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Iowa Hawkeyes 5-Point Underdogs at Iowa State; Over Is 4-1 in Last Five Cyclones’ Games

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Dec 11, 2019 · 12:54 PM PST

Iowa State Cyclones basketball jersey
The Iowa State Cyclones clash with the Iowa Hawkeyes as 5-point favorites on Thursday night. Photo by Max Goldberg (flickr).
  • Iowa and Iowa State clash on Thursday night (Dec. 12, 8:00 PM ET) in Ames
  • The Cyclones are 5-point home favorites and the total is set at a high 158
  • Hawkeyes center Luka Garza presents a huge matchup problem for Iowa State

The battle for Iowa supremacy goes down Thursday night (Dec. 12, 8:00 PM ET) in Ames, as the Cyclones (6-3) host the Hawkeyes (7-3). Both teams are fresh off a victory in their last outing and it’s Iowa State that’s opened as 5-point home favorites.

Iowa vs Iowa State Odds

Team Spread Total
Iowa Hawkeyes +5.0 (-110) Over 158.0 (-110)
Iowa State Cyclones -5.0 (-110) Under 158.0 (-110)

Odds taken Dec. 10.

The Cyclones have been dominant at home this season posting a 5-0 record at Hilton Coliseum, and a 4-1 mark against the spread. The over has hit in four of their past five, overall.

On Sunday night, they defeated No. 16 Seton Hall 76-66, in what was by far their best victory of the season.

Exacting Some Revenge

The win over the Pirates was payback for an 8-point neutral-court loss earlier this season. Iowa State was led by guards Tyrese Haliburton and Rasir Bolton, who each racked up 17 points. The duo lead the Cyclones in scoring this season, averaging 16.2 and 15.3 points per game, respectively. Haliburton is widely considered one of the top passers in the country.

The sophomore ranks fourth in the nation in assists per game, and is a big reason why Iowa State is putting up 82 points per outing. He’s one of only two Cyclones to shoot over 50% from the floor this season, and the lone player on the roster who knocks down 40% of his threes.

Iowa State has needed all the offense it can get this year as its defense has allowed over 70 points per game. They rank a mediocre 56th in defensive efficiency at KenPom, and they lack size down low which could be a problem against Iowa.

Garza Will Give Iowa State Problems

The Hawkeyes are led by their sensational big man, Luka Garza. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound center ranks 10th in the nation in scoring and was the catalyst in Iowa’s 20-point win over Minnesota on the weekend. Garza racked up 21 points and 10 boards and has now exceeded 20 points in three straight outings. He’s recorded a double-double in five of his first 10 games this season, and recently poured in 44 points against Michigan, a top-seven 2020 NCAA Tournament odds contender.

Iowa averages 79 points per game and runs the country’s fourth-most efficient offense according to KenPom. They’re not a strong shooting team, but they make up for it by protecting the ball and creating lots of open looks. The Hawkeyes lead all of college basketball in assist-to-turnover ratio and produce the fourth-most assists per game.

Their achilles heel is their defense, which ranks 115th in defensive efficiency and has allowed a combined 279 points in their three losses (93 PPG). They’ve struggled defensively against every respectable offense they’ve faced and they’ll be hard pressed to keep the Cyclones below their season scoring average.

Play the Over

The over is just 4-6 in Iowa games this season, but each time the Hawkeyes have faced a top-60 offense, the game has flown over the total. Iowa State, meanwhile, has been cashing over tickets at a high rate. Seven of their 10 games have exceeded the total this year.

If forced to choose a side, the Hawkeyes catching 5-points seems like a strong play, but without a doubt, the most favorable bet on the board for this game is the over.

Pick: Over 158.0 (-110)

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