Both of Indiana’s Big Ten programs face daunting challenges Saturday trying to improve their bowl eligibility status, but the Hoosiers and Purdue Boilermakers each have the chance to throw the conference race into chaos as they face two of the league’s three unbeaten teams.
Indiana (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten East) and Purdue (3-2, 1-1 West) have intradivisional matchups, with the Hoosiers hosting #10 AP/#9 USA Today and East co-leader Michigan State at noon local time. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers are on the road versus West-leading and second-ranked Iowa in mid-afternoon action.
All three of Indiana’s losses have come to ranked teams, including a pair of Top 10 Big Ten foes in the Hawkeyes and Penn State. The Hoosiers have failed to put together a complete 60-minute game against an elite opponent, as their overachieving 2020 season looks more and more like a one-off with each passing game.
Purdue, meanwhile, has dropped two of three after opening the season with a pair of victories and is facing a Top 10 opponent for the first time since stunning then-No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 on Oct. 20, 2018. The Boilermakers have dropped five straight to ranked teams overall since a 38-36 victory over the 18th-ranked Hawkeyes on Nov. 3, 2018, and 27 straight on the road against Top 25 opponents since upending then-No. 14 Wisconsin 26-23 on Oct. 18, 2003.
Are the Hoosiers worthy home dogs?
"It's a great opportunity to come together to look adversity in the eye."
— Indiana Football (@IndianaFootball) October 13, 2021
Indiana’s offense has gone missing in its two conference defeats, losing 34-6 at Iowa to start the season and 24-0 at then-No. 4 Penn State on Oct. 2. The Hoosiers were held to 264 total yards in Happy Valley, losing momentum in the first quarter after failing to convert a fourth down inside the Nittany Lions’ 5-yard line following an interception by Raheem Layne.
Compounding those problems is the status of quarterback Michael Penix for this game. He suffered a separated AC joint in his throwing shoulder at Penn State, and Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen has not announced who will start under center. Jack Tuttle, who served as a capable understudy last year when Penix got hurt and guided Indiana to a victory over Wisconsin, would start if Penix cannot, but he also finished 6 of 12 for 77 yards and an interception versus the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State (6-0, 3-0) is completing a two-game road swing after defeating Rutgers 31-13. For the first time in school history, the Spartans had a 300-yard passer, 200-yard rusher, and 200-yard receiver as the offense rolled up 582 yards. Payton Thorne threw three touchdown passes — all to Jaien Nailor — that covered a combined 191 yards, as Naylor finished with a career-best 221 yards on just five receptions. Kenneth Walker added a 94-yard scoring run and totaled 233 yards while Thorne finished with 339 through the air.
For the main offerings, there is some variety worth further investigating. While most sportsbooks are offering Indiana +4.5 at the standard -110 or slightly higher, FanDuel has gone a full point lower at +3.5 (-106) while still offering the high-side hook as some protection for Hoosiers backers. WynnBET is the other book off the consensus at +4 with the standard -110.
Those thinking Indiana can solve its offensive woes and spring an upset of Michigan State can grab the Hoosiers on the moneyline at +165 at theScore, with FanDuel, PointsBet, and Caesars all close behind at +160.
WynnBET has also broken from the pack for the over/under with the highest listing at 49 (-110). DraftKings has taken the low end here at 48 (-115/-105), with others settling on 48.5 points. For those liking the over, the Kambi platform powering BetRivers and Unibet is offering that number at -107, while the standard -110 is the best value for the under at PointsBet, Caesars, BetMGM, and theScore.
Sports bettors interested in doing a double play of either the spread or moneyline paired with the over/under also have options. FanDuel is offering +400 in both directions for a Hoosiers moneyline and the over/under, while BetRivers and Unibet are offering +285 for Indiana +4.5 and over 48.5 points. DraftKings has a single game parlay offering of +265 for Indiana +3.5 and under 48.5.
