NCAA Football Betting Favorite: Iowa -3
The Big East and the Big Ten will get together in Iowa City this Saturday as Iowa hosts Pittsburgh. The Hawkeyes are coming off a deflating 44-41 triple overtime loss to Iowa State. Pittsburgh is 2-0, but they haven’t played well at all against inferior competition. Which of these teams will put it together this Saturday?
Todd Graham is in his first season as head coach of the Pittsburgh program. Graham has had a lot of success in the past with his no-huddle offense, and he is working to implement that system at Pittsburgh. At this point, Graham has been unhappy with the play of starting quarterback Tino Sunseri. Sunseri has been holding onto the ball too long and taking a lot of sacks. In Graham’s no-huddle offense, passes are expected to come out quickly. Sunseri is still the starter despite two poor efforts, but the leash is getting shorter for him. Ray Graham has done a nice job in the backfield for the Panthers. Graham is averaging 161 rushing yards per game through his first two contests this year.
The Pittsburgh defense has a talented front seven, but the secondary has been riddled by two very average passing attacks. Buffalo threw for 276 yards against Pittsburgh, while Maine aired it out for 334 yards last weekend. This is clearly an area where the Panthers must get better as the year moves along.
Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes were expected to beat in-state rival Iowa State, but the Cyclones defeated Iowa in a triple overtime thriller. It will be important that Iowa has a short memory, because they have another tough non-conference opponent this weekend.
James Vandenburg has done a great job as the Hawkeyes starting quarterback. Vandenburg has thrown four touchdown and zero interceptions, and he has 426 yards passing in two games. Marvin McNutt is his favorite target on the outside. McNutt is averaging 20.1 yards per reception this season, and he already has two touchdowns. The Iowa running game hasn’t been very good so far this season. Marcus Coker is a talented back, but he is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry. The Iowa offensive line typically dominates, but they have struggled a bit this season. The Hawkeyes defense allowed Iowa State to convert on 13 out of 20 third down conversions last week. If Iowa is going to be successful defensively, they have to find a way to get off the field.
Iowa has typically responded well following a loss under the direction of Kirk Ferentz. The team is 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games following a straight up loss. The Hawkeyes secondary should make life tough on the Panthers passing attack this weekend.
Free College Football Pick: Iowa -3
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