Iowa vs. Penn State Prediction, Odds and Key Players for Thursday, Feb. 8 (Hammer the Hawkeyes)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Iowa-Penn State. 

Feb 2, 2024; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Payton Sandfort (20) reacts after making a shot against Ohio State.
Feb 2, 2024; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Payton Sandfort (20) reacts after making a shot against Ohio State. / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa rallied to beat Ohio State, 79-77, on Friday to pull within a game of .500 in Big 10 play. The Hawkeyes are just eighth in the conference ahead of Thursday’s matchup as a short road favorite against Penn State. 

Penn State, also eighth in the Big 10 at 5-6 in league play, was able to stack a pair of wins on the road last week, taking out Rutgers (61-46) and Indiana (85-71). Can the Nittany Lions make it three in a row in their return to Bryce Jordan Center? 

Here’s the betting preview of Thursday’s Big 10 battle with a best bet. 

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Iowa vs. Penn State odds, spread and total

Iowa vs. Penn State betting trends

  • Iowa is 9-13 ATS this season
  • Penn State is 10-12 ATS this season
  • Iowa is 6-7 ATS as a favorite this season
  • Penn State is 7-4 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The OVER is 14-8 in Iowa games this season
  • The OVER is 13-8-1 in Penn State games this season

Iowa vs. Penn State how to watch

  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 8
  • Game time: 7 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Bryce Jordan Center
  • How to watch (TV): Big 10 Network
  • Iowa record: 13-9 (5-6 Big 10)
  • Penn State record: 11-11 (5-6 Big 10)

Iowa vs. Penn State key players to watch


Payton Sandfort: The junior guard is in his first season as a full-time starter and is the Hawkeyes' primary threat from the perimeter. Sandfort is averaging 15 points and 6.7 rebounds per game (both career-highs) and leads the Big 10 in 3-pointers per game (2.2) while shooting 43.6% from downtown. Sandford had back-to-back 26-point performances before going for 15 on 6-of-11 shooting in Friday’s win over Ohio State. 

Penn State

Ace Baldwin Jr.: Despite shooting less than 40% from the field this season, Baldwin is averaging 13.6 points per game and has been more efficient of late. The senior guard is 19-of-35 from the field over the last three games and is averaging 17.6 points in that span with seven 3-pointers. Baldwin played 40 minutes of each of Penn State’s last three games, registering 24 assists against 8 turnovers. 

Iowa vs. Penn State prediction and pick

Iowa hasn’t been a profitable pick on the road (3-4 ATS) or as a favorite (6-7) this season. The Hawkeyes are favored on the road for the time all year when they match up against the Nittany Lines. 

The sky-high total reflects two teams that excel on offense and play at a high pace. Iowa, No. 19 in KenPom in offensive efficiency, is No. 17 in adjusted tempo. Penn State is No. 82 overall on offense and plays at the No. 60 tempo. 

Penn State’s defense is allowing opponents to shoot 45.8% from the field, which ranks last in the Big 10. Penn State’s defense, No. 119 overall, excels at defending from the perimeter (No. 41 in 3-point defense), but Iowa is in the bottom half of the conference in 3-point attempts per game. Only 30.3% of the Hawkeyes’ shot attempts are from the perimeter, which is No. 325 in that nation. Penn State takes 40% of its shots from beyond the arc, but the Nittany Lions are No. 277 in connecting on them. 

Iowa’s offense is stout in the metrics Penn State’s defense is good at. Most importantly in turnover. Penn State is top-25 in the nation in turnover and steal percentage, but Iowa is the No. 4 team in the nation in protecting the rock. Iowa’s offense should get its points against a Penn State team that also struggles to rebound the rock. Hammer the Hawkeyes, which have won two of their last three conference road games. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.