Holy Cross vs Iowa Predictions, Picks, and Odds: Caitlin Clark's Title Quest Begins

Caitlin Clark and Iowa begin their run to an NCAA championship on Saturday against Holy Cross. Our women's March Madness picks break down the best bets as the game's best player aims to keep making history.

Phil Naessens - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Phil Naessens • Betting Analyst
Mar 22, 2024 • 14:17 ET • 4 min read
Caitlin Clark NCAAB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten tourney champ and No. 1 seed Iowa Hawkeyes have some unfinished business when they meet No. 16 seed Holy Cross Crusaders in their opening tilt of the 2024 Women’s March Madness campaign.

Holy Cross boasts one of the best scoring defenses nationally, but the Women’s March Madness odds list the Crusaders as heavy underdogs to the high-scoring Hawkeyes when the two hit the hardwood on Saturday.

Can the Crusaders pull off the upset? Join me as I look closer at the college basketball odds with free women's March Madness picks for Holy Cross vs Iowa on Saturday, March 23. 

Holy Cross vs Iowa best odds

Holy Cross Iowa Iowa
OTB Moneyline OTB
+37.5 (-110) Spread -37.5 (-110)
Over 154 (-110) Total Under 154 (-110)

Odds courtesy of DraftKings on March 22, 2024.

Holy Cross vs Iowa picks and predictions

Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes had three team goals for this season: Winning the Big Ten regular-season title, winning the Big Ten tourney, and, of course, winning a national title.

The Lady Hawkeyes accomplished one of those goals last weekend by winning the Big Ten tourney — they fended off Nebraska in overtime to hoist the conference tournament title. 

On Saturday, Clark and the Hawkeyes begin their road to Cleveland as heavy favorites against Patriot League regular season champ Holy Cross Crusaders.

Of course, Iowa would be heavily favored — it’s won seven of its last eight, has one loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and averages 92.8 per tilt. The Hawkeyes exceeded that average in seven of their last eight, and Clark is a major reason why.

Clark is often compared to college basketball legend Pete Maravich — like Maravich, she scores in a variety of ways, but the reason she’s hailed as “Ponytail Pete” is because like Maravich, she is a capable and willing passer, as she leads the nation with 8.6 helpers per tilt.

Ponytail Pete is up against a good Holy Cross defense. It hasn’t beaten a single team in this event, but it did manage to win 21 games this season, mostly because of its defense. 

The Lady Crusaders allow the 21st-fewest points nationally with the 10th-best 3-point defense — it’s allowed 69 or fewer points in their last five and might make things difficult for the scoring leader.

We should expect the Hawkeyes star guard to do her thing, and one of those things is to dish the rock. Clark is surrounded by good shooters, has cleared this mark in 11 of her last 12 contests, and will drop more than 8.5 dimes on Saturday.

My best bet: Caitlin Clark Over 8.5 assists (-115 at FanDuel)

Caitlin Clark Holy Cross vs Iowa prop pick

Clark is the all-time scoring champ and has broken numerous collegiate marks during her four-year career at Iowa. 

One record she hasn’t broken yet — and would need a couple of big shooting nights to do so — is the 537-career made three pointers mark set in 2023 by Oklahoma Sooners guard Taylor Robertson. 

Clark is 18 triples away from breaking that record, and the lady from West Des Moines who broke Kelsey Plum’s all-time scoring mark with a “logo three” will need to come out firing Saturday, and I believe that’s exactly what she will do.

Ponytail Pete is in a shooting slump from downtown (by her standards). She’s shot 38% or worse from long range in five of her last seven, but still routinely attempts 14+ per game, whether they go in or not. I expect the all-time leading scorer to keep firing with a few more falling than during her recent slump. 

The Crusaders defense won’t make it easy on Clark — they boast one of the best 3-point defenses nationally. Ponytail Pete has struggled from beyond the arc over her previous five at Carver-Hawkeye, but this is a game on the national stage, and I expect her to be in launch mode while chasing this last record.

Finally, this is a home game for the Hawkeyes, and they want to see Clark raining treys. Given the home edge, high stakes, and record-based motivation, she’ll bounce back from her mini-slump from long-range and go Over her made 3-point shooting prop.

Caitlin Clark prop pick: Over 5.5 made threes (-106 at FanDuel

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Holy Cross vs Iowa spread and Over/Under analysis

Iowa is anywhere from a -37.5 to -38.5-point favorite to win this one and that seems like too many points. They’ve covered that number once in their last five and only five times this season.

The majority of Holy Cross’ losses were decided by 10 or fewer points, but maybe the high spread has more to do with the Crusaders failure to defeat anyone in this field.

The Hawkeyes are a team that purely outscores their opponents because their defense is non-existent. Their 71.9 points allowed is No. 314 nationally and Holy Cross can score the basketball — FanDuel has the best number for the Crusaders (+38.5) but you will pay -114 for this market.

We’re looking at a 154 point or better total for Saturday’s tilt. Iowa scores 95.5 per game at Carver-Hawkeye and meet a Crusaders offense that’s scored 61+ in each of their last seven — the Hawkeyes don’t play much defense at all and could make a mediocre Holy Cross offense look like Iowa-lite. 

The best number for the Over is 154 (-110) while Under bettors can find Under 154.5 (-125) as the best number.

Holy Cross vs Iowa betting trend to know

Caitlin Clark has exceeded 8.5 assists in 11 of her previous 12 contests. Find more college basketball betting trends for Holy Cross vs. Iowa.

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Holy Cross vs Iowa game info

Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
Date: Saturday, March 23, 2024
Tip-off: 3:00 p.m. ET

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