• Iowa Is Riding a Dominant Defense to Number Five Ranking
  • Surprising Maryland Facing First Ranked Opponent of 2021
  • Maryland Looking for a Statement Victory

Iowa opened the season with back to back wins over ranked teams, defeating 17th rated Indiana 34-6 and followed it up by beating number nine and rival Iowa State 27-17 with a suffocating defense. The Hawkeyes are giving up 271 yards and 11 points a game, thirteenth and third in the nation respectively.

Maryland started the season with a win over West Virginia and also have a narrow 20-17 Big Ten win against Illinois, who has lost four in a row since an opening defeat of Nebraska. The Terps have put up big offensive numbers, but other than West Virginia, the teams on their schedule pale in comparison to those that Iowa has faced.

A win over Iowa would certainly change the perception that Maryland can beat the teams they’re supposed to, but struggle against tougher competition, especially in the daunting Big Ten East. With a brutal schedule ahead of them, a win against Iowa would go a long way to solidify Maryland as a team to be taken seriously.

Iowa vs Maryland Matchup at a Glance

  • Sport: College Football
  • Teams: Iowa at Maryland
  • Where: College Park, Maryland, Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium
  • Date: September 1
  • Betting Odds at PointsBet:
    • Spread: Iowa -3 (-121), Maryland +3 (+100)
    • Moneyline: Iowa -179, Maryland +145
    • Total: 47.5 (-105o, -115u)

Iowa Preview: The Defense is the Key

It could be argued that Maryland presents the biggest challenge of the young season for the Iowa defense which has been stellar so far in 2021. They’ve allowed a 54.3% completion rate, 187 yards per game and less than six yards an attempt for opposing passers while Maryland is completing 76.3% of its passes for 353 yards per game and 9.3 yards an attempt.

Something will have to give at what will be a rowdy Friday night at Byrd Stadium, with the fans in attendance knowing what a victory will mean for Maryland, who also has a tough defense, giving up just 14.2 points a game, eighth in the nation. If the Iowa defense isn’t up to the challenge, it’s doubtful Iowa’s offense will be able to pick up the slack.

Maryland Preview: Friday Night Opportunity for a Defining Upset

Although the schedule has been more favorable than Iowa’s, Maryland has found a way to take care of business in every contest and now have a chance for one of the biggest wins for the program since joining the Big Ten. A strong passing game and good defense give the Terps a good chance to pull off what would be a minor upset based on the betting spread.

They’ll need to find a way to penetrate a stout Iowa defense that is very effective against the pass, something they’ve been able to do in every one of their contests, consistently managing at least 332 passing yards in every game. Maryland’s ability to execute through the air will be the difference in the game.

Odds & Free Betting Analysis for This College Football Game

Maryland has the best passing offense that Iowa has seen and Iowa has the best pass defense Maryland has faced, so something has to give in this cross divisional Big Ten matchup. Iowa doesn’t have the offensive firepower to survive a shootout type of game, so if they falter on defense it could be a long night for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa vs Maryland Pick

  • KnupSports.com Free Betting Pick: Maryland +3 and bet the moneyline for Maryland to win the game outright (at PointsBet)

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Kevin Krest is the author of the PK Frazier series of four novels and the Beyond the Commentary blog with over 500 posts about the world of sports. Kevin covers golf, football and horse racing for and holds media credentials from the USGA, PGA, LPGA and Oaklawn Park.
As a media member, Kevin has attended and written in depth pieces about the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open and several other LPGA and PGA Tour Champions events.