Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Predictions, Odds, Picks

Oct. 9, 2021
Eytan Shander
VI College Football Betting Expert

It’s the big one this weekend and possibly all year as the two titans of the Big Ten kickoff Saturday afternoon. Iowa (5-0) hosts Penn State (5-0) on FOX at 4:00 p.m. ET kick at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Score Prediction: Iowa 20, Penn State 18

Best Bet: Under 41.5

Best Bet: Under 20 1H

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Predictions

This game will not disappoint anyone looking for a defensive masterpiece, just don’t come into this one expecting a shootout. Iowa is one of the best teams in the nation at turning the football over and love to lure teams into throwing the ball. Their offense isn’t much to look at on paper, Spencer Petras isn’t hurting them at QB, but overall, they don’t need to be pretty.

The defense has led the way and will continue to be an issue for Penn State come Saturday. PSU isn’t going to lay down and make this easy despite walking into extremely hostile territory. Their defense has been equally dominant at times, and they have a QB in Sean Clifford playing at a higher level than Petras. Penn State also doesn’t turn over the ball, just three times this year, taking away Iowa’s biggest strength.

Both defenses will control the tempo making it hard for Clifford to go downfield and ensuring Iowa can’t do much either. It will most likely come down to a missed throw, FG, or bad bounce of the football. The advantage lies with the home team.

More Free College Football Picks

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Odds

More Odds | Futures Odds

Iowa is a 2-point home favorite against Penn State. Both teams come into the contest undefeated and with an equal record ATS of 4-1.

The total for this game is 41 points. The Under is 3-0 at Kinnick Stadium this year, and 4-1 for both PSU and Iowa.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021
  • Venue: Kinnick Stadium
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa
  • TV-Time: FOX - 4:00 p.m. ET

Bet in Iowa
Bet in Indiana
Bet in Illinois
Bet in Pennsylvania
Bet in Virginia
Other Betting States

Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 5-0
  • ATS: 4-1
  • O/U: 1-4
  • ATS - Home: 3-1
  • ATS - Away: 1-0

The biggest advantage PSU has over the Hawkeyes is that Iowa isn’t much better – if at all. Penn State’s rushing attack has been up and down. Noah Cain and Keyvone Lee have shown to be a tough combo to slow down against lesser defenses but will have a tough matchup in Iowa.

Clifford is the only real key to winning this game for PSU but not from a passing or scoring standpoint, rather not coughing it up. Clifford’s three picks this year have come in each of the last three games, as he was lackluster against a vulnerable Indiana defense. Any mistake by Clifford this week and it’s lights out for the Lions.

Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 5-0
  • ATS: 4-1
  • O/U: 1-4
  • ATS - Home: 2-1
  • ATS - Away: 2-0

It’s truly amazing that Iowa is this good simply living off turnovers, but also shows how vital it is to win that battle each week. The good news for their QB is that Petras has some help, primarily coming in the form of RB Tyler Goodson. The talent is there, but he’s struggled the past two weeks with his YPC.

Just 3.2 in a too-close-for-comfort 24-14 W over CSU, and only 3.5 last week in a blowout of Maryland. Penn State’s defense is better than both of those teams and may present enough of a problem to slow down drives. While Iowa’s offense isn’t as good as their opponent’s, we will see their defense be the difference, even if it’s just one play.

The Penn State Nittany Lions have gone UNDER the point total in four of their last five games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Record: 5-0
  • VI Ranking: 7
  • Points Scored: 150
  • Points Allowed: 60
  • PS/G: 30 (63rd)
  • PA/G: 12 (3rd)

Inside the Stats - Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Record: 5-0
  • VI Ranking: 4
  • Points Scored: 219
  • Points Allowed: 120
  • PS/G: 43.8 (6th)
  • PA/G: 24 (65th)

Key Players to Watch

  • PSU: Sean Clifford - QB (103/153, 1,336 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT)
  • PSU: Jahan Dotson - WR (35 catches, 446 yards, 6 TD)
  • IOWA: Spencer Petras - QB (85/137, 943 yards, 7 TD, INT)
  • IOWA: Tyler Goodson - RB (99 carries, 430 yards, 5 TD)


  • PSU: Keaton Ellis - CB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • PSU: Adisa Isaac - DE (Undisclosed-Out)
  • PSU: Hakeem Beamon - DE (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • PSU: Sal Wormley - OL (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • IOWA: Ethan Hurkett - DL (Leg-Out)

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Conclusion

It’s hard to ignore how favorable the under is in this game, from it being 3-0 in Iowa to the 4-1 record for each of these teams. Both teams are holding opponents to ridiculously low numbers, as PSU’s average points against is 12.0 - it’s 11.6 for Iowa. The line is too short and relying on too many volatile variables, so play it safe and take the under.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Trends

  • Iowa has covered the spread in six of its last seven games.
  • Iowa has gone UNDER the point total in five of its last six games.
  • Penn State has covered the spread in eight of its last nine games.
  • Penn State has gone UNDER the point total in four of its last five games.