Oregon vs. Iowa State Betting Predictions

Fiesta Bowl Iowa State vs Oregon
Oregon vs. Iowa State, NCAA Football, Fiesta Bowl, January 2

This is a very interesting matchup between two programs with very different trajectories this season. Iowa State is the new team in town with their first appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl game after coming up just short in the Big 12 title game and losing out on a potential spot in the CFP semifinals. Oregon has been part of the crazy Pac-12 season, but has plenty of experience in these big bowl games, though this team is probably not as good as those of years past. Iowa State will want to end the season on the right foot and it just might in a close one with the Ducks.

Oregon vs. Iowa State Betting Odds

I’m not sure Oregon has played enough games for us to get a good sense of what type of team Mario Cristobal has in Eugene. The Ducks had lost two straight heading into a last-minute appearance in the Pac-12 title game, then outlasted USC for a signature victory in a season that lacked one. But I’m not sold on the Pac-12 being very good this year, and that title game kind of sealed the deal for me. There is plenty of talent out West, but there doesn’t seem to be a team worthy of being in the top-15. Oregon is led by a three-headed rushing attack that includes quarterback Tyler Shough, who has been inconsistent in the passing game. Shough has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for roughly 250 yards per game, but he’s thrown 13 touchdowns and five interceptions in six games. Travis Dye seems to be the Ducks’ best playmaker with a team-high 391 rushing yards as well as eight catches for 221 yards and four scores. On the other hand, the Oregon defense is giving up 33.7 points per game, though it did hold USC to just 24 points in the conference title game. Still there are opportunities for Iowa State to exploit against a defense allowing more than 400 yards per game.

Iowa State has a tremendous playmaker in the backfield with Breece Hall, who has rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. He is the engine of the Cyclones offense and Brock Purdy is that much better when Hall is able to get the offense moving on the ground. Purdy has thrown for nearly 2,600 yards, but he has just a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio with 18 passing scores to nine interceptions. Xavier Hutchinson and Charlie Kolar are Purdy’s main weapons on the outside and have helped add some balance to the offense with their pass catching. The Cyclones defense has done a great job against weaker opponents, which has infused the unit with more confidence after allowing at least 30 points in the first three games of the year. Iowa State still has allowed at least 20 points in five of its last seven games, which puts more pressure on the offense to continue to score.

The football betting sites in New Jersey have set the Fiesta Bowl over/under at 57.5 points, which I think is a bit high. Oregon has scored at least 30 points in five of its six games, but the Iowa State defense probably is the best the Ducks have faced all year. I also don’t think Oregon’s defense is going to have much success slowing down Hall and the Iowa State rushing attack. But Iowa State’s last four games have all finished with less than 50 combined points, including a pair against opponents equal in quality to Oregon. This game is going to be very close and with so much emphasis on the running game for both teams, possessions might be at a premium. As a result, I’m going to go out on the limb and bet the under at -110 odds as part of my Fiesta Bowl betting predictions.

Iowa State to win

The New Jersey online football betting sites have put us in a bind with the Fiesta Bowl betting line. Iowa State is only a 4.5-point favorite over Oregon, but I don’t know if the Cyclones can win by that many on Saturday. Oregon’s last four games have been decided by a touchdown or less while six of Iowa State’s 11 games have been decided by seven ore fewer points. Those six games include all of Iowa State’s games against quality opponents, so it’s not like the Cyclones have made life easy on themselves in big games. It’s a good thing for Iowa State to feel comfortable in tight games, but Oregon is equally adept in close contests, so it will be a battle of wills and who can make fewer mistakes. In that respect, the Cyclones have an advantage as Oregon is averaging two turnovers per game, and those are the plays that turn the tide in bowl games. I think Iowa State will win, and though I think it will be by a field goal, I’m not confident enough to use the spread in this one. I’ll just take the Cyclones at -205 odds on the moneyline instead.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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