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College football expert Ian Cameron breaks down this weekend's Baylor vs. No. 14 Iowa State prediction and gives us his picks for this matchup.
ANALYSIS

Baylor vs. Iowa State Predictions and Picks: Against the Spread and Latest Odds

Baylor Bears vs. Iowa State Cyclones

Point Spread: Iowa State -7

Total: 47.5

Game Time: Saturday, 3:30 PM ET, FOX

Baylor vs. Iowa State Prediction

Baylor vs. Iowa State Odds

Iowa State and Baylor clash in this Big 12 conference opener for both teams. It's been a sluggish start to the season for the Iowa State offense, which didn't gain much traction in their opening two games against Northern Iowa and Iowa. They were held to 33 points combined and just 389 total yards per game on the season, which ranks them 77th in the country in offense. In addition, the ground attack featuring Running Back Breece Hall is not at the level of production the Cyclones expected going into the season as he is averaging just 4 yards per carry. At the same time, Quarterback Brock Purdy has somewhat regressed a bit. His completion rate is solid at 71%, but he has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns after the season's first three games. However, last week, Iowa State had a breakout offensive performance against a porous UNLV team as they routed the Rebels 48-3.

Still, things are about to get more difficult here for the Iowa State offense as they go up against a Baylor Bears squad that has been getting it done on the defensive side of the football in the early portion of the season. Baylor has allowed just 235 total yards per game, and although they haven't faced the most daunting of schedules to this point facing Texas State, Texas Southern, and Kansas in their first three games, it has still been an impressive showing for the Bears defensively.

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Quarterback Gerry Bohanon for Baylor has been very efficient, leading the Bears offense with a 72.9% completion rate and 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. The level of competition, though, is about to increase dramatically here against a terrific Iowa State defense that is leading the country in the fewest total yards allowed per game and giving up only 13.3 points per game. 

Both teams have good statistical profiles entering this game, with Iowa State outgaining their first three opponents by +7.7 yards per play. In contrast, Baylor has outgained their first three foes by +12.8 yards per play, although the Bears achieved that by facing a weaker schedule to this point than Iowa State. Iowa State's offense is somewhat of a concern for me regarding being willing to lay a touchdown with them on the road in this game. The Cyclones have had trouble putting points on the board, especially in their first two games, and they will be going on the road to face a Baylor defense that returned ten starters from last year and appeared on paper to be one of the better stop units in the Big 12. They have lived up to that so far.

The quality of competition will be much more challenging this week, but I think the Bears are ready to handle it and hang right in this game from start to finish. The last two regular-season meetings between Iowa State and Baylor were decided by 7 points or less in 2019 and 2020. Baylor outgained Iowa State by +10 yards in the two games combined, indicating how the Bears could go toe-to-toe in the trenches with the Cyclones. Baylor has covered three straight meetings against Iowa State, and I expect more of the same here, which has me taking the points with the home underdog. 

Baylor vs. Iowa State Pick

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