BY Mark Kern | Home Field Sports
The Ohio State Buckeyes look to continue their march to the Big Ten championship as they play host to the struggling Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Iowa has been terrific on defense this year, giving up only 9.83 points per game, which ranks third in the NCAA behind Illinois (8.86) and Georgia (9.14). The defense has given up only five touchdowns the entire season, which is tied with Illinois and Georgia for the fewest in the country. But now that defense will be facing the best offense in all of college football.
Ohio State’s attack is ranked first in the country at 48.8 points per game and is tied with Alabama for first at 41 touchdowns. Everything with Ohio State starts with quarterback CJ Stroud, who is tied for first nationally with Drake Maye of North Carolina with 24 touchdown passes (and Maye has played seven games, one more than Stroud). The Buckeyes also possess the No. 10 scoring defense (15.7).
Caesars Sportsbook lists the Buckeyes as 29-point favorites with an over/under of 49.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Iowa Hawkeyes at Ohio State Buckeyes
Time/TV: Noon Saturday, FOX
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Ohio State -29
Money line: Iowa +2200, Ohio State -15000
Analysis: It has been extremely tough for the Iowa offense to get rolling, and the issues start with quarterback Spencer Petras. He has thrown for just 939 yards (tied for 106th) and two touchdowns (tied for 124th) and is completing only 54.1% of his passes. While the Hawkeyes have had struggles in the passing game for years, the ground game has usually picked up the slack. That hasn’t been the case this year, as the team is averaging only 82.3 yards rushing.
While Iowa has a major weakness, the Buckeyes appear to have no weaknesses at all. To compare the two offenses, Ohio State running back Miyan Williams has rushed for 497 yards, more than Iowa’s entire offense (493). Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. (536 yards receiving, nine touchdowns) is second on the team to Emeka Egbuka (655 yards receiving, six touchdowns), but Harrison is regarded by many as the best wide receiver in college football.
Sometimes clashing styles can make for exciting games, but this isn’t one of them. The Hawkeyes haven’t been this big of an underdog since 2000 against Nebraska (41.5), and quite frankly, the spread still might be low. Look for the Buckeyes to cover and hit the over by themselves.
Prediction: Ohio State 55, Iowa 10