Iowa (8-4) is favored against Mississippi State (8-4) in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Tuesday (January 1, 2019, 12:00ET).
The spread was first offered at a stout -7.5 points for the Tigers. They’ve gone a reassuring 8-1 straight up as favorites this year, and 7-2-0 against the spread. The Bulldogs are 1-2 straight up as underdogs, and 1-2-0 against the spread.
Iowa football achieved its only two meaningful goals: they beat Iowa State, and guaranteed another year of Kirk Ferentz’s contract by finishing with more than 7 wins. Success.
Quarterback Nate Stanley completed 58.5% of his passes this season for 2,638 yards and 23 touchdowns. Mekhi Sargent gained 901 yards from scrimmage and rushed for 9 touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
All together, Iowa gained 389.7 yards per game and scored 31.5 points per game. The defense allowed just 290.8 yards and 17.4 points per game, while A.J. Epenesa led the squad with 10 sacks this season.
The first season under former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead has gone swimmingly for Mississippi State. With wins over Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Auburn, the new head coach set the bar high for his tenure. We’ll ignore the 24-0 loss to Alabama and the 19-3 loss to LSU.
The Bulldogs offense features QB Nick Fitzgerald, who passed for 1,615 yards and 15 TD’s this season. Fitzgerald completed 52.6% of his passes, good for a passer rating of 121.3. He also lead the team in rushing, running for 748 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging a remarkable 5.1 yards per carry.
Altogether, Mississippi State averaged 402.0 yards per game and 29.1 points. The defense allowed an excellent 268.4 yards and 12.0 points per game. Montez Sweat recorded 12 sacks this season.
Outback Bowl Betting Advice
Both teams play extremely stingy defense, so bettors will be tempted to take the under. The under is a combined 11-13 in games featuring these two teams, which is somewhat lackluster. The over/under of this game is currently at 44.0.