Indiana Hoosiers Win Total: o/u 7.5
The Indiana Hoosiers have consistently been an afterthought in the Big Ten, as fans have mostly used college football to pass the time until college basketball season starts up. Tom Allen and company have been trying to change that the last few seasons.
In the past 30 seasons before 2019, Indiana had only 4 winning seasons on the books. The Hoosiers are coming off back-to-back winning seasons, including a 6-2 campaign in 2020, their most successful season since 1967.
At Iowa (9/4)
The Hoosiers start the season off with a road test at Iowa. The Hawkeyes typically have a strong running game and stout defense, which will test how well quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has recovered from his ACL injury a season ago. Iowa has taken 7 of the last 8 matchups against Indiana, and the Hoosiers haven’t won in Iowa City since 2007. Iowa opens with a betting line of -4.5 at home per BetOnline.
Typically, a game against a group of five schools wouldn’t be highlighted on a team’s schedule, but Cincinnati isn’t a typical group of five teams. The Bearcats went 9-1 last season with a last-second loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Peach Bowl and have aspirations to reach the College Football Playoff this season. Coach Luke Fickell has Big Ten familiarity with his time as the interim head coach at Ohio State, and quarterback Desmond Ridder comes back to lead Cincy on offense.
The Bearcats will certainly have this game circled as an opportunity to provide their worthiness to the playoff committee, and the Hoosiers better come ready to play to avoid an upset.
Ohio State (10/23)
This game provided unexpected fireworks in 2020 as the Hoosiers took the Buckeyes down to the wire. Quarterback Michael Penix had his way with the Ohio State defense, shredding them for almost 500 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Buckeyes are replacing a number of players in their back seven, and quarterback Justin Fields has moved on to the NFL.
If the Hoosiers want to prove their belonging with the Big Ten’s best, a win in this game would go a long way to showing that. BetOnline has the betting line opening with Ohio State as a 10.5 point road favorite.
The focus will be on quarterback Michael Penix Jr. who threw for 14 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions in the four games he played in before tearing his ACL in the game against Maryland. The Hoosiers expect Penix to be full go by the time they kick off against Iowa. Wide receiver Whop Phyilor is playing on Sundays, but his running mate Ty Fryfogle returns after proving in 2020 he can torture opposing secondaries.
In a two-game span against Michigan State and Ohio State, Fryfogle amassed 18 receptions for 418 yards and 5 touchdowns. The production declined some after Penix went down, but the two look to pick up where they left off last season. On the defensive side of the ball, Indiana projects to start a heavy dose of seniors, which should make Indiana one of the more formidable defenses in the conference.
Over 7.5 wins. Indiana is a team that has consistently been improving under coach Tom Allen, and with Penix returning, there’s great reason to believe that trend continues. The Hoosiers are hurt by playing in the same division as Ohio State, who has proven to be a stalwart in the national championship conversation and has had a stranglehold on the Big Ten East most years. There’s enough margin for error here that betting the over on the Hoosiers should be cashed in with sportsbooks. BetUS has over 7.5 with -115 odds, and if there’s an extra conference in the Hoosiers, Bovada has the line set at 8 wins with some extra juice at +120.
Indiana +10.5 vs Ohio State
The Hoosiers gave the Buckeyes their biggest test until the national championship game last season, losing by only a touchdown 42-35. BetOnline has an early line on this game with Indiana as a 10.5 point underdog. The Hoosiers should have the fire-power to hang with the Buckeyes again this season, and the over bet would be one to keep an eye on as the betting lines get released.
Michael Penix Jr. Heisman Trophy Winner
If Penix just replicates the success he experienced against Ohio State last season across a 12 game schedule, he may run away with this award. The pass thrower should put up great stats this year, but unless Indiana is able to make a postseason run, this trophy may be out of his reach. BetOnline has Penix’s odds at +5000 while Bovada has them at +6600.