Baylor and Iowa State enter Big 12 play with high hopes. Both clearly have talented teams, even as they are transitioning at quarterback.
Iowa State is 3-0 with a surprising upset over Iowa in the Cy-Hawk showdown. Meanwhile, Baylor is 2-1 with a tough loss to BYU but their overall statistical profile looks awesome.
This is a big game for both teams looking to get off to a good start in Big 12 play. Who has the edge?
Let’s break it down. Read on for our Baylor Bears vs Iowa State Cyclones odds, picks, and predictions.
Baylor Bears vs Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State has surprisingly taken the sharp money. However, betting a non-ranked home team against a ranked team is generally a sharp angle.
I’d take a serious look at the over. Points are easy to come by in the Big 12 and 45 seems slightly low. However, we are expected to get 12mph winds on the field during game time.
Baylor Bears vs Iowa State Cyclones Prediction & Pick
Baylor is going to be better in the trenches. The Bears brought back four offensive line starters (119 career starts) and all three defensive line starters, and both units are projected to be top-10 in the nation.
Meanwhile, Iowa State brought back three offensive line starters but only 66 career starts. Plus, the Cyclones only returned three total defensive players and one on the defensive line. ISU lost its top four tacklers from last season.
Between two new quarterbacks, I think it’s largely a wash. ISU’s Hunter Dekkers and BAY’s Blake Shapen have posted surprisingly similar statistics this season.
Baylor is going to run the ball better because Baylor always runs the ball well. The Bears are sixth in Rush Success Rate this season and 22nd in Rush Success Rate allowed. Iowa State, by comparison, is 99th on offense and 65th on defense.
In the end, Baylor has been the underdog in four straight meetings against the Cyclones and is 4-0 ATS with two outright upsets. They’re the better overall team and the better-built team. Plus, they’re looking for a signature win after losing to BYU while Iowa State already won their “Superbowl” against Iowa.
Give me the Bears, and I’d seriously consider the over.
Baylor Bears vs Iowa State Cyclones Key Matchups
Key Matchup No. 1: Hunter Dekkers vs Everyone Else
The Iowa State offensive line ranks 108th in PFF’s Pass Blocking grade so far. The Cyclones can’t run the football well. The Cyclones instead rely on their passing game, rushing at a bottom-40 rate in FBS.
For his mediocre statistics, Dekkers has led the Cyclones’ offense to a surprisingly effective pass attack, as Iowa State ranks 12th in Pass Success Rate.
Baylor has a good defensive line (25th in PFF’s Pass Rush grades) and is above-average in the secondary (40th in PFF’s coverage grades). But given the Cyclones do nothing well and Baylor does everything else well, Dekkers will have to steal this game.
I’m not super confident that happens. But Dekkers does have electric wideout Xavier Hutchison on his side. Hutchison already has 28 receptions for 319 yards on the season and is considered a top-20 prospect at his position.
Brock Purdy : 27/33 for 307 yards, 2 TD's & a 84.7 QBR
Xavier Hutchison : Career-high 12 catches for 125 yards & 2 TD's pic.twitter.com/a7YvFzh4f0
— Lee Harvey (@AyeThatsLee) October 24, 2021
Key Matchup No. 2: Each Team’s Red-Zone Attacks
Baylor is first in the nation in Finishing Drives. Iowa State is fourth in the nation in FInishing Drives on defense.
One of those has to give.
Similarly, Iowa State is 36th in Finishing Drives while Baylor is 26th in Finishing Drives on defense.
Red-zone offense and defense are the units most correlated to covering spreads. Whichever team comes out on top in this battle likely wins the war.