NCAA Football Game Preview & Free Pick: Baylor at Iowa State

Sep 23, 2022

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Oskeim Sports provides a detailed betting preview and free pick in Saturday’s Big 12 Conference clash between Baylor and Iowa State.  The line has moved significantly in Iowa State’s direction this week but the betting market overreacted to the fact that Baylor’s skill corps is banged up?

Baylor head coach Dave Aranda enters his third season in Waco after being named the Maxwell Club’s College Coach of the Year in 2021.  Baylor finished with a school-record twelve wins (defeated five ranked teams) and is off to a 2-1 start this season, including bouncing back from a heartbreaking 26-20 loss at BYU with a convincing 42-7 win over Texas Southern.

Baylor was missing three starting skill players on offense – tight end Ben Sims, running back Taye McWilliams, and receiver Monaray Baldwin – all of whom were in concussion protocol, but Aranda is optimistic that all three will be available for Saturday’s game against Iowa State.

Starting quarterback Blake Shapen looks comfortable in year two of coordinator Jeff Grimes’ offensive system and works behind one of the nation’s best offensive lines that boasts four returning starters and 119 career starts.  Baylor is ranked 16th in the country in scoring offense, 16th in rushing offense, and 38th in first downs offense.

Aranda is one of the best defensive minds in college football and the Bears possess one of the best defensive lines in the country.  Three starters return from last year’s unit that allowed just 118 rushing yards per game (3.3 yards per carry), including LSU transfer Siaki Ika, who finished with 25 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Aranda also brought in Tulsa transfer Jaxon Player, who is one of the most disruptive defensive ends in college football.  Baylor’s defensive line compiled 38 sacks in its final nine games of 2021, including ten in the Bears’ Sugar Bowl win over Mississippi.  Baylor’s stop unit currently ranks 15th in red-zone defense, 23rd in rushing defense and 26th in total defense.

Iowa State is one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation, ranking 128th in returning production (36%) but has exceeded expectations so far in 2022.  The Cyclones have allowed just 22 gains of double-digit yards (8th in FBS) and only two gains of 30-plus yards (9th).  However, those defensive numbers have come against subpar attacks in SE Missouri State, Iowa and Ohio.

The last three games in this series have been decided by a total of 11 points and Baylor’s run defense (85 yards per game; 2.7 yards per carry) matches up well against the Cyclones’ ground attack (152.5 yards per game).

Finally, Baylor has covered the last four meetings between these two and has a substantial advantage in special teams.  According to my ratings, Baylor as the 23rd-best special teams unit in college football, whereas the Cyclones’ unit is ranked 129th.  Grab the points with Baylor and invest with confidence.

Additional Betting Trends in the Baylor/Iowa State Game

  • Iowa State is 0-0-4 ATS against ranked opponents since the start of last season.
  • Since 2016, Iowa State is 33-22 ATS in Big 12 play under head coach Matt Campbell, the best cover percentage in Big 12 play over that span.
  • Since 2012, Baylor is 30-15 ATS as an underdog, the best cover percentage in Big 12 play over that span.
  • Big 12 Conference teams are 15-6 ATS at home this season.

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