Iowa Sportsbooks Not Expecting Cyclones To Blow Away Ragin’ Cajuns

Written By Derek Helling on September 11, 2020 - Last Updated on September 13, 2020

There are a lot of unknowns for the start of the 2020 Big 12 football season, and the latest Iowa State football odds reflect that. Iowa’s legal online sportsbooks expect a closer game than many Cyclones fans would probably prefer to see Saturday.

While the books don’t give Louisiana-Lafayette much of a shot to win the game, they aren’t keen on Iowa State demonstrating clear superiority either.

That may mean some opportunities for Iowa sports bettors.

Latest Iowa State football odds at IA sportsbooks

The gap between the Cyclones and the Ragin’ Cajuns in the moneyline markets for Saturday’s game is significant. The spread might surprise some, however.

Here are the latest odds at some of Iowa’s legal sportsbooks:

BetfredLA Lafayette +335
Iowa State -425
LA Lafayette +10.5 -110
Iowa State -10.5 -110
Over 56.5 -110
Under 56.5 -110
DraftKingsLA Lafayette +340
Iowa State -455
LA Lafayette +12 -110
Iowa State -12 -110
Over 57 -110
Under 57 -110
FanDuelLA Lafayette +340
Iowa State -470
LA Lafayette +10.5 -105
Iowa State -10.5 -115
Over 56.5 -110
Under 56.5 -110
PointsBetLA Lafayette +320
Iowa State -420
LA Lafayette +11 -110
Iowa State -11 -110
Over 56.5 -110
Under 56.5 -110
William HillLA Lafayette +340
Iowa State -420
LA Lafayette +11 -110
Iowa State -11 -110
LA Lafayette +11 -110
Iowa State -11 -110

Many times, season-opening games between the Power Five and mid-major conference teams have a much larger spread. That’s because the traditional wisdom is that Power Five teams have a greater depth of talent.

This might feel out of place, given how the Cyclones performed in 2019 and what they return. For example, Brock Purdy is back as quarterback for Iowa State after leading the Big 12 in passing yards last season.

Additionally, the Cyclones’ defense was the third-best in the conference in terms of points allowed per game last season at 29.5. The spread says a lot about how much respect the oddsmakers have for Lafayette.

The comparisons are legitimate. The Ragin’ Cajuns led the Sun Belt in points allowed (19.9 per game) in 2019. Quarterback Levi Lewis was second in the conference in passing yards.

Of course, that was all last year. There are other reasons for Iowa sportsbooks to err on the side of caution in terms of the spread on this game.

Why this game is a challenge to handicap

In an offseason filled with doubt over whether there would be any Big 12 football games played this fall, there are ramifications. First off, the Cyclones will open in an empty stadium this year.

It’s nearly impossible to know how that will affect both teams beforehand. While home teams tend to have an advantage in football, the lack of a crowd could nullify that to some degree.

That’s another reason a small spread makes sense and could suggest that an aggressive total is wise as well. It’s possible to argue that teams will feel the lack of crowd support on defense the most.

Because of the unknowns, many Iowans may opt to live bet this game. While Iowa law does not allow for prop wagers based on individual college players’ performances, it does let books take prop bets on college teams.

For example, Betfred has quarter-specific moneylines, spreads, and totals available. DraftKings will take your bets on which team will score first and how many points each individual team will score in the game.

FanDuel will let you bet on the results of both halves of the games in one market, with odds of +1,600 on the game being tied at halftime, then the Cyclones winning the second half, for example. PointsBet has markets on the total number of touchdowns that both teams will score in the game.

The spread on Saturday’s opener may not impress many Cyclones fans. The opponent is quality, however. There are also some unknown quantities in this game. For that reason, the best way to bet this game may be as it goes.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling