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Iowa State @ Iowa -3½
Kinnick Stadium – Iowa City, IA
Streaming: Big Ten Network
4:00 PM EST. We love Week 2 because it is often ripe with opportunities due to overreactions to Week 1 results. There may perhaps be no team susceptible to an overreaction in a bad way than the Iowa Hawkeyes, which presents us with the perfect buy-low spot here.
The Hawkeyes opened up as high as an 18-point favorite playing host to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and we had the Hawks pegged as a fade target in our initial write-ups, until of course the efficient market made its presence felt and bet the Rabbits down to a 10½-point pup. We were not going to post a wager on a bad number on Saturday.
Despite the red flags that come from this phenomenon, the efficient market got one right, as the Hawkeyes were nowhere near close to covering when they defeated South Dakota State 7-3. While we could easily chalk up the result to Iowa getting into a rock fight with a FCS title contender in the Jackrabbits, the talking point of this contest was the offensive ineptitude on display for audiences in Iowa City and abroad. You see, Iowa won the game by virtue of special teams essentially, as they cashed in on good punting from All-American punter Tory Taylor and manufactured points via two safeties. Otherwise, the Hawks exchanged field goals with South Dakota State and the game may still be playing now had the intangibles mentioned not influence the final outcome. Long story short, not a good look for the Hawkeyes. In fact, it’s a miserable, miserable look.
Enter Iowa State who has been hungry for a win in the Battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy, as their drought against their arch nemesis will extend to eight years if they don’t cash in on the “best chance to get Iowa” here and now. The number presented is a direct indication that the thinkers behind this figure don’t suspect that the Cyclones will get the job done.
What really sticks out to us is the “hook” that the oddsmakers put on a key number like 3. Iowa could barely muster three points last week against South Dakota State and now they’re being asked to spot -3½ in this bitter rivalry game? The market has very quickly jumped on the hook and bitten the bait thus rendering the Cyclones a public dog, which is another reason to be very leery of accepting the offer.
We almost always leave out the X’s and O’s because it means jack. We’ll leave the predictions to guys like Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, two guys that are correct once out of five times. Instead, we are acutely aware of the overreaction to Iowa’s poor performance but even more aware of the number (-3½). Why would the books hang a -3½ instead of a -3? Why? There are times when nothing else matters except the number. There are times when you simply play the number and hope for the best because it is the prudent move. This is one of those times.
Iowa -3½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)