New Year’s Day in Orlando looks delightful. Temps throughout the day will be in the 60s and partly cloudy. By game time, we will be into the high 60s, with a light wind out of the west. Not bad! Conversely, tomorrow’s weather in Iowa City is nearly 40 degrees colder.
You can do worse than 69 very nice degrees in the middle of the game.
This is where this thing goes off the rails. This game started with Tennessee as a 8.5-point favorite over Iowa. Then that weird interregnum between the regular season and the bowl season happened and players started opting out all over the country. As it pertains to this game, Tennessee was especially hard hit, losing several players in the secondary and their starting quarterback. Instead of Joe Milton, they will start 5-star true freshman Nico Iamaleava, the #1 overall recruit in On3’s 2023 rankings. That all screams “under” and possible upset - a true freshman against this Iowa defense seems like a recipe for confusion and turnovers on Tennessee’s end.
So with all of that now in play, the line has sunk down to Tennessee -5. The over/under has dropped to 36 as well - you know what to do there. It’s Iowa, plus Tennessee with a true freshman at quarterback - under, under, under. It’s just too bad Iowa’s offense isn’t a tiny bit better, especially in the pass game. Tennessee’s secondary is pretty bare bones after all of the opt outs. A normal Iowa offense would be able to take advantage, but the pass game is too poor to do that. I think Iowa can just edge this and do the rock fight thing they’re so good at now. If Tennessee is going to win this, they need to score early and knock Iowa out right away. Get up 10 or 14-0 and play keep away. If they don’t, it’s a game deep into the fourth quarter.
Line: Iowa +5 (-110/-110)
Moneyline: Iowa +185/Tennessee -225
Over/Under: 36 (-105/-115)
All lines courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.