The Iowa Hawkeyes finished the season with a 3-1 SU run that included a 38-17 thumping of Nebraska in their season finale, but they don't get much respect from oddsmakers in the Outback Bowl.
The Hawkeyes (Big Ten, 8-5 SU, 7-5 ATS, 7-4-1 OU) went 4-2 ATS in their last six games, and covered the spread in all five of their road games this season. Iowa is also 6-2 ATS in its past eight bowl games, according to the Outback Bowl betting odds history, but still gets seven points on the spread here against the LSU Tigers.
Iowa's passing game did not strike all that much fear into its opponents with an average of just 200.4 yards a game, but the Hawkeyes did a good job at moving the ball on the ground.
Mark Weisman led the way with 938 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 209 carries. The team as a whole averaged 188.6 yards a game. Iowa's biggest strength this season was a defense that finished the year ranked 11th in the nation in points allowed (18.8).
LSU (SEC, 9-3 SU, 5-6-1 ATS, 8-3-1 OU) lost to Georgia and Ole Miss by a combined six points, but it got its doors blown off in a 38-17 loss to Alabama as a 14-point road underdog. Other than that, the Tigers were one of the best teams in the nation on both sides of the ball. However, they were especially difficult to bet with down the stretch, with a 1-4 record ATS in their final five games.
The total went OVER in three of their last four outings, but clearly the SEC is getting preferential treatment from bettors over the Big Ten again.
Balance on offense was the key to LSU's success this season with a passing game that averaged 265.1 yards a game complementing a rushing attack that grinded out another 200.8 yards.
Zach Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards and 22 scores but he went down with a torn ACL in the final game of the year. Look for Anthony Jennings to get the start in this game after throwing a grand total of just 10 passes in the regular season as a true freshman.
The Tigers have been opened as 7-point favorites over Iowa for this season's Outback Bowl and the total has been set at 49.
These two last met in the 2005 Capital One Bowl, with Iowa coming away with a 30-25 win as a 5-point underdog. The Hawkeyes are 6-2 ATS in their last eight bowl games while LSU is 27-3 SU in its last 30 games overall as a favorite.
The total has gone OVER in nine of the last 12 Outback Bowls.
Computer Prediction: 38-32 LSU from OddsShark.com NCAA computer