straight wins including a blowout over no. 16 Nebraska. If you just go back a few weeks, Iowa nearly upset Penn State at home in a 21-19 loss. Therefore, Ohio State must come ready to play this week because it is not going to be easy.
On paper, the Hawkeyes are not overly impressive ranking 45th in total defense and 103rd in the FBS in total offense. However, they remain effective by the help of strong defense (12th in scoring) yielding just 17 points per game and a physical running attack. In many ways, the Hawkeyes style of play can be very boring. They have had 3 games decided by 17-10 margins in the last 4 games but that is their style of play. Running back Akrum Wadley gets a ton of carries and has tallied 643 yards with 5 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Nathan Stanley does not throw too often but he has been effective with 17 scores and just 4 picks. Then in the instances the offense stalls out, they tend to lean heavily on the defense.
In fact, the battle to watch this week will be the Ohio State offense against the Hawkeyes defense. Iowas defense is very good despite what total numbers may show. Only once has this defense given up more than 21 points this year and they are going to be a challenge for the Buckeyes. From a matchup perspective, Ohio State tends to have the upper hand. Barrett and J.K. Dobbins should be able to run the ball effectively against a defense that is allowing 4 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Barrett has been terrific throwing the football this year completing nearly 70% passing for 2,166 yards with 25 touchdowns and just 1 interception. Between the run and the pass, I figure Ohio State will have success moving the football. In order to keep the upset bid at bay, they will need to make sure that converts to points at the end of their drives.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a tough matchup. Everything I see from a matchup standpoint points to the Buckeyes. However, Iowa has this uncanny ability to drag teams into a slow moving rugged style of play. I think there are better games to bet on this week but if I had to pick, I would lean with the Hawkeyes +17.5. - Where are you betting this game? Bet it for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% welcome bonus offered to new players at Bovada Sportsbook