Courtesy of The Gazette's Mike Hlas and The Golden Nugget sportsbook in Las Vegas, very early gambling lines are out for half of Iowa's regular season games in 2019. Check 'em out below:
|9/14/19||Iowa at Iowa State||pick 'em|
|10/5/19||Iowa at Michigan||Michigan -12|
|10/12/19||Penn State at Iowa||Iowa -2|
|10/26/19||Iowa at Northwestern||Iowa -3|
|11/9/19||Iowa at Wisconsin||Wisconsin -2.5|
|11/29/19||Iowa at Nebraska||pick 'em|
A few thoughts:
I don't really think the Iowa-Iowa State game will stay a pick 'em until game time, but if it does, it would be the first time Iowa hasn't been favored to beat Iowa State since 2000. Iowa State was a 2.5-point road favorite over Iowa that season. (As you might recall, Iowa wasn't very good in 2000.) That said, this game is probably most similar to the Iowa-Iowa State game in 2013, which ended up with Iowa as a 1-point favorite in Ames. The favorite in this game might be determined by how each looks in the game prior to the CyHawk showdown, although Iowa State has just one game (against UNI on 8/31), while Iowa will have two (Miami (OH) on 8/31 and Rutgers on 9/7).
That Iowa-Michigan spread is a big one, owing to the fact that Michigan is (once again) expected to be very salty in 2019. 12 points would be Iowa's biggest spread as an underdog since they were 12-point underdogs in Madison to Wisconsin in 2017. Let's not discuss that game any further. Dating back to 2012, Iowa has been a double-digit underdog seven times; they've covered the spread in five of those seven games and won outright twice, against Ohio State in 2017 (#55to24) and against Michigan in 2016. Both of those games, of course, were at home, not on the road. As best I can tell, the last time Iowa won outright as a double-digit underdog on the road was against Penn State... in 2000. (Though they were also 9.5 point underdogs to Penn State when they won in 2009, and I imagine some books had that line as Penn State -10 or more.)
Speaking of Iowa-Penn State, Iowa opens up as a 2-point favorite over the Nittany Lions for this year's game in Iowa City. That's pretty much just home field advantage talking and that spread figures to change between now and October 12. Iowa has lost five straight against Penn State and covered the spread in just one of those games (the 21-19 loss in 2017).
Iowa favored on the road against Northwestern? Just kill me now.
That Iowa-Wisconsin spread is also intriguing; Wisconsin -2.5 would be the smallest odds favoring Wisconsin at home against Iowa since 2009, when Wisconsin was just a 2-point favorite over Iowa. Iowa won that game 20-10. In fact, the last three times Wisconsin has been favored by three or fewer against Iowa in Madison, Iowa has won all three games (2009, 2005, 2003).
I think there's almost no chance the Iowa-Nebraska line ends up being a pick 'em by the time Black Friday rolls around and if Nebraska really is BACK (as many preseason pundits are suggesting), then they'll probably be favored in that game. If so, it would be the first time Nebraska has been favored against Iowa since 2013, when they were 2.5-point favorites. Iowa won that game 38-17.
- The lines for Iowa's other six games won't be released for a while, but it's safe to expect that Iowa will be favored in all of them, given that they're home games against Miami (OH), Rutgers, Middle Tennessee State, Purdue, Minnesota, and Illinois. If Iowa remains favored in all of the games noted above, that would put them as favorites in eight games total, with two other games as pick 'ems. For what it's worth, Iowa was favored in nine of 12 regular season games in 2018 and seven of 12 regular season games in 2017.