Top 5 Teams Meet When Slight Favorite Iowa Hosts Penn State

Top 5 Teams Meet When Slight Favorite Iowa Hosts Penn State

The biggest showdown of the year in the Big Ten Conference takes place on Saturday as No. 4 Penn State (5-0, 2-0) visits No. 3 Iowa (5-0, 2-0) for a 4 p.m. ET showdown on FOX.

Going into the game in Pennsylvania sports betting, Penn State is a 1.5-point underdog at Caesars, DraftKings and Tipico. and a 2-point underdog on BetMGM Pennsylvania and PlayUp. Penn State moneyline numbers include +105 (BetMGM, PlayUp, Tipico) and +110 (Caesars, DraftKings Pennsylvania).

Iowa remains a slight favorite on the moneyline at -125 (BetMGM) and -130 (Caesars, DraftKings, Tipico and PlayUp).

Over/under point totals for the game range from 40.5-41.5 on Pennsylvania gambling sportsbooks.

PA August sports betting rebounded, with a total handle of $348.52 million, up 14.5% from July’s $304.4 million. Online handle came in at $318.1 million, an increase of 15.5% from July’s $275.4 million.

Can Penn State Limit Turnovers?

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has been the consummate leader for Penn State this season, throwing 11 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He’s also rushed for a touchdown. This by far will be the toughest test of the season with Iowa’s strong secondary and the road crowd against him.

Iowa leads the nation with 12 interceptions, highlighted by an amazing six last weekend in a win over Maryland.

Clifford will look to wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington, and tight ends Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson, to all be involved in some form Saturday.

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Iowa’s Offense Lacking

Iowa is the conference’s least productive offense, averaging 320 yards per game. But the Hawkeyes play smart football, taking advantage of their opponents’ mistakes.

The Hawkeyes have scored just 10 touchdowns and six field goals on 19 red zone attempts through five games — they have to get better production on that side of the ball.

Iowa will lean on running back Tyler Goodson heavily to provide a solid and consistent running game.

Penn State and Iowa will be meeting for the 31st time, with the Nittany Lions holding a 17-13 advantage. Three of the last four meetings have been decided by one score. Penn State had a six-game win streak in the series from 2011-19, but was upended last year at home, 41-21.

These are also two of the top three defenses in the nation as the Nittany Lions rank third in the country, allowing 12.0 points per game and the Hawkeyes rank second, giving up 11.6 points per game.

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Who Will Win?

Prediction: This is that old-time college football Saturday in the fall, where the rivalry will again meet up to its billing. Whoever has the ball last will win it on a field goal. That team will be Iowa. Iowa 24, Penn State 21.



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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