The Iowa Hawkeyes lead the all-time rivalry with the Iowa State Cyclones 43-22, with three wins in a row. But ISU is 4-3 against the spread over the last seven meetings, pulling three outright upsets and keeping a couple other games close. Which side is the smart bet for Saturday afternoon's battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy in Iowa City?
College football point spread: The Hawkeyes opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 18.2-14.8 Hawkeyes (College football picks on every game)
Why the Iowa State Cyclones can cover the spread
The Cyclones were supposed to open their 2018 campaign last Saturday against South Dakota State, but that game was canceled due to bad weather. The teams actually took the field and Iowa State scored on a 55-yard Deshaunte Jones touchdown four minutes into the game. But then came the lightning, and eventually the cancellation.
So the Cyclones should be fresh for this contest.
Iowa State returns 12 starters this season from a team that finished 8-5 last season and won a bowl. Along the way the Cyclones beat eventual College Football Playoff qualifier Oklahoma in Norman for the first time in almost 30 years. And four of their losses came by a total of 15 points.
Six starters are back on offense, led by senior quarterback Kyle Kempt (15-3 touchdowns/interceptions last year) and running back David Montgomery (1,146 yards last year). And six starters are back on a defense that held foes to 21 points per game last year, that unit's best performance in recent memory.
Why the Iowa Hawkeyes can cover the spread
The Hawkeyes opened their 2018 season with a 33-7 victory over Northern Illinois last Saturday. Iowa only led 3-0 at the half, but scored touchdowns on three straight possessions spanning the third and fourth quarters to pull away. The Hawkeyes later led 33-0, on their way to an easier-than-anticipated cover as 10-point favorites.
On the day Iowa outgained the Huskies 352-211, outrushed NIU 209-101 and ground out a 35/25 advantage in time of possession. Also, the Hawkeyes defense held the Huskies to just three conversions out of 12 third-down situations, recorded a safety and kept Northern Illinois off the scoreboard until just over two minutes remained in the game.
Iowa is now 9-5 SU and 7-5-2 ATS with Nate Stanley starting at quarterback.
Smart betting pick
The Hawkeyes outlasted Iowa State last year 44-41 in overtime, and not a whole lot has changed since then. This game is likely to be lower-scoring, and could also be decided by a field goal. Smart money here sides with the Cyclones, plus the points.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in 10 of Iowa State's last 13 games against Iowa.
The total has gone under in six of Iowa's last eight games at home.
Iowa is 19-4 SU in its last 23 games in September.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.