The Penn State Nittany Lions are 3-0 both outright and against the spread in their last three meetings with the Iowa Hawkeyes, including a dominating victory/cover last season. The Nittany Lions look to keep their train rolling when they meet the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener for both teams Saturday night in Iowa City.
College football point spread: The Nittany Lions opened as 13.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 43.2-20.4 Nittany Lions (College football picks on every game)
Why the Penn State Nittany Lions can cover the spread
Penn State is off to a 3-0 start this season, going 2-1 ATS, after blanking Georgia State last Saturday 56-0. Penn State scored a touchdown on its opening possession of the game, led 35-0 at the half and cruised from there on its way toward covering the 37-point spread.
The Nittany Lions outgained the Mean Green 526-320 and won the turnover battle 5-0. Penn State only possessed the ball for 21 minutes, but that's because they scored five touchdowns on plays of 27 yards or more, including an 85-yard catch-and-run score by running back Saquon Barkley in the first quarter.
Quarterback Trace McSorley hit on 18 of 23 throws for 309 yards and four touchdowns, while Barkley accounted for 189 yards from scrimmage on just 14 touches. And with help from a late-game kicker freeze by coach James Franklin, the Penn State defense tossed its second shutout of this season already. In fact, it has has allowed just one touchdown through three games.
Why the Iowa Hawkeyes can cover the spread
Iowa reached 3-0 on the season with a 31-14 victory over North Texas last week. The Hawkeyes spotted the Mean Green a 7-0 lead and trailed 14-10 at the half, but won the second half 21-0. Iowa also drove to the North Texas 2-yard line in the final moments, but ran the clock out rather than run a play and just missed covering the 20-point spread.
The Hawkeyes outgained UNT 435-305, outrushed the Green 238-112 and dominated time of possession by a 41-19 margin. Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns, improving his touchdowns/interceptions ratio this season to 10-1, while three Hawkeyes rushed for more than 70 yards. Meanwhile, the Iowa defense held North Texas to an 0-for-6 performance on third downs.
The Hawkeyes have now outgained and outrushed all three opponents this season.
Penn State looks almost unstoppable right now, while Iowa struggled to beat teams like Iowa State and North Texas. Also, the Lions beat the Hawkeyes last year 41-14, and that game wasn't even that close. Smart money here at online betting sites is on Penn State.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in five of Iowa's last six games in September.
Iowa is 1-4 ATS in its last five games after consecutive wins.
Penn State is 11-0-1 ATS in its last 12 games.
All college football odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.