The Indiana Hoosiers (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) hosts the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0) Saturday in a Big Ten battle at Memorial Stadium. The kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET and airs on ABC.
Ohio State bludgeoned the Maryland Terrapins 66-17 as 22-point home favorites on Oct. 9 for its four straight victory of at least 21 points. Buckeyes freshman QB C.J. Stroud is playing his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation.
Stroud leads the Big Ten in passing TDs, passing efficiency rating, and yards per pass attempt. According to USA TODAY’s Jeff Sagarin, Ohio State is 3-2-1 against the spread (ATS) and 4-2 Over/Under (O/U) with the 59th-toughest strength of schedule.
Last week, the Hoosiers lost 20-15 to the No. 9 Michigan State Spartans as 4.5-point home underdogs. It was Indiana’s third loss in the past four games. The Hoosiers have only covered in one of their six games while going 3-3 O/U. But, Indiana has played the hardest schedule, according to Sagarin. Indiana senior QB Michael Penix Jr. missed the last game and is questionable to play Saturday.
One of the highlights in Indiana’s season last year was nearly upsetting Ohio State as 21-point road underdogs in a 42-35 loss. The Buckeyes have beaten the Hoosiers in 26 straight meetings, but Indiana has covered in eight of the last ten games.
- Opening Line: Ohio State -19
- Current Line: Ohio State -21
- Over/Under: 58.5
Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day succeeded Urban Meyer in 2019. Since then, Ohio State has been 8-6 ATS at home with a plus-31.5-point margin of victory and plus-4.9-point spread differential. Also, the Buckeyes are 12-6-1 ATS vs. Big Ten foes with a plus-7.5-point spread differential and 4-2 ATS with a plus-7.6-point spread differential following a bye week.
Indiana hired head coach Tom Allen in 2017. Over that span, the Hoosiers are 9-11-1 ATS vs. ranked teams, 18-18-1 ATS in conference play, and 11-12 ATS on the road.
Bettors have hammered Ohio State since this line opened. According to Pregame.com, more than 90% of the cash wagered has been on the Buckeyes, which has steamed them up from a 19-point favorite on the opener.
On the other hand, we have a “Pros vs. Joe’s” game in the betting market for the total. Roughly 90% of the cash at the time of publishing is on the Under, but around 70% of the bets placed are on the Over (according to Pregame.com). So oddsmakers react to the money column and have lowered the Ohio State-Indiana total from 60 to the current number.
There are a lot of Ohio State-friendly trends to support laying it with the Buckeyes as a massive road favorite. The only pro-Indiana arguments that bettors can make are flukey ones. Perhaps Ohio State commits stupid penalties or recklessly turns the ball over or gets stopped on a couple of 4th-down attempts.
Otherwise, this should be an Ohio State whooping. Also, I’d expect a motivated Buckeyes team since the Hoosiers almost upset them at the Horseshoe last year. Plus, Ohio State can still make the College Football Playoff if it romps through Big Ten games. That said, I can only “lean” to Ohio State -20.5 (-118 on FanDuel) since it’s below 21, and we’re getting the worst of it with the Buckeyes.
However, I do see some value in the Under. Typically, it’s profitable to follow the money in sports betting, especially when it’s flowing in the opposite direction as the public. That’s what we have here with the Ohio State-Indiana total. A vast majority of the market is backing the Over, but there’s significantly more money on the Under.
Furthermore, the Under in this game makes more sense than the Over. Indiana’s offense averages the fourth-fewest points per game in the Big Ten and gains the fewest yards per play in the conference. Conversely, Ohio State’s offense is one of the best in the country.
But Ohio State plays the No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions next week in their most important conference game to this point. Penn State’s defense is one of the best in the country, and Ohio State might have a muted offensive game plan this week. So if the Buckeyes can breeze past the Hoosiers, why would they want to give Penn State anything to prep for on offense?
PICK: UNDER 59.5 (-110 on BetMGM)
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