Don’t Fall For The Trap, BET Iowa Vs. Iowa State Saturday

There’s a saying in sports betting that goes “Public ‘dogs get slaughtered.” This applies to the Iowa State Cyclones (1-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) matchup Saturday at the Hawkeyes’ home turf, Kinnick Stadium.

According to VSIN, here are the betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook for Iowa State-Iowa as of Tuesday afternoon:

From DraftKings Sportsbook via VSIN as Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Circa Sports in Las Vegas made the Cyclones a 3-point favorite for the Iowa State-Iowa opener this past weekend. Circa is a “market-making” shop whose opening lines most sportsbooks copy.

So, let’s get this straight: Sportsbooks are making the more popular side cheaper? This is your quintessential trap line by the oddsmakers and everyone is falling for it. Furthermore, I’m comfy fading the betting public in this spot since I can reverse engineer its pro-Iowa State handicap.

I’d consider waiting closer to kickoff because if money keeps pouring in on Iowa State +3.5 (-110) we might get a flat-3 for Iowa.

But, IOWA HAWKEYES -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook is the right side based on a couple of other factors.

Iowa Hawkeye fans react during the match-up between Iowa and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

‘Recency Bias’

Iowa squeaked past the FCS South Dakota State Jackrabbits 7-3 in Week 1 as 10.5-point home favorites. But, how Iowa got the 7 is hilarious. The Hawkeyes made a field goal and scored two safeties. Their offense no-showed Saturday.

On the other hand, Iowa State blew the doors off the FCS Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 42-10. This matchup looked a lot more like a Power 5 program vs. an FCS program than South Dakota State-Iowa.

However, I’m throwing out Week 1’s results and trusting the Iowa and Iowa State preseason priors. The bottom line is casual college football bettors are overreacting to one game. In fact, DraftKings Sportsbook opened Iowa as 6-point favorites this offseason, according to WagerTalk.com.

Football Outsiders projected Iowa to finish 17th in schedule-based net efficiency and Iowa State, 30th. Pro Football Focus power ranks the Hawkeyes 22nd and the Cyclones 33rd. But, Iowa State’s projection by these football nerds is too generous.

Iowa State has never recruited better than Iowa. More importantly, Iowa State has the 4th-worst return of production out of 131 charted FBS programs, per ESPN’s Bill Connelly. Whereas Iowa ranks 27th.

The Cyclones are replacing a four-year starter at quarterback (Brock Purdy), one of the conference’s best running backs (Breece Hall) and a three-year starter at tight end (Charlie Kolar).

Also, there’s value in fading Iowa State’s hipster football program and wunderkind head coach Matt Campbell.

Iowa State Cyclones coach Matt Campbell and Iowa Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.(David K Purdy/Getty Images).

New-School Matt Campbell Vs. Old-School Kirk Ferentz

Campbell has been considered an up-and-coming head coaching prospect since making Iowa State’s football program respectable. Allegedly, Campbell turned down the Detroit Lions prior to them offering Dan Campbell the head coaching role.

Either way, Iowa State was a sleeper to win the Big XII last season since the Cyclones returned a ton of production. But, the Cyclones significantly underperformed and finished 7-6. This year’s Iowa State roster is a bunch of replacements that aren’t four- or five-star recruits.

However, Ferentz has been one of college football’s steadiest coaches over the years. Ferentz is a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. Iowa has won 10 or more games in seven of Ferentz’s 23 seasons as head coach and has appeared in 18 bowl games (9-9).

Finally, Iowa is 5-0 straight up and 3-1-1 against the spread vs. Iowa State since Campbell took over the Cyclones in 2016. The Hawkeyes are winning those games 28.8-16.2 on average.

College football pundits are in love with what Campbell could be while underrating Ferentz’s consistency. We are seeing that play out in the betting market, which I’ll happily fade here.


Run over to DraftKings Sportsbook and BET IOWA HAWKEYES -3.5 (-110).

  • A $110 bet on Iowa -3.5 (-110) returns a $100 profit if the Hawkeyes beat Iowa State +3.5 (-110) by four or more points.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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