Spread Depends On QB
Quarterback Cade McNamara is cleared to make his debut in an Iowa uniform when the Hawkeyes begin the season as a big favorite in the college football odds against visiting Utah State.
McNamara threw for 2,576 yards along with 15 touchdowns for Michigan in 2021 before losing his job to J.J. McCarthy and deciding to transfer. However, the 6-foot-1 senior struggled with a quad injury early in the preseason and is likely a game-time decision, making it difficult for spread betters Saturday.
Kirk Ferentz tonight on Cade McNamara: “We’ll take it right up to game time, but we’re expecting him to go.”
— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) August 31, 2023
The Hawkeyes finished last season with five wins in six games, including a 21-0 win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl, and we think they are a very good bet to go over their team win total of eight this season. McNamara will give them some juice on offense to go along with their usual stingy defense.
Utah State is rebuilding a bit after going 6-7 and losing to Memphis in the First Responder Bowl, but it has senior quarterback Cooper Legas back. Expect the Aggies to struggle early, though.
Iowa, meanwhile, is +1200 (fifth) to win the powerful Big Ten in the Vegas College Football odds.
Aggies Tough Call for Bettors
Utah State has made it to five Bowl games in the last six years and the over/under for wins for the Aggies this season in the Las Vegas odds is five.
A veteran at quarterback gives Utah State some hope, though. Legas threw for 1,499 yards in 2022 with 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions while rushing for 303 yards and two scores. Legas was sacked 21 times, so with better line protection perhaps he can do more.
Sophomore running back Robert Briggs Jr. is the top ground gainer back after registering 353 yards and a TD. Senior Terrell Vaughn may be the best offensive weapon after recording 56 receptions and 624 yards with six TDs (one rushing).
Utah State’s defense could be better later in the season, but should have a tough time against the Hawkeyes.
The Aggies were 0-4 ATS in their last four road games in 2022, according to NCAA football lines.
Iowa Defense Keeps Teams Under
The Hawkeyes will have to be more than McNamara to become a factor in the Big Ten race and they have some solid performers back.
Iowa’s defense helped over bettors go 9-4 in their sport bets last season. Junior defensive back Cooper DeJean leads the Hawkeyes after pulling in five interceptions last year and punter Tory Taylor gives them another weapon to keep teams in bad field position.
McNamara is key to everything and your sports betting would all change if he is held out for the opener. The status of backup Joe Labas (undisclosed) is also uncertain, so it’s possible sophomore Deacon Hill would get the start.
Sophomore Kaleb Johnson ran for 779 yards and six TDs last season while junior Leshon Williams had 413 and two, respectively. Junior tight end Luke Lachey and senior Nico Ragaini combined for 62 catches and 784 yards in 2022. Ragaini is questionable with an undisclosed injury.
You won’t win much if you bet Iowa to win. The Hawkeyes are -4750 in the college football live betting.
Utah State vs Iowa Head-to-Head
Iowa is 2-0 all time against the Aggies, winning 48-7 in 2002 and 70-14 in 1957 – both at home.
Utah State’s last game against a Big Ten team was a 38-31 defeat at Michigan State to open 2018.
Utah State vs Iowa Game Information
- Game: Utah State (0-0) vs Iowa (0-0)
- Day/Time: Saturday, Sept. 2, 12 p.m. ET
- Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa.
- Utah State vs Iowa Live Stream: ESPN
Utah State vs Iowa Betting Lines
Utah State vs Iowa Game Weather Conditions
The forecast is for mostly sunny skies with the temperature getting as high as 93 degrees and little wind.
Utah State vs Iowa Best Bets
McNamara could make it a fun day for the fans and coach Kirk Ferentz. We predict a 41-10 score, but if McNamara plays less or not at all, you may see something like 27-10. Expect the Hawkeyes to win your bet if the college football line stays around 23-25 or less and McNamara plays a lot.
However, due to the questions surrounding McNamara’s status, the over will be a tougher wager to win because Iowa’s defense may shut down the Aggies. We think it would be a scary bet in your Saturday parlays.
- Pick: Iowa -23½ (-110)