Irish, Hoosiers, And Boilermakers All Set For Marquee 2021 Openers

Notre Dame, Indiana, and Purdue begin seasons of differing expectations this weekend as the three highest-profile schools in the Hoosier State face challenges of varying difficulty.
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College football is back, and the state of Indiana is well represented this holiday weekend, as all three high-profile FBS teams — No. 7/9 Notre Dame, No. 17 Indiana, and Purdue — all begin their respective seasons.

Sportsbook operators across the state are offering plenty of action on these three games and other contests across the nation, so finding the best value for sports bettors involves some line-shopping across the many mobile apps available, as well as your brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, should you want to make the trip.

All three schools face Power 5 FBS opponents that offer challenges to varying degrees, with Indiana taking on the biggest one by starting its season at Big Ten rival and fellow AP Top 25 foe Iowa. Below is a look at what is being offered for all three games.

Hoosiers look to establish Big Ten bonafides at Iowa

The 17th-ranked Hoosiers begin their season with a difficult matchup, facing No. 18 Iowa on the road in a crossover conference clash. Indiana has lost three straight to the Hawkeyes since a 24-21 victory at home in 2012, and also has come away from Iowa City empty-handed in its last three trips since a 38-20 triumph in 2007.

Oddsmakers across Indiana’s books have installed the Hoosiers as 3.5-point underdogs to varying levels. PointsBet, BetMGM, Caesars, WynnBET, and theScore are all offering the standard -110 in both directions, which is also the best price to get the Hoosiers. The Kambi platform — powering BetRivers, Barstool Sportsbook, and Unibet — is offering a -114/-107 split, while FanDuel and DraftKings have a -115/-105 split.

For Hoosier backers confident they will start the season 1-0, the moneyline is worth shopping given the high volume of sportsbooks available. At 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, theScore had the best play available at +160, followed by BetMGM at +155. Multiple books — DraftKings, PointsBet, Caesars, and WynnBET — ticked down to +150, while FanDuel was just off that quartet at +148 and the Kambi-backed trio all listed Indiana at +138.

There was little variation in the over/under, as oddsmakers ranged from 45 points at BetRivers, Unibet, and Barstool with a -112/-109 split to 46 at DraftKings, PointsBet, BetMGM, Caesars, WynnBET, and theScore. Of the six, only BetMGM came off the standard -110 and was offering a -115/-105 split on the over/under. FanDuel opted for the Goldilocks approach, splitting the difference at 45.5 points and offering -112 for the over and -108 for the under.

Purdues hosts Oregon State in 500th game at Ross-Ade

Purdue kicks off its 134th season of football at home versus Oregon State on Saturday, which will also mark its 500th game at Ross-Ade Stadium. The Boilermakers have recorded 290 wins at the venue since its doors opened in 1924, but the Beavers recorded a 22-14 victory over the defending Rose Bowl champions in their lone visit to West Lafayette in 1967.

The pressure is on Boilers coach Jeff Brohm to make tangible progress entering his fifth season — he is 19-25 and has failed to reach a bowl game in the last two years — and do-everything playmaker Rondale Moore is now with the Arizona Cardinals after being selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. David Bell had 53 catches for 625 yards and eight touchdowns last season, and will be the primary target for Jack Plummer, who beat out three other candidates and threw for 938 yards and eight TDs in 2020 while splitting time with Aidan O’Connell.

Despite going 2-5 last season, Oregon State was a tough out in the Pac-12. The Beavers suffered three of those losses by six or fewer points, and they also claimed state bragging rights with a 41-38 win over Oregon. That could be why nearly all oddsmakers have listed Purdue as only 7-point favorites. FanDuel is the lone outlier, offering the hook on the low side and trying to woo Boilermakers backers with a -6.5 offering at -118. The Kambi platform is offering Purdue at -112 with the touchdown spread, while everyone else is offering -110 on both sides.

The moneyline has slightly more variety, with Kambi this time providing the best play for Purdue at -250 for BetRivers, Barstool, and Unibet. FanDuel and Caesars trail close behind at -260, while DraftKings is offering -275. WynnBET and theScore check in at -280, with PointsBet bringing up the rear at -281.

Depending on the sportsbook, the over/under is either 68.5 or 69 points. The Kambi platform has the former at a -108/-113 split, while Caesars and theScore are offering the standard -110 on both sides. Every book offering 69 points is playing nice with a standard -110 offering.

Irish get marquee Sunday slot for Seminoles showdown

No. 7/9 Notre Dame got a high-profile slot for its 2021 opening, drawing Florida State on the road Sunday. While they may not have the same national buzz as in years past, the Fighting Irish still harbor College Football Playoff aspirations and face a rebuilding Seminoles team. Florida State coach Mike Norvell said Thursday he does not plan to name either Jordan Travis or UCF grad transfer McKenzie Milton his starting quarterback until game day.

Sportsbooks have been offering Notre Dame as 7 or 7.5-point favorites, with the high-side hook creating different values. At the Kambi-platform books, Notre Dame is -112 compared to Florida State being -109. At FanDuel, the split is -102/-120. BetMGM is offering -105/-115, while theScore counters with +100/-120. For bettors willing to play the hook, it may be best to wait closer to kickoff — especially considering Florida State’s QB situation is unclear.

DraftKings, PointsBet and Caesars were all offering the standard -110 on both sides of the 7-point spread. The moneyline is also a place where values can fluctuate, and as of Thursday afternoon, Irish backers could grab -275 at BetMGM and -280 at DraftKings and Caesars, compared to -300 and higher elsewhere.

The over/under has a narrow band between 55 and 56 points, with DraftKings (-110) and PointsBet (-115/-105) on the low side and Caesars (-110) on the high end. Among those offering 55.5 points, BetRivers, Barstool, and Unibet were slightly off the standard -110, offering a -109/-112 split.

 

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