Record to date: 19-17, $2,275

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

Iowa -2

Another line under three points in an Iowa football game? That makes sense for the Hawkeyes’ final contest of the 2022 season.

As I have all year, I would implore bettors to explore their options with the moneyline before messing around with the spread. Iowa and Kentucky are currently -130 and +110 on the moneyline, respectively. Any moneyline bet will likely yield greater dividends than betting on a two-point spread. 

A thin spread like this one doesn’t really provide much of a safety net, so the Music City Bowl’s line is as risky as its moneyline. So, in my opinion, there’s minimal upside in betting this game’s spread.

For the sake of this, I like Iowa -2. Both of these teams are going to be playing with backup quarterbacks. Redshirt freshman Joe Labas and true freshman Carson May are battling for the Hawkeyes’ starting gig. Regardless of the winner of that competition, Iowa will be starting a quarterback that has never thrown a collegiate pass.

Senior Spencer Petras sustained an injury to his throwing arm in Iowa’s 24-17 loss to Nebraska on Nov. 25. Backup Alex Padilla entered the transfer portal on Nov. 29, leaving Labas and May as the Hawkeyes’ only options at QB.

Kentucky will probably start freshman Kaiya Sheron on Dec. 31 in Nashville. Starter Will Levis opted out of the Wildcats’ bowl game to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Sheron started one game this season while Levis was injured. He went 17-of-29 for 187 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in Kentucky’s 24-14 loss to South Carolina on Oct. 8.

With backup quarterbacks starting on both sides, I’m relying on Iowa’s defense to be good enough to create a two-point margin of victory for the Hawkeyes.

Under 31.5

This might be the easiest under bet of the year — which is surprising because lots of Iowa games have featured pretty safe unders.

I’ve jokingly said I’d play this under all the way down to 18 points because I just don’t see these teams scoring more than 17 points combined. A 10-7 final score makes sense for a game that will feature backup quarterbacks under center and defenses that rank inside the top 20 in the country.

The Hawkeyes are currently fourth in the nation in total defense. The Wildcats are rated 18th in that category.

Both offenses were even inept when their starters were available. Iowa and Kentucky ranked 130th and 106th in the nation, respectively, in total offense at the end of the regular season.

As Iowa has proven to bettors in many games this season, unders hit when bad offenses and great defenses collide.

Lock of the Week: Washington +5.5 vs. Texas

I think Washington might be one of the most disrespected teams in the country. The Huskies went 10-2 and finished third in the Pac-12.

Somehow, the Alamo Bowl was the best Washington could get. This contest should hardly even feel like an enjoyable postseason opportunity for the Huskies. After all, they’re traveling to San Antonio to take on the 8-4 Texas Longhorns.

Washington will basically be playing an extra road game come Dec. 29. Even with that in mind, I like the Huskies to cover.

Washington’s passing attack, led by Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr., is ranked No. 1 in the nation. Penix Jr. threw for 4,354 yards, 29 touchdowns, and seven interceptions this season. Even though he was arguably the best quarterback in the country this season, Penix Jr. finished eighth in the 2022 Heisman Trophy voting.

I think Penix Jr. will take the Heisman electorate’s vote and the line oddsmakers set for this game personally. He’ll probably shred Texas’ 88th-ranked pass defense and turn some heads in doing so.