Oftentimes, the more minor bowls are decided more by desire than by talent. The Oklahoma Sooners were considered the favorites to win the national championship by many before this season started, but they looked to be just going through the motions in their two games following their second loss of the year and they are probably not too enthused being delegated to this Insight Bowl.
Iowa comes in at 7-5 with a home win over Michigan probably being its only statement win all year, but at least the Hawkeyes are happy to be here and they upset another ranked Big 12 team in Missouri in this same bowl last season.
Oklahoma is a huge (-14) favorite here with the total set at 57½.
1. Why Iowa will cover the spread: The first part to any equation resulting in an Iowa cover here is Oklahoma playing as listless as it did after losing its second game of the year vs. Baylor, thus knocking the Sooners out of title contention. Oklahoma had a lackluster 26-6 home win vs. Iowa State right after that and then gave a very disappointing effort in a 44-10 blowout loss to Oklahoma State in the Bedlam game. Those games saw the lowest two point outputs by the Sooners all year.
If that same Oklahoma team shows up here, then Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg should be able to attack the Oklahoma secondary. Vandenberg wasn’t always accurate this year, completing 59.4 percent of his passes, but he did average 7.8 yards per attempt with 23 touchdown passes and only six interceptions, and he will be throwing against an Oklahoma pass defense that allowed an ugly 8.4 yards per pass attempt the last three games.
2. Why Oklahoma will cover the spread: Very simply, Oklahoma will cover this spread if it feels like playing and returns to its great form of early in the year. If that happens, there is no way that Iowa can keep pace with a high powered Oklahoma offense led by Landry Jones, who finished the season with 4300 passing yards while completing 63.1 percent of his passes with 28 touchdown tosses.
3. Total Talk: There is a direct correlation here between which Oklahoma team shoes up and this total. If the real Sooners show up, they are capable of getting into the 50s all by themselves. If the lethargic Oklahoma team from the final two regular season games takes the field, then we expect a lower scoring game with the Iowa offense not being explosive. We expect the latter and an Iowa cover, so we are going with the ‘under’.
4. Betting Trends for the game: The Big 12 is just 32-48-5 ATS in all bowl games since 2000 while Big Ten bowl underdogs are 35-26-1 ATS during that time. The Sooners themselves are 1-4 ATS in their last five bowl games. The ‘under’ is 7-2 in Iowa’s last nine games vs. the Big 12, as well as 10-2 in Oklahoma’s last 12 December games.
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