One of college basketball’s biggest rivalries takes center stage on Thursday night with the Iowa Hawkeyes traveling to Hilton Coliseum to take on the Iowa State Cyclones (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Iowa State is a 6.5-point favorite, up from opening at -5.
The over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 152. They money line is Iowa +250, meaning a $100 bet on the Hawkeyes would return $250.
In an early-season battle on the hardwood where both teams are still finding their chemistry, you need to see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.
This model would have won over 96 percent of CBS Sports office pools in football last season and had an incredible 755-636-20 record on its A-rated picks during the 2016-17 college basketball season. Anybody who followed those picks returned over $6,500 on $100 bets.
Now, it’s simulated Cyclones-Hawkeyes 10,000 times and came up with some surprising results.
One we can tell you: The projection model points to the over 152 hitting in 59 percent of simulations, a very strong number. Both of these teams have impressive offenses and average close to 80 points per game, so it’s no surprise that the model likes the over.
The model also has a strong pick for which side you should back in this in-state, but out-of-conference, rivalry matchup.
Iowa State has certainly been the stronger team so far this season with a 5-2 record. The two losses came in the opening two games against Missouri and Milwaukee, but since that point the Cyclones have steadied the ship with five straight victories.
Guard Lindell Wigginton, who averages 15.1 points per game and is close to a 50 percent shooter from beyond the arc, is the catalyst for an Iowa State squad that is extremely strong in the backcourt and very difficult to beat at home.
But that doesn’t mean the Cyclones will be able to cover a 6.5-point spread in a rivalry game where anything can happen.
The Hawkeyes are a perennial tournament contender under coach Fran McCaffery and though they’re off to just a 4-5 start, they’ve faced tougher competition than Iowa State. They’ve played on the road at Virginia Tech and at Indiana, so the atmosphere at Hilton Coliseum won’t be anything they haven’t seen already.
And the Hawkeyes know how to play Iowa State tough. They’re 4-1 against the spread in their last five meetings, so don’t expect Iowa to go down easily on Thursday night in the national spotlight.
Will Iowa pull off the upset, or at least stay within the 6.5-point spread against rival Iowa State? Or will the Cyclones ride the momentum of their home crowd to a big win and another crushing setback for the Hawkeyes? Visit SportsLine now to see the strong point-spread pick for Iowa State-Iowa, all from the model that has absolutely crushed the sports book in college basketball last season, and find out.