The Iowa Hawkeyes will look to kick off their 2016 season in style when they host the Miami-Ohio RedHawks in a Week 1 mismatch whose SU outcome is pretty much etched in stone.
Now, whether the Hawkeyes can cover the college football betting lines as whopping four-touchdown home favorites is what collegiate gridiron gamblers everywhere need to know. Let’s find out now!
Analyzing The College Football Week 1 RedHawks Vs Hawkeyes Expert Picks
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, September 3, 2016
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
NCAAF Odds: Iowa -28.5
Bet The Miami-Ohio RedHawks at +28.5 Because…
The RedHawks are getting a whopping four touchdowns and posted a winning ATS record in 2015. Miami-Ohio RedHawks (3-9 SU, 7-5 ATS) increased its win total by one in head coach Chuck Martin’s second season, but the RedHawks are still a long way from being a competitive program.
The good news is that Miami-Ohio will have a lot more experience in 2016 after an all-out youth movement a year ago. The RedHawks have yet to name their starting quarterback, but have two players that saw significant playing time as freshmen a year ago in traditional pocket passer Billy Bahl and dual-threat Gus Ragland. Miami-Ohio also returns its top five running backs from last season, both, starting wide receivers, their top two tight ends and four starters on the offensive line.
On the other side of the ball, the RedHawks have an elite end in senior J.T. Jones after he finished second in the MAC with 10 sacks while junior outside linebacker Paul Moses looks to improve on the 71 tackles he recorded last season after being coveted from running back. Miami-Ohio will have a new starting middle linebacker sophomore Junior McMullen, but the RedHawks are solid in the secondary with senior safety Buchi Okafor heading up an experienced group that will be bolstered by the addition of Ole Miss graduate transfer Tee Shepard.
Bet The Iowa Hawkeyes at -4 Because…
The Hawkeyes are far superior to Miami-Ohio and have a fantastic shutdown defense! Iowa (12-2 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) played fantastic football in 2015 in recording a dozen wins and narrowly missing out on a shot at reaching the four-team CFB Playoff.
The good news is that head coach Kirk Ferentz returns seven starters on offense and eight on defense and will lean on senior quarterback C.J. Beathard to lead them to new heights in 2016. While Iowa lost to Michigan State 16–13 in the Big Ten Championship Game before getting routed by Stanford 45–16 in the Rose Bowl, this is a team that could surprise once again in 2016.
Iowa averaged 181.7 rushing yards per game last season, but will need to find a replacement for departed senior Jordan Canzeri. Senior LeShun Daniels and junior Akrum Wadley combined for more than 1,100 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns and will be expected to provide even bigger contributions this coming season. Senior Matt VandeBerg returns at wide receiver after leading Iowa in catches (65) and receiving yards (703).
Defensively, the Hawkeyes will be led by gifted lock-down cornerback Desmond King, the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner. Three starters return on the defensive line and two of the Hawkeyes’ three starting linebackers will be back as well. Last but not least, senior cornerback Greg Mabin and junior strong safety Miles Taylor return to join King in a secondary that could be one of the best in the country in 2016.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
While I hate insane point spreads featuring mismatched opponents, I’m going to say the Miami-Ohio RedHawks are the pick to cover the spread as huge four-touchdown-plus road underdogs. While Miami-Ohio has posted an uninspiring 9-19 ATS in their last 28 games in the month of September and a discouraging 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams from the Big Ten, the RedHawks also closed out the 2015 season by going 4-1 ATS in their final five games overall.
While the Hawkeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in the month of September, Iowa has also gone 1-4 ATS in their last five games against teams from the MAC and a discouraging 0-5-1 ATS in their last half-dozen home games. Iowa wins outright, but Miami-Ohio covers with room to spare!