Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said this week that he expects a tough challenge from Iowa in front of a sellout crowd at SHI Stadium.
“Iowa is a different program. They are an established Big Ten program. Coach Ferentz is certainly the dean of the league, but he’s one of the best coaches in America, period, and his program continually, there’s consistency year-in, year-out, and you know exactly what you’re going to get. They play very hard. They are physical. They are technically sound.
“So, it’s a great challenge for our guys, great challenge for our coaching staff. You put all that together and throw it in this Saturday night, wearing red to the game and packing the place, that’s what college football is all about,” Schiano said.
Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz was singing a similar song of respect for Schiano and Rutgers ahead of tonight’s showdown earlier this week.
“It’s our first Big Ten game, needless to say that’s important. First road game and then another night game. All those three things factored in, it’s a little bit different here, and playing a team that’s off to a really good start, Rutgers is playing well with a 3-0 record right now, and they’re playing well, so they certainly have our full attention,” Ferentz said.
As kickoff is nearly upon us, let’s take one final look at three of the best bets for Iowa-Rutgers courtesy of the odds from Tipico Sportsbook.
Point spread: Iowa -8.5 (-108); Rutgers +8.5 (-112)
Money line: Iowa -380; Rutgers +300
Over-under: 33.5 (Over: -115; Under: -105)
Bet the under
Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK
Iowa at Rutgers looks like it’s going to close with a historic number. If the number does in fact close at a combined points total on the over-under of 33.5, then that would be the lowest combined points total since the 1995 Arizona-Oregon State game.
In the past five games with a combined points total of 34 or less since 1995, the under is 3-1-1. That push actually came from the Iowa-Wisconsin game last season when the Badgers beat the Hawkeyes, 27-7.
In short, until the Iowa offense proves its capable of scoring points against a defense like Rutgers, bank on the Hawkeyes doing just the opposite. The Scarlet Knights surrendered just 35 combined points to Boston College and Temple.
Meanwhile, Iowa’s No. 2 scoring defense and Rutgers’ own offensive problems should help this point total stay low.
Take Rutgers and the points
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Rutgers is pouring a lot into this game against Iowa. It’s at home and it’s going to be a sellout crowd at SHI Stadium. The Scarlet Knights haven’t seen a defense as good as Iowa’s, and there’s fair concerns on whether or not Rutgers will really be able to score on the Hawkeyes.
Still, after having lost 19 consecutive Big Ten home games, the Scarlet Knights are anxious for that dam to burst in front of a raucous, prime time home crowd. It feels like that crowd combined with Iowa’s offensive struggles and Rutgers’ defense likely means Rutgers stays within the number.
It's still Iowa money line
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
The safest bet is the one bettors will get the worst odds on. It seems like neither team will score much, but it only takes a couple chunk scoring plays for that under 33.5 points total to come into question.
There’s also a scenario where Rutgers’ own quarterback problems combined against Iowa’s defense means the Scarlet Knights just can’t do much of anything offensively. If that’s the case, then Iowa really only needs to piece together several scoring drives to win this game.
Ultimately, the best bet is that the better team wins this game. That team is still Iowa. Even though the odds don’t return much at -380, Iowa on the money line is the safest wager in this one.
By the numbers: a statistical breakdown of the two teams
Broadcast info, injury report
Behind Enemy Lines, all-time series photo gallery
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