It’s been a solid start to the college basketball campaign for the state of Iowa, with both the #24 Hawkeyes (6-2) and #20 Cyclones (7-1) finding their way into the top 25. Thursday’s Iowa State at Iowa betting matchup has the intensity in this in-state rivalry that you usually find in the Fall when these two teams meet up on the football field.
The Hawkeyes might need to do some work to stay in the top 25, losing to Duke 74-62 on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic in New York and with another tough matchup with Wisconsin on Sunday. ISU’s lone loss this year came against UConn who is up to #5 in the rankings, but the Cyclones are still +6.5 underdogs in this meeting.
Iowa State is Battle Tested
The trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena presents a tough challenge for the Cyclones, but this is a team that has tested itself this season. The Cyclones beat Villanova 81-79 in OT at the Phil Knight Invitational, but the Wildcats are also having a down year at just 3-5.
After the win over Villanova, ISU posted their signature win of the season knocking off then #1 North Carolina 70-65 behind a 31-point outing from Caleb Grill and another 22 from Jaren Holmes. The Cyclones suffered their only loss of the season 71-53 to UConn in the Phil Knight Invitational Championship, but the Huskies are also 9-0 this season.
Iowa State’s success has come largely on the defensive end, as they rank 13th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. That defense will be put to the test against a Hawkeyes team averaging 83.4 ppg.
Bounce Back Time for Hawkeyes
Iowa has two losses this season, both to top 25 teams. They fell 77-69 to TCU (6-1) in the Emerald Coast Classic and most recently 74-62 against Duke at Madison Square Garden in the Hawkeyes’ worst offensive output of the season.
The defeats to both TCU and Duke came on neutral courts, and the Hawkeyes are back home for the Iowa State at Iowa betting matchup where they are 4-0 on the season. Holmes and Grill are both capable of big games for the Cyclones, but Iowa should have the best player on the court on Thursday night in Kris Murray who is averaging 19.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Murray recently exploded for 31 points and 20 rebounds against Clemson, but was held to 8/7 in the loss to Duke this week.
54% of the public is taking Iowa State in this matchup, and +6.5 points seems like a lot in a rivalry matchup but games between these two teams have rarely been close in recent years. Then #17 Iowa State picked up a 73-53 win last week in Ames, and Iowa had won the previous three meetings all by at least 14 points.
Free Iowa State at Iowa Betting Pick
Murray is a beast and has big game potential, but Iowa State has been dominant in all five of their non-conference home wins and had a great showing at the Phil Knight Invitational. It wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Cyclones pulled this off outright, so therefore getting +6.5 points is the way to go.
Free Pick: Iowa State +6.5