Did you know sports gambling is now legal in the state of Iowa? Finally we can stop the ridiculous ceremony of giving the door guy at Deadwood a secret handshake in order to make a trip to the betting parlor, and instead place wagers from the comfort of the glamorous floor of Rivers Casino and other such establishments.
We already talked a little about what Vegas thinks of Iowa’s chances this year: not great! BUT we haven’t talked about the fake made up propositions from my own head. So that’s what we’re gonna do here.
I’m playing oddsmaker for a few tasty bets that don’t exist anywhere of actual gambling legitimacy.
Iowa Wins O/U: 7.5
We are taking the OVER boys and girl(s) (?).
So this is a real wager you can actually… wage. I said in the above link I like the over, but in most places this number has actually been bet up to 8.5, which is pretty significant steam, as the sharps call it.
The problem is, I LOVE the over for 7.5 wins just because I think Iowa can cruise to 8 wins pretty handily as they’re wont to do. Things get hairy with that 8.5 number, however, because you’re gonna need 9 wins to cash that ticket and I don’t really see that happening.
So, let’s call the over if you can find 7.5. If you can’t, call a loved one.
AJ Epenesa Sacks O/U: 11.5
The first of many of my fake bets, I’m setting the line at sacks this season for AJ Epenesa at 11.5.
I picked that number because it’s the most sacks an individual player has had for Iowa in the past 10 years (Adrian Clayborn, 2009). You’ll notice that number is only one sack greater than the 10.5 AJE logged in 2019. You’ll also notice that after his terror monster campaign in 2009, Clayborn notched precisely (checks notes) 3 ½ sacks in 2010. That’s a drop in production of about 70 percent (?) and that’s why I’m taking the UNDER here.
I think by just about every measure we’re going to be disappointed by AJE this season. It pains me to say it, but he’s going to get double teamed by everyone and his stats will suffer a la Clayborn. Other players like Chauncey Gholston will have the opportunity to thrive, but I’m predicting a down year in the stats sheet for AJE. His impact will still be profound as teams have to scheme around him, but let’s be ready for when he doesn’t break every sack record under the sun.
Nate Stanley O/U: Yards/TDs/Completion %
Yards — 2800: UNDER
I think Iowa’s receiving situation will be a complete and total disaster this year. Nate Stanley had just over 2,800 passing yards last year with two first-round draft picks at tight end on the roster. They’re gone. His numbers are gonna dip.
Also, an Iowa quarterback hasn’t passed for 3,000 yards since 2011. And that was with Marvin McNutt on the roster.
Touchdowns — 26: UNDER
Stanley has thrown for 26 touchdowns in each season as a starter. Third time is NOT the charm.
Completion Percentage — 60%: UNDER
Iowa Defense Total Sacks O/U: 30
We’ve established that 30 sacks is a solid barometer to assess a really good Iowa defense. Last year’s team had 35, most of the Ferentz era. 2017 had 29. The 2015 and 2009 teams each had 30.
The 2012 team logged 13 sacks.
I’m taking the UNDER.
With the departure of Anthony Nelson, a guy who had 9.5 sacks himself, I think Iowa has a tough time reaching 30, especially with all the attention AJE is going to draw. I could see Phil’s defense still getting to the QB 28 or 29 times, but 30 sacks or more seems like a great white buffalo, but I’d like Amani Jones and Gholston and everyone else to prove me wrong.
Iowa Scoring Defense: O/U 19 ppg
Even if Iowa doesn’t hit 30 sacks this year, this defense can still be downright salty. Iowa’s defense allowed 17.8 ppg last year, 20 ppg in ‘17 and just under 19 in ‘16. The 12-0 team allowed 20, and that includes the Fake Rose Bowl, so I like the trajectory we’re looking at here.
I’m going to be generous, set the line at 19 points ppg allowed by Iowa’s D, and take the UNDER.
The under is actually a good thing this time!
Iowa Scoring Offense: O/U 28 PPG
Iowa’s defense is going to be great this year, but it probably won’t matter, because this offense will cross the goal line about as often as I go on a date. I’m not holding my breath for a lot of scoring this fall.
ANYWAY, for context, last year’s team scored 31 ppg (that number drops to 26((!!!)) when you remove the Illinois game). The 2017 team was able to muster just over 28 ppg thanks to Akrum Wadley. I keep on thinking of this team as being close to 2014, so we’re gonna follow that lead and score UNDER 28.2 points a game.
Iowa Yards Per Carry: O/U 4 YPC
Iowa hasn’t averaged over 4 yards/carry in two years, and that ain’t changing this year.
So, is this just another pessimists guide? Maybe. But at least I made it seem like it was loosely based around gambling this time!