Baylor vs. Iowa State Odds
|Baylor Odds||+14 [BET NOW]|
|Iowa State Odds||-14 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+440 / -625 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||47 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Saturday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.|
The first-place Iowa State Cyclones (4-1) look to continue on their path toward the program’s first-ever conference title as they take on a struggling Baylor Bears (1-3) squad that has lost their last three games.
In three prior contests between these Big 12 foes, the total has wound up below the current over/under of 47.5, with the average margin of victory a little more than a touchdown in the last four meetings.
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After a disastrous first half last week against TCU in which the Bears faced a 23-point deficit and gave up 30 first-half points to a similarly anemic offense, they showed signs of life with three scoring drives in the fourth quarter before ultimately falling to the Horned Frogs.
Is that a sign of things to come moving forward? First-year head coach Dave Aranda better hope that’s the case, as Baylor has been through the wringer in 2020 with positive COVID-19 cases, opt-out drama and public calls from the fan base for a quarterback change.
The Bears finally got contributions from some of their young playmakers last week, namely redshirt freshman running back Craig “Sqwirl” Williams, who gave the running game a boost with 82 yards on nine carries.
Baylor has struggled mightily on the ground since opening week, having not topped 76 yards rushing as a team in any of its last three games. Conversely, the Bears were gashed by TCU running backs last week, allowing 247 yards rushing and a 5.61 YPC average.
Senior quarterback Charlie Brewer is averaging a career-low 60 percent in completed passes and just 5.9 yards per attempt (8.0 YPA in 2019). The lack of a sustained ground attack, along with Brewer’s decline, has led to Baylor’s struggles on offense in 2020, where the Bears rank 104th out of 113 teams in Success Rate and 62nd in offensive explosiveness.
Defensively, Baylor is middle-of-the-pack in most statistical categories, including scoring (42nd), sacks (47th) and Defensive Success Rate (31st), though the Bears have been good at generating Havoc in Aranda’s first year, ranking 22nd nationally.
Iowa State Cyclones
Workhorse running backs are a rarity in college football these days, but Iowa State possesses one of the best in sophomore Breece Hall, who is second in the country in rushing yards (901), with only UTSA’s Sincere McCormick ahead of him. McCormick has also played two more games than the Iowa State star.
Hall’s talent is a given, but he is benefitting from an improved offensive line in 2020 that ranks 30th in Line Yards and 23rd in Opportunity Rate, per Football Outsiders. Both are drastic improvements from last season.
Quarterback Brock Purdy’s numbers are lower across the board, with just seven touchdowns on his account thus far in his junior campaign. He’s averaging just 6.8 yards per attempt, which is down from 8.4 YPA in 2019.
A depleted receiving corps has not helped matters, as Iowa State was tasked with replacing two starters entering the season and dealing with the absence of slot receiver Tarique Milton, who has been out of the lineup the last month.
Junior college transfer Xavier Hutchinson has come on strong the last three games, though, racking up a combined 22 receptions and two touchdowns.
Where the Cyclones will have a decided edge is in the trenches with their defensive front. Iowa State ranks 12th nationally with 18 sacks and faces a Baylor offensive line that has given up 14 sacks in just four games. The Bears are also 77th in tackles for loss allowed.
All that spells bad news against defensive end JaQuan Bailey, who is third in the country in TFLs with 11.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
Blustery conditions are on the horizon in Ames on Saturday night, forecasted to be an upwards of 16 miles. That typically bodes well for the under hitting, with college football games played in winds of at least 13 mph having nailed the under at a 57% clip.
Unless a corner was turned in the second half against TCU, I don’t see how Baylor scores much in this contest with a quarterback like Brewer, who cannot zip it through windy conditions, along with a running game that’s been abysmal since opening weekend.
Picks: Iowa State -14 | Total Under 47.5