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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Open as Road Favorites at Rutgers

Vegas has Iowa on top in another low-scoring affair.

NCAA Football: Wagner at Rutgers
Greg Schiano has his team playing a familiar style of football.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes endured a four hour weather delay on Saturday night to emerge from the non-conference slate with a 2-1 record thanks to a 27-0 win over the Nevada Wolfpack. While the raw numbers aren’t incredibly remarkable in the context of what Incarnate Word was able to do against Nevada the week prior, what we saw from the Iowa offense was undoubtedly better than anything we had seen this season to-date before Saturday.

It wasn’t enough to prop the Hawkeyes out of the last spot nationally in total offense, but it did move Iowa from worst to almost worst (124th out of 131 teams) in scoring offense. And apparently that was enough for our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook to like them quite a bit over their next opponent, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Despite Rutgers coming in average a full three touchdowns more per game than Iowa and entering the matchup 3-0, DraftKings opened Sunday with a line of Iowa -7.5 over the Knights. That’s a pretty hefty number for a road team, especially one that has as many hours of weather delays this season as it does offensive touchdowns.

That lack of offensive production is the cause for a laughably low over/under total points. Iowa has hit on the under in each of their first three weeks and Vegas continues to push the number lower each successive week trying to find a number the Hawkeyes can’t get under.

At first glance, it might seem like 35.5 is finally that number, but it’s worth noting no Iowa game has even touched 30 total points this season. And while Rutgers is averaging nearly 35 points per game on their own, they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of defenses. Boston College and Temple are respectable at 55th and 47th nationally - though Rutgers only averaged 19 points per game in those two contests. Wagner, who the Knights hung 66 points on, ranks 116th out of 123 FCS schools in scoring defense.

All this to say, while the arrow is perhaps pointing in the right direction for the Iowa offense, Vegas thinks this one should be another low-scoring affair. And for good reason. Neither offense has shown an ability to put up points against quality opponents and both defenses have proven adept at keeping points off the board (the two teams are allowing a combined 18.4 points per game on defense).

Iowa and Rutgers are set to kick off at 6pm CT on Saturday evening. The game will be televised on FS1.