The Rose Bowl may have lost a bit of its luster with the college football playoff system, as it’s no longer the goal of teams heading into the season, but it’s not a bad consolation prize for those teams who miss out on making it to college football’s version of the final four.
This year’s matchup is an interesting one, as Stanford faces Iowa and the Cardinal are favored by 6.5 and the total has climbed to 53.
Friday 1/1/2016 5:00 PM
Stanford Cardinal -6.5 -105
Vs Iowa Hawkeyes +6.5 -105
Over 53 -105
Under 53 -105
Betting odds provided by 5Dimes
The first thing that comes to mind in this game is how Iowa will handle the disappointment of missing out on the playoffs after falling to Michigan State 16-13 in the Big Ten championship game in the final minute of play. But for all practical purposes, the Hawkeyes look happy to be here and are expecting just as many, if not more, fans than Stanford for their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1990. Let’s face it, if you’re from Iowa City you look for any reason to head to Southern California in the winter, as Pasadena is expected to be 42-degrees warmer on New Year’s Day.
Stanford will have the best player on the field in Christian McCaffrey and he’s obviously going to be the focal point of the Iowa defense. McCaffrey is a dual threat rushing the ball or coming out of the backfield and was the team’s leading receiver with 41 receptions. He’ll also return kickoffs and punts and the Cardinal will look to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.
Stanford played a tougher schedule than Iowa, as the Hawkeyes were able to avoid both Ohio State and Michigan, and the teams have comparable scoring margins, with Stanford scoring a bit more and allowing a few more points per game.
The Hawkeyes’ leading running back Jordan Canzeri isn’t nearly as feared as McCaffrey, but his absence against Michigan State was noticeable after he was hurt. The Hawkeyes have several other backs that see the ball quite a bit and Iowa did score more rushing touchdowns on the season than Stanford.
Defensively, Stanford isn’t bad at all, holding opponents to 7.2 fewer points than they average, while Iowa was 6.5 points better than average. Stanford did allow 4.6 yards per rush against teams that averaged 4.6 yards per carry, while Iowa held teams that averaged 4.1 yards per rush to 3.4 yards per carry. Stanford was 0-3 ATS when they allowed more than 200 rushing yards against Northwestern, Oregon and Notre Dame.
The only team both faced was Northwestern, who stunned the Cardinal 16-6, and then were trounced by Iowa 40-10, as the Hawkeyes allowed the Wildcats just 51 yards on the ground.
Kevin Hogan rates a slight edge over Iowa’s CJ Beathard, but the difference isn’t all that great, as Hogan’s completion percentage is boosted by throwing the ball to McCaffrey. Both quarterbacks are decent runners and can make things happen on the ground.
This is a game that could very well be decided late in the fourth quarter and have to think the Hawkeyes will find a way to keep it close, so will grab the points with the underdog.
The Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes +6.5
Best Place to bet this game is 5Dimes.
e sure to look under "Reduced Juice" to get the -105 lines
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