Penn State vs Iowa Picks and Predictions: Elite Defenses Collide

We have a pair of undefeated teams powered by elite defenses clashing here, as Penn State and Iowa meet in a Big Ten showdown. Our picks take a look at whether the total of 41.5 is low enough for us to go Over, plus more.

Jason Radowitz - Contributor at
Oct 9, 2021 • 11:04 ET • 4 min read
Penn State Nittany Lions NCAAF
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to undefeated records and elite defenses, the AP Poll has both the Penn State Nittany Lions and Iowa Hawkeyes at Top 5 teams in the nation, as the Big Ten amazingly has two representatives without Ohio State in the picture.

We've seen some major defensive clashes in the conference already this year and with a total of 41.5 on the college football betting board here, oddsmakers believe another is in store.

Find out if that will prove correct with our free Penn State vs. Iowa picks and predictions, with kickoff on October 9.

Penn State vs Iowa odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Hawkeyes opened as a 2.5-point favorite and still remain there at most outlets. A couple sportsbooks are listing Iowa as a 2-point favorite, so make sure to shop around if you’re looking to bet the Hawkeyes. Meanwhile, the total opened at 42.5 and has now dipped to 41.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.

Penn State vs Iowa picks

Picks made on 10/5/2021 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

Best college football bonuses

If you're signing up for a new sportsbook for the 2021 college football season, here are two of the best welcome bonuses available:

USA: Risk-free bet up to $5,000 at Caesars. Claim Now

Canada: Get up to $500 in free bets at Sports Interaction. Claim Now

Penn State vs Iowa game info

Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa Stadium, IA
Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET

Penn State vs Iowa betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.

Key injuries

Penn State: Hakeem Beamon DT (Questionable), Sal Wormley OL (Questionable).
Iowa: Ethan Hurkett DL (Out).

Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Nittany Lions are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 conference games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Penn State vs. Iowa.

Penn State vs Iowa predictions

This is really a battle between two incredible defenses. Iowa has allowed just 11.6 points per game along with just 271.4 yards per contest. On the flip side, Penn State has allowed 12 points per game and surrendered 314.2 yards per contest. 

Context is important here, though, as both of these teams have only played ranked opponents in two of their five contests, so their schedules haven't been the most difficult. That said, Penn State and Iowa both ended up winning those games and are still undefeated going into this showdown. 

Iowa is coming off a 51-14 win over Maryland as short favorites last Friday. Everything seemed to click in that road game and the Hawkeyes now have some real believers in them. The pass protection hasn’t been nearly as good as the Hawkeyes would’ve wanted by the time they reached the sixth game of the season but the run game has done wonders, averaging 126 yards per contest. 

The reality is, Iowa’s defense has been so dominant that the offense hasn’t had to go off. The Hawkeyes average just 320 yards on offense per game with less than 200 yards in the passing game behind Spencer Petras. 

Petras is more of a game manager than anything else. He’s thrown for just 943 yards in five games with seven touchdowns and one interception. He has improved compared to last season and is making better reads and throws. Still, he doesn’t have the playmaking talent that Penn State has on the offensive end.  

Penn State is averaging nearly 100 more yards on offense per game than Iowa under Sean Clifford, who has thrown for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions along with 1336 yards. 

Just like Iowa, the Penn State offense hasn’t had to go off, but it has been much more consistent than Iowa, especially in the passing game. 

Both defenses are elite, but Penn State has the better offense and has protected Clifford better in the pocket this season. I’ll go with the underdog, on the road, with the points for this matchup

I’m not confident in Iowa’s offense. Petras completed just 57.1 percent of his passes last season and threw five interceptions. While he has looked better this season — throwing for seven touchdowns, one interception, and completing 62 percent of passes — there is cause for concern going into this matchup behind an offensive line that grades poorly in pass protection.

In comparison, Clifford has completed 67.3 percent of passes this season and 70.8 percent of passes against AP Top-25 teams. 

Iowa and Penn State both have incredible secondaries but the Nittany Lions' pass rush should have more success against Iowa’s pass protection. That's going to prevent the Hawkeyes from scoring as many points as they have recently. 

Can either one of these teams reach over 21 points in this one? I don’t think so. This game has more of a Wisconsin-Penn State feel (a 16-10 win for the Nittany Lions) and we're backing the Under, despite the total being just 41.5. 

College football parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Penn State vs. Iowa picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Where can I bet on college football odds?

You can bet on college football odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NCAA moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals, and a ton of college football prop odds. Head over to our best football betting sites for the top spots to bet on college football odds in your area.

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo