The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Weekly Wager | The Daily Iowan’s official bettor’s guide for Week 1 of the Iowa football season

Each week during the Iowa football season, Daily Iowan Pregame Editor Matt McGowan and Action Network College Football Editor Pete Ruden will place three hypothetical bets of $100. Their picks are listed below and will be tracked throughout the year.
Jerod Ringwald
Iowa wide receiver Nico Ragaini (89) runs after a reception during a football game between Iowa and Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

Pete Ruden’s Picks

Iowa -25

I don’t love laying a number this big with Iowa, but this reminds me of last year’s game against Nevada. Iowa entered as a 24.5-point favorite and swiftly decimated a Wolf Pack team that didn’t have much going for it to begin with. Now, the Hawkeyes kick off the season as 25-point favorites against another Mountain West team in Utah State that also doesn’t have much going for it.

The Aggies ranked outside the top 115 in Offensive Success Rate, Defensive Finishing Drives and explosiveness last season. Meanwhile, the Iowa defense finished top-10 in all 10 areas. Add in the fact that Utah State has weak returning production numbers, and I’m not entirely sure the Aggies will even put points on the board, much like Nevada last year. The talent Iowa infused into its offense via the transfer portal should do enough to at least help Brian Ferentz reach the coveted 25-point mark for the first time this season.

Under 43.5

I came into the week wanting to bet the over in this game due to the offensive upgrades the Hawkeyes made this past offseason, but I just can’t do it. I have no confidence in Utah State holding up its end of the deal here. The Hawkeyes’ defense ranked top-10 in PPA (Predicted Points Added), Success Rate and explosiveness against the pass last year and also finished top-five in PPA and explosiveness against the run. If the Aggies get into scoring position — which isn’t a given — there’s no guarantee they’ll put up points. Iowa’s defense just doesn’t break when opposing offenses drive past the Hawkeyes’ 40. And we all know what the Iowa offense is. While I expect noticeable improvement this year, the Hawkeyes won’t look like Ohio State right out of the gate.We’re going back to the well with an Iowa under.

Lock of the Week: Louisville -7.5 vs. Georgia Tech

I’m expecting big things from Louisville in head coach Jeff Brohm’s first season leading his alma mater.

Brohm brought in Cal transfer Jack Plummer to lead the offense, and these two are very familiar with each other after spending plenty of time together at Purdue. Having a quarterback who’s familiar with the system is only going to help the Cardinals early in the season.

When you add in the return of leading back Jawhar Jordan — who averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season — I’m even more confident that this offense can do some damage against a Georgia Tech defense that finished 98th in Success Rate last season. On the other side, the Cardinals came in at fifth in Defensive Finishing Drives and ninth in EPA per Play, while the Yellow Jackets sat outside the top 110 in both areas on offense. Georgia Tech showed some fight playing for head coach Brent Key toward the end of last season, but I don’t think that’ll disrupt Brohm when he wants to put on a show in his first game back at Louisville.

Matt McGowan’s Picks

Utah State +25  

It hasn’t exactly been a smooth offseason for the Hawkeyes, what with numerous injuries to transfers Cade McNamara, Seth Anderson, and Daijon Parker. Missing two weeks with a soft tissue injury suffered Aug. 12, McNamara may not have the upmost chemistry with the offense. In addition, the Iowa offensive line is still in flux and not a proven product, so McNamara’s protection won’t be perfect. 

If this was a Week 3 game, then I would’ve picked the Hawkeyes to cover, but the first game of the season will feature a lot of rust. Ironically, if Iowa wants to beat the spread, then it will have to score more than 25 points. The Aggies might not have the most vaunted defense in the FBS, but they return five starters and feature some playmakers in linebacker MJ Tafisi Jr. and Ike Larsen. 

Even though we’ve seen glimpses of this new-look Iowa offense in April and August, fans and media alike lack any hard proof on what the Hawkeyes can do against an actual opponent. Also, it’s important to know Utah State has covered the spread in their last five games when they are at least a 25-point underdog. 

Under 43.5 

The Hawkeyes only had four games last season in which the over hit, and one of those was when Ohio State put on a 54-10 drubbing. In that October contest, the Buckeyes scored more points than the projected combined total of 50. Essentially this means that Iowa has only scored enough points to hit the over in three games last year. In those three competitions, the totals have all been below 40 points. 

So call me crazy, but I’m still not ready to take the over with Iowa, especially one that’s more than 40. I don’t think the Hawkeyes will allow more than a touchdown against the Aggies, meaning that they have a lot of ground to cover by themselves. Do I see Iowa, McNamara or not, scoring 37 points (more than they scored in a game in all of 2022)? Definitely not. 

Lock of the Week: Colorado State +11.5 vs. Washington State 

The Rams return 15 starters from last season, including sophomore quarterback Clay Millen, who completed a whopping 72.2 percent of his passes across 10 starts in 2022. It should be known that the Cougars feature a solid QB of their own in Cameron Ward, but Colorado State should be able stay within double digits. 

I know the Rams finished 3-9 last year, but one offseason can make quite the difference. Just look at the Hawkeyes.

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About the Contributors
Pete Ruden
Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @PeteyRuden Pete Ruden is the Pregame Editor at The Daily Iowan, where he has worked since the beginning of his college career. He has covered a variety of sports at the DI, including football, men's basketball, baseball, wrestling, and men's tennis. Currently a senior, he served as a sports reporter his freshman year, before becoming the Assistant Sports Editor and then Sports Editor his junior year.
Matt McGowan
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Jerod Ringwald, Creative Director
Jerod Ringwald is the Creative Director at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. He was previously a managing editor this past summer as well as a former photo editor. During his sophomore year, he worked as a photojournalist covering news and sports.