The day before New Year’s Eve features an interesting matchup with the 19th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) of the Big 10 traveling to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ to take on the 19th ranked Oklahoma Sooners (9-3) of the Big 12 this Friday night (10:00pm ET) in the Insight Bowl. Iowa lost their season finale at Nebraska by a score of 20-7, losing as a 9 point underdog. Oklahoma struggled at the end of the season as well, dropping two of their last 3 games, including a 44-10 embarrassment at in-state rival Oklahoma St. as a 3.5 point underdog. Iowa is 5-7 ATS this season, while Oklahoma is 6-6 ATS in 2011.
The Hawkeyes’ offense averages 28.7 points per contest, to rank 53rd nationally while ranking 70th in total offense with an average of 379.2 yards per game. The Iowa defense has allowed 32.2 PPG, good for 42nd in the nation, while ranking 67th in total defense with 387.6 YPG allowed on average. The Sooners feature one of the most explosive offenses in the nation under quarterback Landry Jones (4,302 yards passing, 28 TDs, 14 INTs) ranking 10th nationally in scoring offense with 40.2 PPG and 4th in total offense with 532.1 YPG. The Sooner defense has had its share of problems, particularly in the secondary where they have allowed 243.6 YPG to rank 82nd in the nation in pass defense. The unit ranks 38th overall in scoring defense with 22.8 PPG allowed and 61st in total defense with an average of 383.2 YPG allowed.
Iowa vs. Oklahoma Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Iowa Hawkeyes +13.5
@Oklahoma Sooners -13.5
Over 57.5 (-110)
Under 57.5 (-110)
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Iowa vs. Oklahoma Pick:
Iowa is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games and 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 games as an underdog. Oklahoma is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The over is 5-0-1 in Iowa’s last 6 non-conference games and the under is 7-2 in their last 9 games against the Big 12 and 16-6-1 in their last 23 games as an underdog. The under is 10-2 in Oklahoma’s last 12 December games and 10-4 in their last 14 games on grass, the over is 4-1 in their last 5 bowl games. The two teams have no recent meetings.
Iowa is by no means a juggernaut offensively, but quarterback James Vandenberg (2,806 yards passing, 23 TDs, 6 INTs) has been efficient and avoids making costly mistakes. He also has a big-play receiver in Marvin McNutt (16.3 yards per reception, 12 TDs) who can attack an Oklahoma defense that was lit up for 485 yards and 4 TDs through the air in their loss to Baylor at the end of the season, and gave up 278 yards and an astounding 8.3 YPC to Oklahoma St. in their season finale. Oklahoma QB Landry Jones has struggled since the loss of receiver Ryan Broyles and running back Dominique Whaley, throwing 5 INTs and no touchdowns in the final three games of the regular season. The Hawkeyes should be able to remain competitive in this game, and with such a big cushion it is hard not to take them against an OU team that has struggled mightily toward the finish line. Oklahoma has been terrible ATS this season, and the Sooners have struggled in their recent bowl games as well which makes Iowa an attractive pick in this game. Take the Hawkeyes and the points here.