Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Iowa Hawkeyes: Odds, Prediction

Jeremy Perry | Updated Dec 13, 2018

The Iowa Hawkeyes were supposed to be a contender this season in the Big Ten West, but fell well short of expectations, going only 5-4 in Big Ten play.

AT
January 01, 2019, 12:00 PM ET
Raymond James Stadium
Iowa
8-4
Pointspread -7 -125
Moneyline -310
Over / Under o +40.5
Pointspread +7 +105
Moneyline +250
Over / Under u +40.5

The Mississippi State Bulldogs had one of the very best defences in the country this season, but you never would have known it unless you were paying very close attention. Both teams have a lot to prove in this game. A win here would make up for lost opportunities on both sides.

Betting Analysis

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are finishing up their first season under new head coach Joe Moorhead. The Bulldogs hoped Moorhead would be the offensive catalyst who could enable the team’s offence to complement its defence, but that did not happen. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald could not become the passer MSU hoped he would be. This led to a season which was good but not great. It was a transitional year from a coaching perspective, but Mississippi State had a roster which probably could have done more than go 8-4.

The Iowa Hawkeyes committed multiple turnovers in an ugly 14-10 home-field loss to Northwestern in November which finished their chances of possibly making a comeback in the race for the Big Ten West Division title. Iowa dominated some of its opponents – such as beating Indiana by 26 and Illinois by 63 – but it also lost that Northwestern game and beat Iowa State, 13-3. This team lacked a steady identity throughout the season.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Mississippi State Bulldogs were tremendous on defence, but because they lost four games and were never part of any serious division, conference or national title races, they didn’t receive much of any attention. High-profile teams get some attention when they lose, but teams with Mississippi State’s reputation get publicity only if they are contending for conference and national championships. MSU lost three of four games in the middle third of the season to fall to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the SEC. They were done

Iowa Hawkeyes

The Iowa Hawkeyes also went 8-4, but unlike Mississippi State, they weren’t going through a coaching transition. Kirk Ferentz has coached Iowa for 20 straight seasons, since 1999. This team played in a relatively soft Big Ten West Division. It should have meant a big year with at least a division title. Instead, Iowa lost to Northwestern and stumbled against Purdue and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes were rarely consistent on both sides of the ball at the same time. They played in shootouts, losing 38-36 to Purdue, and played in slugfests such as the 14-10 loss to Northwestern. They were very sloppy in a 30-24 loss to Penn State, and impotent in a 28-17 loss to Wisconsin.

Quarterback Nate Stanley was very erratic throughout the year, the Penn State game showing him at his worst and the Purdue game revealing him in a much better light. Stanley was a microcosm of a team which should have done better in a vulnerable Big Ten. This game will test Iowa, given that the SEC (Mississippi State’s conference) was much stronger than the Big Ten this year.

Bulldogs vs. Hawkeyes Prediction

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