5* Insight Bowl *BEST BET*
Iowa vs. Oklahoma,
12/30/2011 22:00 EDT,
Score: 14 - 31
Point Spread: +14/-105 Iowa
5* Insight Bowl *BEST BET* (ESPN) on Iowa +14
Over the last decade few coaches have prepared their teams better for bowl games than Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. During the same span, few coaches have had a harder time getting their team ready to play a bowl game than Oklahoma's Bob Stoops. Motivation has often been an issue in the postseason for Oklahoma, and it's hard to imagine the AP's preseason No. 1 will be fired up to play this game.
Iowa should benefit from having played in this bowl game last year, winning against then-No. 14 Missouri 27-24. Last year's Mizzou Tigers, which were led by first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert, remind me a lot of this year's Sooners.
Both teams will be missing key weapons, but I believe Oklahoma's losses will be felt more. The Sooners will be playing without leading rusher Dominique Whaley and leading receiver Ryan Broyles. Iowa will be without starting tailback Marcus Coker, but it still has an excellent receiving corps, led by Marvin McNutt, to fall back on.
QB James Vandenberg, who threw 23 TDs with six INTs, should be able to hook up often with McNitt, who led the Big Ten with 1,269 receiving yards and 12 touchdown catches. Oklahoma's defense ranked just 83rd in the country against the pass.
The Hawkeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 bowl games as an underdog and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games as an underdog. The Hawkeyes are also 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more. Take the points.