Purdue vs. Iowa NCAAF Week 7: Potential Trap Game For No. 2 Hawkeyes?

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Spencer Petras #7 of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Greg Fiume/Getty Images/AFP

Off a huge win in the Big Ten Game of the Year against Penn State, No. 2 Iowa could be on upset alert Saturday at home vs. mediocre Purdue. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes 

Saturday, October 16, 2021 – 03:30 PM EDT at Kinnick Stadium 

Purdue-Iowa is televised by ABC and has big implications in the Big Ten West Division with the Hawkeyes leading it at 3-0 and the clear favorites to win it at BMR’s top-rated books, and Purdue still in the hunt at 1-1. The Boilers aren’t winning the West if they lose this game, but Iowa still very easily could

This series dates to 1910 and Purdue leads 49-39-2. The last three matchups have been decided by one score. Last year, the schools opened the season against one another – albeit in late October due to the pandemic delay – and the Boilermakers won 24-20 as 3-point home underdogs on the NCAAF odds

David Bell caught the game-winning six-yard TD pass from Aidan O’Connell with 2:15 left. O’Connell had a big game, throwing for 282 yards and three scores but two picks. Bell was a monster with 13 catches for 121 yards and three scores. Iowa had just 265 yards with two turnovers and 10 penalties. The road team is 9-2 against the spread in the past 11 meetings. 

Bell Uncoverable For Boilers 

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm entered the year on a bit of a hot seat with three straight losing seasons following a 7-6 debut in 2017, and he’s not off it yet with the Boilers at 3-2 coming off a bye week.  They were 1.5-point favorites on the NCAAF odds at home last time out on Oct. 2 and upset by Minnesota 20-13. Purdue was blanked in the second half for the first time in two years.

It dominated for the most part statistically with 448 yards and 28 first downs but had two turnovers, including a crucial interception by Aidan O'Connell. He did throw for 371 yards and a score. O’Connell had come off the bench the previous two games behind Jack Plummer but started against the Gophers. Not clear yet who will start at Iowa. 

The best receiver in the country might be junior David Bell. He caught six passes for 120 yards, his 13th game with 100 yards since 2019 – most in the country. That’s No. 2 in program history behind John Standeford’s 14. Bell also became the 12th player in school history to top 2,000 career receiving yards. When Bell has 120 or fewer receiving yards since the start of last year, Purdue is 0-6. 

Running back Zander Horvath remains out after suffering a broken leg early in the season vs. UConn. WR Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen also remains out, but tight end Payne Durham and cornerback Corey Trice are expected back. Durham 18 catches for 209 yards and three touchdowns. 

This will be Purdue’s 16th all-time game vs. the No. 2 team in the nation. The Boilers are 5-10 in the first 15 but won the last one in 2018 vs. Ohio State. The Boilermakers are 0-7 ATS on NCAAF picks in their past seven Big Ten games.

Iowa: From Unranked To Title Contender  

Following a 23-20 home comeback win over then-No. 4 Penn State last Saturday, Iowa (6-0) rose to No. 2 in the AP and USA Today polls, the school’s highest ranking since also being No. 2 on Nov. 26, 1985. The school spent five weeks at No. 1 that year as well. To win the national title on BetOnline’s  (visit our BetOnline Review) NCAAF future odds, Iowa is +2200 and +230 to make the playoff for the first time. 

In all honesty, Iowa likely would have lost that game if Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford hadn’t been knocked out injured in the second quarter and didn’t return. PSU had 221 yards and 17 points with Clifford under center but just 66 yards and zero points the rest of the way.  

It was Iowa’s 12th straight win overall (outscoring opponents by more than 23 points per) and sixth in a row vs. ranked opponents. Only Alabama with nine has more consecutive wins over ranked opponents.  No question that Kirk Ferentz’s team wins with defense. The Hawkeyes picked off four Penn State passes and lead the country with 16 picks, 20 total takeaways, and a plus-15 turnover margin.

Iowa has scored 78 points off takeaways. It ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense (13.0 ppg) and ninth in total defense (274.2 ypg). QB Spencer Petras began his starting career in 2020 with two losses but hasn’t lost since. In the 12-game winning streak, he has 17 TD passes and only four interceptions. 

While I do see a letdown initially for Iowa and probably would take Purdue on the first-half line, the Hawkeyes will pull away eventually and win by at least two TDs. They are 5-1 ATS on the NCAAF odds in their past six as favorites.  

NCAAF Pick: Iowa  -11.5 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Iowa -11.5 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.