With uncertainty at quarterback, the Iowa Hawkeyes will host the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET) in Big Ten Conference play.
Oddsmakers were quick to back the Hawkeyes, pricing them as 3.5-point favorites. That line is now down to -2.5 (-110), with the moneyline at -135. Conversely, Purdue is +2.5 (-110) and +115 to win outright. The projected total is 41 (-110 Over, -110 Under).
Read on as we break down both teams in our Purdue vs Iowa preview.
Date/Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa
The Purdue Boilermakers are 2-3 against the spread this season and 2-5 over their last seven games. The total has gone Over in five of the Boilermakers’ previous seven games. Meanwhile, the Iowa Hawkeyes are 2-2-1 ATS this season. The total has gone Under in seven of their last 10 games, including five of the previous six against Purdue.
That’s important to remember when assessing the odds in our Purdue vs Iowa preview.
Injury Clouds Iowa’s Outlook
The Iowa Hawkeyes bounced back Saturday by beating Michigan State 26-16. The Hawkeyes outscored the Spartans 13-0 in the fourth quarter to rally and salvage a push on the 10-point spread. They also covered the projected point total of 36.5 in the process.
Tied 16-16, Cooper DeJean returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown to put the Hawkeyes ahead for good with 3:45 remaining. They’re now 4-1 on the season, including 1-1 in Big Ten Conference play. With a manageable NCAAF schedule remaining, the Hawkeyes appear well on their way to cashing in on 7.5 regular season wins. They aren’t scheduled to play a ranked team for the rest of the season, although Wisconsin (Oct. 14) could certainly fight its way back in the mix.
As is usually the case, Iowa will need to step up offensively to make serious noise during bowl season. The Hawkeyes are averaging a modest 22.2 points through five games. But in their biggest test to date, Sept. 23 against Penn State, they managed only 76 yards and were shut out. Now, they are dealing with an injury to quarterback Cade McNamara.
McNamara hurt his left knee during the first half of Saturday’s win and did not return. The Michigan transfer, who had completed 3 of 5 passes for 46 yards, later appeared on crutches. Deacon Hill, a Wisconsin transfer, replaced McNamara and led Iowa to its first scoring drive.
Hill finished 11 of 27 with 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception. If Hill needs to take over for an extended stretch, Iowa will have an awfully difficult time competing with the top college football teams. Keep that in mind when analyzing the odds in our Purdue vs Iowa preview.
Signs of Progress for Purdue
The Purdue Boilermakers hammered Illinois 44-19 on Saturday to improve to 2-3 under first-year head coach Ryan Walters. A 1-point underdog, Purdue outscored the Fighting Illini 28-6 in the second half to cover the spread for the second time in five games this season. They also hit the Over (53.5) for the third time.
It was an encouraging bounce-back performance by Hudson Card. The Texas transfer completed 69.2% of his passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he did not toss an interception for the first time since Sept. 9. The Boilermakers also got 112 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown on the ground from Tyrone Tracy Jr.
Not much is expected of Purdue. The Boilermakers were projected for just 5.0 wins. Getting there will be difficult, especially with Ohio State and Michigan on the slate over the next month. As it is, the Boilermakers have had enough trouble against lesser competition in Fresno State and Syracuse.
Walters has the Boilermakers are headed in the right direction. But it’ll take time for him to bring in his own recruits and fully implement his plan. Right now, the Boilermakers are still a lower-tiered Big Ten team.
Handicapping the Game
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding Iowa. McNamara’s injury seemed ominous. If he’s unable to go, Iowa may struggle to muster up much offense. They still should do enough to cover by a field goal, but his health is the main reason why this spread isn’t any larger.
If anything, the Under of 41.5 points is enticing.
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