Iowa vs. Tennessee odds, props, predictions: Hawkeye trends plus new Vols QB equals juicy Citrus Bowl UNDER

Tennessee (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) and Iowa (10-3 , 6-6-1) couldn’t be any more different in their approaches. The Vols operate at one of the nation’s fastest tempos, while the Hawkeyes rank in the 100s out of 133 teams in plays per minute.

The programs do share a couple things in common, however, as both want to finish the season on a high note and know their respective fan bases are going to travel well and support the cause. 

These teams are no strangers to playing in the Citrus Bowl, with Tennessee coming in with a 5-1 record. The Vols first participated in 1983, lost, but have won five straight. This is their first appearance since 2002. The Hawkeyes are 1-1 but are making their second trip in three years, having lost to Kentucky in ‘22.

Handicapping Tennessee vs. Iowa odds and props means you’re forecasting which team will impose their will on the other, since rhythm will play a huge role.

The Vols won’t have veteran QB Joe Milton at the controls since he’s opted out to concentrate on the NFL Draft, while Iowa wants to prove slow and steady can win the race regardless of opponent. Despite scoring over 15 points only once in their last seven games, the Hawkeyes are 5-2 in those contests, surrendering more than 13 only once.

Tennessee vs. Iowa odds: Point spread, moneyline & total

Here are live college football betting odds for Tennessee vs. Iowa:

Tennessee betting news: Beginning of Nico era in Knoxville has Vols Nation enthused 

Milton made the trip to Orlando and will serve as a coach of sorts, offering support for true freshman Nico Iamaleava, who will make his first start.

The 6-foot-6 quarterback from California saw action twice in November, completing 14 of 21 passes for 152 yards against UConn and Vanderbilt while throwing for a touchdown. He carried three times for 40 yards as well, so that will be a dynamic that should be in play against the stingiest defense he’s seen in his life.

Iamaleava was an elite recruit, rated No. 1 overall by some services, and is the most decorated signee at Tennessee since Peyton Manning. He’ll be tasked with working at the pace the Vols desire since wearing down an opposing defense is a major edge they seek in operating as quickly as they do.

Head coach Josh Heupel has praised his demeanor and is eager to see him run the offense. Although UT obviously wants to win, giving their new franchise quarterback an opportunity to test his skills and gain experience against an elite Iowa defense is invaluable. If he fails, he fails. There’s very little pressure on him.

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Tennessee won’t have running backs Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small available to help him since both have opted out to concentrate on the draft. Heupel will turn the page and ride Dylan Sampson, a sophomore who had a strong year despite being the No. 3 back.

He scored three times in the season-opening win over Virginia, ran for 139 yards on 11 carries against UTSA, finding the end zone twice in late September, broke off 28 yards on just four carries at Alabama and had a solid 76-yard day in his busiest SEC game, scoring once on 17 carries at Kentucky. Keep an eye on his player props.

Iamaleava will have a stacked receiving corps to work with, although Bru McCoy has yet to announce his return and therefore may opt out. Tennessee’s defense has lost a number of bodies, mostly in the secondary, although DE Tyler Baron transferring to Ole Miss certainly stings. 

Iowa betting news: Defense has keyed strong season

The Hawkeyes looked impressive when Michigan transfer Cade McNamara was under center, but his ACL tear realistically ended the team’s hopes of accomplishing much more than they have to date.

As things stand, this might still wind up being one of the most successful seasons in school history from a record standpoint, eclipsed only by a 12-2 showing in 2015.

Outside of a 26-0 defeat against the Wolverines in the Big Ten championship, the Hawkeyes have been in every game since being blown out at Penn State 31-0 on Sept. 23.

Despite the administration pushing out OC Brian Ferentz (son of HC Kirk) due to the team’s well-publicized offensive ineptitude, it’s a testament to the team that they stuck together and persevered given his father’s displeasure with that decision. 

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The defense has obviously been the driving force, entering this Citrus Bowl with a national-best streak of 27 consecutive games surrendering fewer than 400 yards. Iowa has surrendered 14 or fewer points in 18 of its last 26 games and ranks fourth with a points per game allowed average of 13.2, which is the lowest in the program’s history since ‘08.

The Hawkeyes lost star corner Cooper DeJean, a first-team All-American, to a leg injury in mid-November, so they’re not quite as formidable as they’ve been most of the way, but most of the group returns intact and will perform under highly respected veteran coordinator Phil Parker.

Iowa’s offense won’t have top tight ends Luke Lachey and Erick All since both are still injured and may actually declare for the draft, but does have a good one at the position in Addison Ostrenga.

Bryan Ferentz made the trip and is expected to call plays one last time. QB Deacon Hill has thrown for over 120 yards only twice in 12 appearances this season, completing less than 50 percent of his passes.

Players opting out of the Citrus Bowl

Tennessee players not playing in the Citrus Bowl because of transfer or opting out include:

  • QB Joe Milton
  • RB Jaylen Wright
  • RB Jabari Small
  • S Wesley Walker
  • DE Tyler Baron
  • CB Tamarion McDonald
  • CB Brandon Turnage
  • DL Jonathan Jefferson
  • S Doneiko Slaughter
  • CB Warren Burrell

Iowa players not playing in the Citrus Bowl because of transfer or opting out include:

  • WR Diante Vines
  • CB Brenden Daesfernades
  • DE Jackson Filer
  • QB Joey Labas
  • DL Anterio Thompson

Citrus Bowl: Tennessee vs. Iowa props

Take a look at winning margin (4-way) props for Tennessee vs. Iowa at FanDuel.

  • Tennessee by 1-13 points (+150)
  • Tennessee by 14+ points (+195)
  • Iowa by 1-13 points (+270)
  • Iowa by 14+ points (+1000)

Tennessee vs. Iowa prediction ATS

With Iowa having most of its defense back and Iamaleava at the controls, the only play here is to ride the low side. Even though Milton had his accuracy issues, he was in the system for years as a backup to Hendon Hooker before taking the reins this season, so there’s going to be a drop-off in terms of how fast plays are run.

The Hawkeyes will disguise coverages and are going to be sturdy in the red zone, so points are likely to be hard to come by regardless of whether Iamaleava excels or not. Iowa should be able to make this the game it wants to play, but it remains to be seen if it can score enough to pull the upset. Playing limbo with this total is the safer bet.

Pick: UNDER

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