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Iowa State Betting Odds Preview

Is this program ever going to break through and contend for something more than a minor bowl bid? And last year the Cyclones couldn't even pull that off. Their 3-9 campaign was their worst in five seasons under head coach Paul Rhoads, and they weren't even competitive at times.

Iowa State did only have nine starters back last year, so some of those struggles are understandable, but it's hard to tell if this program is any better right now than it was five years ago. This year, with 15 starters back, the goal is to rebound and get back to a bowl. But a brutal schedule is going to make that a tough task.

Iowa State Odds to Win Big 12: 100/1 at Bovada
Iowa State Regular Season Win Total: 3.5 at Bovada

Iowa State began last year by getting upset at home by Northern Iowa, then lost a tough game at Iowa. Following a win over Tulsa the Cyclones then lost close games to Texas and Texas Tech, got blown out by Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, lost a tough one to TCU and got roasted at Oklahoma. The 'Clones then ended on a somewhat positive note, beating Kansas and rallying to win at West Virginia to finish at 3-9 SU, 6-6 ATS.

The Cyclones are now 14-29 SU but 21-21 ATS in five seasons of Big 12 play under Rhoads.

This year Iowa State returns 15 starters, six more than last year and third-most in the conference. Ten starters are back on offense, including last year's leading rusher, top two receivers and the entire offensive line; but only five starters return on defense, after the loss of three of last season’s top four tacklers.

ISU averaged 25 points per game last year, and gave up 36 PPG. The Cyclones may score a bit more this season, but there's no guarantee they'll improve that latter figure.

According to Phil Steele Iowa State will play the sixth-toughest schedule in college football this season, even with seven home games. The Cyclones host Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, and visit Iowa, Oklahoma State, Texas and TCU. Having five Big 12 home games doesn't necessarily help when three of those opponents are the Wildcats, Bears and Sooners, and the games with the Red Raiders and Mountaineers are toss-ups.

The last time Iowa State had as many as 15 returning starters was the last time it finished with a winning record, back in 2009. To make a bowl this season the Cyclones will have step it up on defense, win a road game or two and pull a couple of upsets at home.

Big 12 Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Oklahoma 5/7
Baylor 5/2
Texas 15/2
Kansas State 10/1
Oklahoma State 10/1
TCU 14/1
Texas Tech 20/1
West Virginia 66/1
Iowa State 100/1
Kansas 100/1

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The Iowa State Cyclones went bowling for the third time in four years last season, losing to Tulsa to finish 6-7 SU and 5-8 ATS.

That will be Iowa State’s goal again in 2013, to get to six wins to earn bowl eligibility with an upset or two along the way.

Odds to Win Big 12: +4500 at 5Dimes
Regular Season Win Total: 5.5 at Bovada

Iowa State is what it is. With no football history to speak of and a home in a tough offensive conference, the Cyclones can’t recruit the talent they need to compete with the big dogs. Instead, they are a hard-working group that is good for the occasional upset, as they earned in road wins over Iowa and TCU last year.

With QB Steele Jantz graduated and Jared Barnett leaving the team, the starting job now belongs solely to Sam Richardson. Richardson played well in limited time last season, passing for eight touchdowns with just one interception while showing off his rushing ability as well. Both James White and Shontrelle Johnson return in the running game, and JUCO transfer Aaron Wimbley looks like a potential standout in the backfield as well. A solid stable of backs and a mobile quarterback points to a likely emphasis on the run in 2013.

All things considered, the defense played well last season. Despite playing in one of the best offensive conferences in the country, Iowa State finished 38th in the nation in points allowed, allowing 23.9 per game. The defense will likely take a hit this season with a pair of key linebackers departing, but at least the unit has shown a pulse in recent years; something that can’t be said of all Big 12 defenses.

Head coach Paul Rhoads has this team going in the right direction, but there isn’t enough firepower here to shootout with the high-powered offenses in the Big 12. Iowa State was 8-4 on the UNDER last season, a trend that will likely continue as the Cyclones will try to control the tempo with their running game this season.

Big 12 Conference Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11

Oklahoma State +260
Texas +295
Oklahoma +390
TCU +395
Baylor +1500
Kansas State +1600
Texas Tech +2500
West Virginia +2500
Iowa State +4500
Kansas +10000