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No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 4 Penn State picks and best bets for Week 6

The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes meet in Iowa City for a Top 5 fistfight.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The most important game of Saturday’s college football schedule will be in the center of Big Ten country as the No. 3 Penn State Nittany Lions travel west to Iowa City to meet the No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes for a top-five tussle. The game will kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Fox.

Penn State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) is proving that their struggles from 2020 was confined to 2020 and they remained undefeated last week with a 24-0 squash of Indiana. Quarterback Sean Clifford didn’t have the most efficient day through the day, but he was productive by throwing for three touchdowns, two of them going to Jahan Dotson. The defense picked of IU Michael Penix Jr. twice and limited the Hoosiers to just 69 rushing yards total. PSU is yielding just 4.3 yards per play this season.

Iowa (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) has mastered the art of winning ugly, as usual, but absolutely hammered Maryland on the road last Friday night for a 51-14 beatdown. The mean Hawkeye defense picked off Taulia Tagovailoa five times and added more insult to injury with Jay Higgins recovering an additional two fumbles. The Iowa defense is a top-five unit this season, yielding just 271.4 yards a game on 4.1 yards per play.

This is the first top-five game in the Big Ten not involving Michigan or Ohio State since the 1962 showdown between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!

SP+ Rankings

Penn State: 6th overall, 23rd offense, 5th defense
Iowa: 15th overall, 72nd offense, 4th defense

Injury update

Penn State

DT Hakeem Beamon Out For Season – Undisclosed
OL Sal Wormley Ques Sat – Undisclosed


DL Ethan Hurkett Out Indefinitely – Leg


Against The Spread

Penn State: 4-1 ATS
Iowa: 4-1 ATS


Penn State: Over 1-4
Iowa: Over 1-4

Returning/Overall Talent from 247Sports

Penn State: 13th overall, 14th offense, 10th defense
Iowa: 42nd overall, 38th offense, 44th defense

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Iowa -1.5
Total: 40.5
Moneyline: Iowa -130, Penn State +110

Opening line: Iowa -1.5
Opening total: 42.5


81 degrees, 15 MPH winds SE, cloudy

The Pick

Over 40.5

This has all the makings for a physical, Big Ten slog that’s dictated by two of the top defenses in the nation. However, 40.5 is a low enough bar for both offense to clear.

Iowa’s Spencer Petras and Penn State’s Sean Clifford haven’t been the most crisp quarterbacks, but they do just enough to move both respective offenses along. They’ll both turn the ball over a few times given the defenses, but that’ll give the other offense an opportunity to score with good field position to work with in that particular series. This will be a 23-20 type of contest with the over barely cashing.

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