Ohio State gets a couple days to breathe after completing an incredible comeback against Penn State last weekend. But the Buckeyes can’t completely rest, as Iowa won’t be forgiving, no matter what its record is. The Bucks still opened as heavy -16.5 point road favorites as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Hawkeyes haven’t lost by more than seven points this season and that may be the only thing going for them here. They also played Penn State to the wire with the Nittany Lions needing a late touchdown to win. But for this one, a clear worry is that the Hawkeyes haven’t scored more than 19 points in Four of their five Big Ten Games.
Ohio State just gave up 38 points to Penn State, but that can’t be looked at for this Game mainly because Iowa is at a much different level. Quarterback Nathan Stanley has solid numbers with 17 touchdowns and only Four interceptions, but only seven of those came in Conference play and three of those came against Illinois. Stanley will be needed in this Game because Iowa probably won’t get much of a rushing attack going against this defensive front. It also doesn’t help that none of the Hawkeyes starting backs are averaging more than Four yards per carry. It’s more than likely Iowa won’t reach 20 points and that means Ohio State needs only about 30 to cover.
If the Buckeyes can continue what they did in the second half of the Penn State Game, that should lead to enough points. OSU has now scored at least 38 points in all but one Game (Oklahoma) so that’s a good sign for this one. Iowa’s defense also hasn’t been as good as recent seasons, no matter what the numbers say. OUtside of that Penn State Game, this defense hasn’t seen a relevant offense. That will change in this one.
J.T. Barrett has become one of the favorites in the Heisman race with a ridiculous 25 passing touchdowns to only one interception, while completing 69.5% of his passes. In addition to that, Barrett has another 454 rushing yards and five more TDs on the ground. Throw in J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber in the backfield and stopping this offense is extremely difficult, especially with how they are playing. The Hawkeyes are allowing just 17.4 points per Game, but that doesn’t align with the 369 yards per Game they are allowing. As long as Ohio State moves the ball, don’t expect this Iowa defense to lock down Barrett and company.
At this point, there are few reasons to bet against Ohio State. With how Barrett and the offense have looked, it will take a lot to go against them, even on the road. The Buckeyes are 1-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but 4-1 ATS in their last five Big Ten Games. The Hawkeyes are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight Conference Games and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home Games.
Our Pick – Iowa +18.5