Iowa vs Rutgers Odds, Picks and Predictions: Spencer Petras Picks Apart Knights' Secondary

Rutgers is undefeated but hasn't faced competition quite at Iowa's level in the early goings this season. Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras will be able to exploit a thin Scarlet Knights secondary en route to eclipsing his passing yards total.

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2022 8:20 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Spencer Petras Iowa Hawkeyes College Football
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The Iowa Hawkeyes and Rutgers Scarlet Knights kick off their respective Big Ten conference schedules with a meeting in Piscataway, NJ on Saturday night.

Both defenses rank Top 10 in yards allowed and are Top 25 in points surrendered, while both offenses are still finding their way through three games apiece.

Saturday’s battle will mark just the third time the Hawkeyes and Scarlet Knights have faced one another, with Iowa getting the better of Rutgers on both occasions — a 14-7 win in 2016 and a 30-0 beatdown in 2019.

The Hawkeyes opened as a 7.5-point road favorite against Greg Schiano’s squad, who will wait until game time to name its starting quarterback. Below are our best free college football picks and predictions for the Week 4 battle between Iowa and Rutgers.

Iowa vs Rutgers best odds

Iowa vs Rutgers picks and predictions

Rutgers may be undefeated ahead of this matchup, but the Knights’ three victories came in a close 22-21 decision against 1-2 Boston College, a 66-7 blowout of FCS Wagner, and a narrow 16-14 win at 1-2 Temple.

Wagner is winless and averages 15 points per game while Boston College ranks 112th out of 131 FBS teams in points per contest and Temple is third-to-last.

Iowa, on the other hand, brings a 2-1 record into this matchup with a 7-3 win over reigning FCS champion North Dakota State, a 10-7 defeat to the 3-0 Iowa State Cyclones, and a 27-0 win over the 2-2 Nevada Wolfpack.

The Hawkeyes have confronted tougher offenses than Rutgers’ defense has gone up against and have managed to hold those opposing attacks to a combined average of 4.3 points, tied with Mississippi for the second-lowest points-per-game average in college football.

Iowa’s stop unit has been particularly formidable against the pass, holding passers to 133 yards per game, the ninth fewest in college football. The run defense is no walkover, either, permitting just 99 yards per contest, the 29th best in FBS.

The Hawkeyes also average two takeaways per game and rank seventh in total yards allowed. 

Rutgers has surrendered just 39 rushing yards per outing against its early opposition but allows an average of 249 passing yards per game. Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec went 23 of 41 for 283 yards and threw three touchdown passes against a pair of interceptions in that clash.

Wagner’s signal caller, Nick Kargman was just 12 of 23 for 126 yards with one score and two interceptions, and Temple’s E.J. Warner threw for 215 yards on 19 of 32 passing with one touchdown and an interception.

Rutgers ranks third in the nation in opponent yards per rush attempt (1.3) and should cause some trouble for Kaleb Johnson and Gavin Williams in Iowa’s backfield.

But Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras should be able to find enough open receivers to rack up a slew of yards through the air. The senior had trouble against Iowa State’s stalwart pass defense, but he bounced back against Nevada, who ranks 61st  in passing yards allowed, going 14 of 26 for 175 yards and a touchdown.

Petras has shown improvement over each of his first three games and should be able to lead Iowa’s offense down the field against Rutgers’ secondary.

My best bet: Spencer Petras Over 162.5 passing yards (-115 at DraftKings)

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Iowa vs Rutgers betting preview

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Spread analysis Over/Under analysis Trend to know Game info Injuries Weather

Spread analysis

After a shaky offensive performance against Iowa State in which the Hawkeyes averaged 3.4 yards through the air and 2.3 yards per rush, the team rebounded against Nevada with its highest production of the season thus far.

Not only did Petras put up 6.7 yards per pass, but the run game piled up 4.6 yards per carry against a Wolfpack defense that ranks 21st in the nation with 2.8 yards allowed per attempt.

While the Hawkeyes are trending in the right direction offensively, Rutgers is still trying to figure out its identity.

The Knights averaged 3.5 yards per attempt passing against Temple and the same number per rush against the Owls, while their 16 points came on three field goals and an interception returned for a touchdown by Shaquan Loyal midway through the second quarter. The Knights were also 4-for-14 on third down and committed nine penalties for a loss of 80 yards.

Gavin Wimsatt and Evan Simon rotated at quarterback before Wimsatt left with an undisclosed injury. Senior Noah Vedral has yet to take a snap this season while dealing with an upper-body injury.

With uncertainty at quarterback, Rutgers has been able to lean on its run game, but it has not met a defense like Iowa’s yet. The Hawkeyes surrendered 69 rushing yards last outing and will have the upper hand in this contest.

The Hawkeyes are 15-5 straight up in their last 20 games and 7-1 SU in their last eight games on the road. Iowa is 6-2-1 against the spread in its last nine road games but 2-5 ATS in its last seven conference games.

Rutgers is 2-6 ATS in its last eight conference games,1-5 ATS in its last six home games, and 0-5 ATS versus teams with a winning record.

Over/Under analysis

The total opened at 35.5 and has since shifted as much as a point and a half toward the Under.

Iowa has allowed just one touchdown this season — an eight-yard pass by Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers — and the Hawkeyes have recorded four total touchdowns.

Rutgers has done the bulk of its scoring in the ground game with three rushing touchdowns against Boston College and five against Wagner. The Scarlet Knights’ four passing touchdowns this season all came against the FCS school, with Simon throwing for two, Wimsatt adding one, and tight end Johnny Langan connecting on a 43-yard pass to Simon.

The Under has hit in all of Iowa's last four games, but the Over is 4-0 in the Hawkeyes’ last four conference matchups.

Rutgers has seen the total hit the Under in nine of its last 12 conference games and eight of its last 11 overall, while the Over is 6-2 in its last eight home games.

Iowa vs Rutgers betting trend to know

The Under is 4-0 in Iowa’s last four games overall and 9-3 in Rutgers’ last 12 conference games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Iowa vs. Rutgers.

Iowa vs Rutgers game info

Location: SHI Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
Kick-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports 1

Iowa vs Rutgers key injuries

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Iowa vs Rutgers weather

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