Indiana’s team total ranges from 20.5 points (-155/+120) at BetMGM to 22 at WynnBET (-110) and both PointsBet and theScore (-115). Kambi (-108/-122) and DraftKings (-115) have split the difference at 21.5 points.
There is slightly more agreement on the first-half line, which is Indiana +2.5 at most books and FanDuel, Caesars, theScore, and WynnBET offering that play at even money (+100). DraftKings has Indiana +3, but also at -120. DraftKings does have the best value (-115) for those riding the over on a low-side hook of 23.5 points, with BetRivers offering +102 on the under at that total. TheScore and BetMGM are offering a standard -110 play at 24 points.
Boilermakers out to buck double-digit ‘dog status
— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) October 5, 2021
Purdue, which has won three of the last four matchups against Iowa, was idle last week after losing 20-13 at home to Minnesota on Oct. 2. Aidan O’Connell threw for 371 yards and a touchdown, but he was intercepted on a potential game-tying drive in the red zone on the Boilermakers’ last possession.
O’Connell, whom Purdue coach Jeff Brohm elevated to starter after he rallied the Boilermakers to a 13-9 win over Illinois, was aided by the return of both running back King Doerue, who had 95 yards versus the Gophers, and wide receiver David Bell, who has 27 catches for 439 yards in four games.
The Hawkeyes (6-0) could be primed for a letdown after rallying to defeat then-No. 4 Penn State 23-20 at home last weekend. Spencer Petras’ 44-yard touchdown pass to Nico Ragaini with 6:26 to play capped a comeback from a 17-3 first-half deficit and put Iowa in the driver’s seat in the West Division.
It was also Iowa’s 12th straight victory dating back to last season, and a win in this game would match its longest under Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes are third in the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 13 points per game, and eighth in total defense at 274 yards per game.
Most sportsbooks have listed Purdue as 11.5-point underdogs, with only BetRivers and Kambi (-109) deviating from the standard -110. BetMGM and WynnBET have ticked higher to +12, and both are offering that number at -110.
Kambi is also the place for those thinking Purdue can pull off an upset as its +450 moneyline offering is substantially higher than anywhere else, save FanDuel (+420). There is some variance for the Boilers’ team total, with DraftKings on an island at 16.5 points with a +105/-135 split.
PointsBet, BetRivers, Unibet, and BetMGM all have that number at 14.5 points with wildly differing values. PointsBet has a +115/-150 split, the Kambi platform is offering -106/-129 and BetMGM has posted the play at +100/-125. TheScore is offering 15.5 points with a -110/-120 split.
The overall over/under has a more limited band, with FanDuel (-110) on the low side at 42.5 points and WynnBET taking the high ground at 43.5 (-110). Among those in the middle, PointsBet and DraftKings have -105 on the over, while the standard -110 is the best under play found at Caesars, BetMGM and theScore.
Those interested in playing the double have options, with BetRivers again a high-end outlier for Purdue backers. They have a moneyline offering of +1050 for Purdue and over 43 points, though FanDuel’s +950 play is the best on the under side, albeit at 42.5 points. FanDuel is also offering the double with two spreads, Purdue +11.5 and +12, with the over fetching +290 and +300, respectively and the unders at +240 and +230.
The first-half line could also prove a challenge for bettors, as they must grapple with a low-side hook or a flat touchdown number. For the former, FanDuel is offering the Boilers +6.5 at +110, notably better than DraftKings (-105) and Kambi (-106). BetMGM has the best play at Purdue +7, offering that option at -105.
The best moneyline play comes from BetRivers, which has a three-way play at +310, while DraftKings has the best standard offering at +290. The over/under can be grabbed at 21.5 or 22 points, with FanDuel’s -110 in both directions for the lower total the best value on either side. At 22 points, DraftKings, BetMGM, WynnBET, and Caesars are all offering -105 on the over, while theScore is doing likewise on the under.