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Stanford Cardinal vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Rose Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – January 1, 2016

Stanford Cardinal vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Rose Bowl Predictions, Odds, Picks and NCAA Football Betting Preview – January 1, 2016

The Granddaddy of Them All won’t be hosting a national semifinal this year, but the matchup it actually is hosting will certainly be a College Football Playoff-worthy one.

The Stanford Cardinal were the cream of the crop over in the Pac-12, and will be making their third trip to Pasadena in the last four years. They’ll face the Iowa Hawkeyes, who were one goal-line stand away from the CFP, but will instead be making their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1991.

Get a full breakdown of the Granddaddy of Them All below. And for more New Year’s Six goodness, check out our previews of the Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss) and the Fiesta Bowl (Notre Dame vs. Ohio State).

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Stanford Cardinal vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Preview

Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena

When: Friday, January 1, 5:00 PM ET

Line: Stanford Cardinal (-6) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (+6); total 53.5– view all NCAA Football lines

TV Broadcast: ESPN

Betting on the Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12)

Despite a shock 16-6 loss at Northwestern on the opening game of the season, Stanford still managed to churn out a fourth double-digit win season in five years under David Shaw. They would go on to win their next eight games before losing a 38-36 shootout to Oregon, which effectively ended their College Football Playoff dreams.

[sc:NCAA240banner ]Stanford bounced back to win its last three games, though, including a 38-36 nail-biter against Notre Dame and a 41-22 blowout of USC in the Pac-12 title game.

Stanford’s success during Shaw’s tenure (sans Andrew Luck) has been built upon elite defense and a merely competent offense. This year, though, the offense has overtaken the defense in terms of the team’s main strength. The Cardinal finished 19th in scoring (37.2 points per game), as Heisman Trophy finalist Christian McCaffrey did a fine job leading the offense.

McCaffrey finished second in the Pac-12 in rushing (142 yards per game), but was first in the nation by a wide margin in terms of all-purpose yards (268.9), which earned him his ticket to New York.

Iowa has a very formidable front seven that can stop the run, but McCaffrey can also be a dangerous weapon in the passing game to help Kevin Hogan. The Stanford quarterback had an excellent senior year – he finished second in the conference in passer rating (170.07), completion percentage (68.6) and yards per attempt (9.3) – and should be able to move the ball effectively even with a limited ground game.

The Stanford D has been far from dominant – it’s given up 23.1 points per game (40th in the nation) – but it should be able to make some timely stops against an Iowa offense that isn’t exactly the most explosive attack around.

Stanford is 1-1 in the Rose Bowl under Shaw, but is just 6-7-1 in 14 all-time appearances. Moreover, the Cardinal favored by 6.5 points or more in 12 of its 13 games this season and went 9-3 ATS in those games.

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Betting on the Iowa Hawkeyes (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten)

Stanford vs Iowa 2016 Rose Bowl Predictions, Picks and Preview

Despite going an undefeated 12-0 during the regular season, many people still had doubts about Iowa’s credentials as a possible playoff team. The Hawkeyes’ loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game ultimately knocked them out of contention, but their gutsy performance did help silence most of those doubts as they pushed the Spartans to the brink in a close 16-13 loss.

Iowa’s outstanding defense took center stage during the title game as it made Michigan State fight for every single one of its 365 yards. The Hawkeyes have been one of the most impressive defensive units in the nation this season, limiting opponents to just 18.5 points (13th) and just 114.9 yards on the ground (11th).

Their ability to stop the run will be a major step in slowing down Stanford’s predominantly run-heavy offense and turning the game into the slow, grinding affair that suits Iowa’s style.

Iowa’s offense averaged a respectable 32 points per game, but apart from a 40-point explosion against a very good Northwestern defense, it had a hard time putting points on the board against very good defenses. Stanford’s defense this season, though, has hardly been elite, which should give the Hawkeyes opportunities to put points on the board.

The Iowa running game couldn’t get much going against Michigan State’s elite front, but should be able to move the ball more effectively, particularly on the ground, against a good but not great Stanford run defense (40th in the nation). The expected return of leading rusher Jordan Canzeri (976 yards, 12 touchdowns) returns from his ankle injury as expected.

Iowa went just 6-5-1 ATS this season, but was undefeated (2-0-1 ATS) as the underdog.

Writer’s Prediction

Stanford has enough talent to pull out the win, but Iowa’s defense won’t make it easy. The Hawkeyes (+6) lose, 27-24, but still manage to cover.

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Brad
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