Friday is not known as the best night for college football action, we’re rolling with an Iowa-Maryland betting prediction today because it is a doozy of a game. Iowa, who is the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten right now, is coming off of a pretty ugly, come-from-behind, 24-14 win over Colorado State last weekend. They do not play pretty football. They play winning football.
Maryland, on the other hand, are quietly sitting at 4-0 on the season. They are a juggernaut offensively, and Taulia Tagovailoa has played well enough that he is on the shortlist for the Heisman 30 percent of the way through the season.
Longtime college sports writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 and The Field of 12 Network is here to break down the tantalizing matchup and provide his Iowa-Maryland betting prediction for Week 5 of the college football season.
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IOWA-MARYLAND BETTING LINE:
#5 IOWA (4-0) at MARYLAND (4-0)
GAME: Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET (FS1)
MONEYLINE: Iowa (-165), Maryland (+130)
SPREAD: Iowa (-3)
IOWA-MARYLAND BETTING PREDICTION:
This is a matchup of strength on strength.
Iowa’s defense is a juggernaut. They are allowing 11 points per game. They have given up just 2.3 yards per carry to opposing running backs. They are second nationally in points off of turnovers with 51. They are first nationally in defensive touchdowns with three. That defense sustained them in the win at Iowa State. It completely overwhelmed Indiana in the season-opener. They are elite.
On the other side of the ball, however, lies Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Tua, whose passing prowess has put him squarely in the conversation for the Heisman. It’s early days still, however, and as good as the win over West Virginia looked in the season-opener, running it up on Howard, Illinois and Kent State is not exactly the stuff dreams are made of.
And at the end of the day, that’s the question that you need to answer.
Just how good is Taulia?
His numbers are going to regress as the schedule gets tougher, that’s how these things work, but will he continue to make the right decisions? Will he continue to be the guy that has thrown one interception through four games this season, or will he revert back into being the quarterback that threw seven in four games last season? This is the game we find out. The strength of Iowa’s vaunted defense is their secondary. If Taulia carves up the Hawkeyes on Friday night, it’s probably a pretty safe bet that he is the real deal.
I’m also worried about the health of Maryland’s linebacking corps. Iowa is going to have to win the game on the ground. I just do not trust Spencer Petras. Sorry, but I don’t. This is a road game that will be played in front of an absolutely insane crowd that is desperate for a winner since their basketball program has been stuck in neutral for the better part of two decades. If Iowa can consistently move the ball on the ground, that will be a problem.
I think they will, which will chew up clock with long drives. And I think the Iowa defense will be able to impact Taulia and the Terp offense enough that they are held in check.
So my favorite bet here is the under. If you’re going to force me to pick a side, I’ll take the points and the home dog.