Both Iowa and Ohio State are coming off bye weeks and will get back in action with what looks to be a lopsided affair at The Shoe on Saturday.
This matchup projects to be one of best on best, with Iowa's No. 3-ranked scoring defense tasked with slowing down a C.J. Stroud-led Buckeyes offense that leads the nation in scoring offense.
Iowa's offense is among the worst in college football but can its defense do enough to keep things within four touchdowns? Read our college football picks and predictions below to find out.
Iowa vs Ohio State best odds
Iowa vs Ohio State picks and predictions
Leading the nation in scoring offense (48.8), points per play (.718), and yards per play (8.0), Ohio State's offensive resume is the best in college football, but this week's matchup with Iowa should present Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud with its biggest challenge of the season.
This Iowa defense held Michigan to 27 points three weeks ago and while Ohio State's offense is better, the Iowa defense may be better tailored to slow down the Buckeyes. Michigan does its work through Blake Corum and the ground game, while OSU largely gets it done with chunk plays through the air — an area in which the Hawkeyes' secondary is more than capable of limiting Saturday afternoon.
This is a defensive unit that ranks third in scoring defense and third in opponent yards per play (4.0), but more specific to Ohio State's strengths, the secondary ranks second in opponents yards per pass and eighth in opposing passing yards per game.
Limiting those game-breaking plays will force Ohio State to at least somewhat methodically move the ball down the field, making C.J. Stroud and his surrounding weapons look just a little more human than normal.
Iowa's bread and butter on defense in recent years has been creating turnovers and much-needed short fields for its very limited offense. That remains true in 2022, with a fourth-best turnover margin (+1.4 per game) and an offense that ranks among the worst in the nation in just about any offensive category you look at. It goes without saying that this offense needs all the help it can get.
And when Ohio State inevitably moves the ball downfield, it will be met with a 15th-best scoring defense inside the red zone. Over the course of a game, you hope that turns a couple of Ohio State touchdowns into field goals, giving Iowa even more room to breathe inside this massive 30.5-point spread.
C.J. Stroud & Co. won't be stopped altogether, but if Iowa can limit the quick strikes down the field, the road to covering becomes much more manageable.
My best bet: Iowa +30.5 (-118 at BetVictor)
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Iowa vs Ohio State spread analysis
The Hawkeyes fetched 10.5 points in a recent 13-point loss to Michigan but oddsmakers aren't messing around this week, giving Iowa as many as 30.5 points against the Buckeyes at The Horseshoe.
While acknowledging the Buckeyes as the class of the Big Ten, the 19-point spread disparity between Iowa at Michigan and Iowa at Ohio State is a huge one. It's clear oddsmakers want Buckeye backers to earn it this weekend.
Ohio State has covered in three of its last four games with the fourth being a push despite having to deal with massive spreads in the 3-6 touchdown range (as high as -39 vs. Rutgers).
Iowa has also covered in three of its last four but did so because of a defense that allowed just 19 points in those three ATS wins. Assuming the defense is fresh off a bye, it can put a bit of a cap on the huge plays that have made OSU's offense so lethal this season.
Iowa vs Ohio State Over/Under analysis
The 49.5-point total will be Iowa's highest to date (previously 42.5) as well as Ohio State's lowest (previously 56.5) and given Iowa's abilities on defense and lack thereof on offense, this is a bit of a precarious number.
The Buckeyes have scored 49 points alone in each of their last four games (4-0 O/U in those games) but have yet to go up against a defense catered to slowing down this type of explosive offense.
And as you'd expect, Iowa has been the total opposite, with the Under moving to 5-1 on its season after a 9-6 affair with Illinois stayed Under a measly 36.5-point total. When you put one of the nation's best defenses and worst offenses on the same team, these types of results are to be expected.
However, betting the Under pits you against the best offense in college football. I'd suggest staying away.
Iowa vs Ohio State betting trend to know
Iowa is 3-1 ATS in its last four games and 3-0-1 ATS in its last four meetings with Ohio State. Find more NCAA betting trends for Iowa vs. Ohio State.
Iowa vs Ohio State game info
|Location:||Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH|
|Date:||Saturday, October 22, 2022|
|Kickoff:||12:00 p.m. ET|
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