The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions have had some memorable contests over the past couple years and by all accounts the week 4 Iowa at Penn State betting matchup should be no different. Kirk Ferentz and James Franklin both have their programs out to a 3-0 start, with Iowa sitting at #22 and PSU way up to #7 in the country.
Most people are resigned to the fact that Saturday night’s game is going to be a grind. The Hawkeyes have won the last two in the series, but Penn State had a 6-game win streak prior to that. These two clubs met in 2021 with #3 Iowa beating the #4 Nittany Lions 23-20 at Kinnick Stadium and the 2023 version has a very similar feeling to that meeting even though PSU is a -14 point favorite.
Why Iowa Has Value at +14
Simply put that’s a lot of points for the Hawkeyes to be getting in a game that many people will be the usual grind-it-out, running and defensive battle synonymous with Iowa vs Penn State. The names and faces have changed, but Iowa has won two straight in the series while PSU’s last three wins over Ferentz have come by 2, 5, and 6 points.
The Hawkeyes got more of a battle than they thought they would in the 24-14 season opening victory over Utah State as -24 point favorites, but since then they’ve covered -3.5 at Iowa State (20-13) and last week topped Western Michigan 41-10 to beat the -28.5 number.
The Iowa defense has been its usual great self this year, giving up 12.3 ppg which is 15th best in the country. The Hawkeyes have a new QB in Cade McNamara, and although his early numbers aren’t impressive (53.5%, 4 TD, 3 INT) he has plenty of experience playing Penn State from his three years spent at Michigan.
Why Penn State Has Value at -14
Just playing the line alone, oddsmakers must see something in making the Nittany Lions 2 TD favorites in the week 4 Iowa at Penn State betting matchup mostly because the PSU QB play wasn’t great last Saturday. Drew Allar was just 16/33 for 208 yards at Illinois, but just to show how deep and talented the Nittany Lions are they still picked up a 30-13 win and covered the -14 point spread.
Now that Allar has his 2023 Big Ten opener out of his system, maybe he’ll be better against Iowa especially back at home. PSU does run for over 200 yards/game, but the Hawkeyes are also traditionally strong in the trenches. The O/U for Saturday’s tilt is just 38.5, so it’s projected to be a real war of attrition.
Regardless of how their offense plays on Saturday, Penn State should be able to rattle McNamara as the Hawkeyes play their first game out of the state this season. The Nittany Lions are 10th in the country allowing just 11.7 ppg and rank 16th in total offense (267.3).
Free Week 4 Iowa at Penn State Betting Pick
A nice contrarian play for this game would be on the over, because everybody is expecting a real defensive struggle (O/U 38.5). That’s not a bad approach, but 14 points is just too many to give in this series.
Free Pick: Iowa +14