The third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes are looking for a repeat of last year -- this time at home -- when they face the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes thrashed Penn State 41-21 last November to snap a six-game losing skid against their Big Ten rivals. Iowa (5-0) forced four turnovers in that game, and that has been the team's bread-and-butter this year as the defense has been dominant. But Penn State (5-0) has been limiting mistakes, and its defense has been almost as impressive. The game is expected to be a slugfest, and points could be scarce. Iowa's defense is second in the nation in scoring (11.6 points per game), whie Penn State's ranks third (12.0).
Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes are 2.5-point favorites in Caesars Sportsbook's latest Penn State vs. Iowa odds, and the over-under for total points scored is 41. Before making any Iowa vs. Penn State picks, make sure to check out the college football predictions and analysis from the proven SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,400 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Week 6 of the 2021 season on a 12-4 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has locked in on Iowa vs. Penn State and just released its picks and analysis. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model's CFB picks. Here are the CFB odds and betting lines for Penn State vs. Iowa:
- Penn State vs. Iowa: Hawkeyes -2.5
- Penn State vs. Iowa over-under: 41 points
- Penn State vs. Iowa money line: Nittany Lions +115, Hawkeyes -135
- PSU: The Nittany Lions are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games overall
- IOWA: The Hawkeyes are 6-2 ATS against ranked opponents since 2019
Why Iowa can cover
The defense hasn't been allowing points, but it has definitely been setting them up for the offense. The unit is tied for the most turnovers in the nation with 16, and that has helped the Big Ten's worst offense (320 yards per game) average more than 33 points. The Hawkeyes rank seventh in the nation in total yards allowed (271.4) and have 12 interceptions by eight players. Riley Moss has three and returned one for a touchdown, while linebacker Jack Campbell has returned a fumble for a score. The Hawkeyes had four takeaways last year in State College.
The favorite is 4-1 against the spread in the last five meetings, and the Hawkeyes will force the PSU passing game to beat them. Iowa allows 87 yards per game on the ground (ninth in FBS), while Penn State rushes for just 132.4 (94th). Iowa's offense has been cautious to limit mistakes. Spencer Petras has seven TD passes and one interception, and he has relied heavily on Sam LaPorta. The tight end leads the team in receptions (22) and yards (263) and scored two of those TDs. Tyler Goodson is a strong running back, and he has 430 yards and five TDs.
Why Penn State can cover
Penn State is 6-0 against the spread in its last six conference games, and the defense has been outstanding. It has yielded some yardage (313.4 yards per game, 33rd in FBS), but opponents haven't been scoring. The unit has eight sacks and nine takeaways, and it has batted down 21 passes. Safety Ji'ayir Brown has led the secondary, posting three interceptions, while Arnold Ebiketie has led the way up front with three sacks. PSU's linebackers are led by Brandon Smith (32 tackles, one sack), and 326-pound PJ Mustipher clogs the middle and provides pressure.
Penn State is 5-2 against the spread in the last seven meetings, and last year's loss was a product of turnovers. PSU has limited the mistakes so far, giving the ball away just three times. Sean Clifford has 1,336 passing yards, with 11 TDs and three interceptions, and he has a reliable pair of receivers. Jahan Dotson is the top option, and he is tied for 13th in the nation with 35 catches and has scored six TDs. Parker Washington has 25 receptions, and the two have combined for 777 yards. Noah Cain and Keyvone Lee have combined for 361 rushing yards.
How to make Penn State vs. Iowa picks
The model is going under on the total, projecting the teams will combine for 38 points. It also has generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in well over 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the model's Iowa vs. Penn State ATS pick at SportsLine.
So who wins the Iowa vs. Penn State matchup on Saturday? And which side of the spread is well over 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Penn State vs. Iowa spread to back Saturday, all from the advanced model on a 12-4 run on its top-rated college football picks, and find out.