Indiana tries once more to notch its first eight-win season since 1993 on Saturday when it also attempts to end a 23-game losing streak to Big Ten rival and No. 12 Michigan.
The Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) are 9.5-point underdogs at -110 at PointsBet and enter this contest just outside the AP Top 25. Ranked for the first time since 1994 last Saturday, then-No. 24 Indiana came up just short last week at ninth-ranked Penn State, losing 34-27 despite Peyton Ramsey throwing for a career-high 371 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the loss, Ramsey showed the offense is in good hands following the season-ending injury to Michael Penix in the Hoosiers’ win over Northwestern on Nov. 2. Though the 27 points represent Indiana’s second-lowest scoring output, it is still 31st among FBS teams in total offense at 448 yards per game and 37th in scoring at 33.3 points per contest.
The Wolverines (8-2, 5-2), though, are a different animal. They have not lost to the Hoosiers since a 14-10 defeat in 1987 and are 11th in the nation in scoring defense at 16.4 points per game. Michigan has yielded 31 points combined during its current three-game winning streak after throttling in-state rival Michigan State 44-10 last Saturday.
Indiana is clearly an improved team compared to seasons past, but with Michigan getting a low-side hook on a TD+FG combination, the Wolverines at -9.5 (-110) is the play. The Wolverines have covered in their last four games and are 5-1 against the spread in their last six Big Ten contests, which trumps them being 0-3-1 versus the number in the last four meetings with the Hoosiers.
Though both teams have proficient offenses, the combination of Michigan’s defense and a forecast calling for cold and rain makes the under of 54.5 points (-110) a better play. The under has delivered in five of Indiana’s last six home games, and the teams have surpassed 51 points just once in their last five matchups.
Purdue continues late-season bowl push
While the Hoosiers are trying to move up the bowl ladder, Purdue faces a difficult task remaining bowl eligible Saturday at No. 14 Wisconsin. The Boilermakers (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten), who were idle last weekend, are 24.5-point underdogs despite back-to-back victories and are coming off a 24-22 victory at Northwestern on Nov. 9.
Even with walk-on quarterback Aidan O’Connell getting two full weeks worth of reps as the starter following an injury to Jack Plummer, the Badgers are the play at -24.5 (-110) since they have more at stake and are at home. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2) is still in contention for the West Division title and boast one of the nation’s best running backs in Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor is second in the nation among FBS rushers with 1,463 yards and looking for a third straight 200-yard game after gashing Nebraska for 204 in Wisconsin’s 37-21 victory last Saturday. He has also run roughshod on Purdue’s defense in the two previous meetings, accumulating a whopping 540 yards while averaging 8.6 per carry. Taylor set a career high with 321 yards in last year’s 47-44 triple overtime victory at Purdue, ending the game with a 17-yard scoring run.
Taking the over for Wisconsin’s team total at 36 points (-115) is also a solid play as opposed to the overall total of 48 given the Badgers have recorded three shutouts at home this season and yet to allow a first-half touchdown in six games at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin, which has averaged 38.3 points in going undefeated at home, has also won the last 13 meetings between the teams and covered in 13 of the last 16 matchups.
Surging Irish resume march toward NYD bowl game
Notre Dame will not be in the College Football Playoff by season’s end, but a New Year’s Day bowl game remains a possibility heading into Saturday’s showdown at home versus Boston College. The 15th-ranked Irish (8-2) are 20.5-point favorites as they try to win a fourth straight game and put together one of their most complete games last Saturday in pounding then-No. 21 Navy 52-20.
Ian Book matched a career high with five touchdown passes as his 284 yards came on just 14 completions. Notre Dame has rolled up 111 points and 1,321 yards during its win streak and now faces a soft Boston College defense that has yielded 500 or more yards on four occasions after giving up 524 in a 38-31 loss to Florida State in its last game Nov. 9.
The Eagles (5-5) need one more win to be bowl eligible and still trying to find a balance offensively since quarterback Dennis Grosel replaced injured starter Anthony Brown. Grosel threw for a season-high 227 yards versus the Seminoles, but running back AJ Dillon remains BC’s bellwether and ranks third in the country with 1,451 rushing yards.
Notre Dame has loosened up since its second loss and looks to be good value at -20.5 (-110) and going over its team total of 42 points (-115). The Irish have covered in six of their last eight home games and should be able to have their way against an Eagles defense that ranks 98th in points allowed (32.1 ppg) and 125th of 130 FBS teams in passing yards allowed (302.3).
Despite being mostly one-dimensional offensively, Boston College’s proficient running game — ranked fifth in the country at 282.2 yards per game — matched up with a middling Notre Dame run defense makes the total over of 64 points (-110) worth considering. The Eagles are averaging 33.8 points and have scored 30 or more in three of their four road games.