Indiana vs. Penn State Odds, Expert Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Wednesday, Jan. 11)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Trayce Jackson-Davis
- The Penn State Nittany Lions host the Indiana Hoosiers for a Big Ten battle on Wednesday night.
- The Hoosiers have been scuffling lately but should have an advantage with Trayce Jackson-Davis, despite being listed as short underdogs.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Indiana vs. Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Penn State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Penn State Nittany Lions host the Indiana Hoosiers on Wednesday night in a key Big Ten matchup for both teams.
Indiana’s impressive home win against North Carolina to move to 7-0 to close out November seemed to suggest that the Hoosiers were truly a top-10 team this season. Regression has hit for Mike Woodson’s Hoosiers in the last six weeks, though. Now Indiana is under .500 in the Big Ten at 1-3 through four games.
They’ve really struggled away from home especially and will look to pick up a key league win at Penn State. The Nittany Lions lost in a semi-home site against Purdue at The Palestra in Philadelphia on Sunday and have also lost two consecutive games entering Tuesday.
Both programs are in need of a bounce back victory and the betting market has this game lined with the Nittany Lions as a small, 2.5-point favorite. The Hoosiers will lean on Trayce Jackson-Davis inside to take advantage of the Nittany Lions’ interior defense, and it’s not clear that Penn State can overcome this mismatch.
Because of Jackson-Davis, the Hoosiers feed the ball into the post early and often. Per Synergy data, Indiana shoots out of the post-up on 11.1% of possessions, which is top 12% in the country in usage. They’re very efficient there and any analysis around a Hoosiers game starts with the opponent’s ability to slow them down in the spot.
It’s a major weakness for the Nittany Lions’ defense. Penn State doesn’t have John Harrar in the middle anymore and teams are attacking them there. No team in the country has faced more post-ups than PSU and they rank in the 19th percentile in points per possession allowed.
Indiana loves to get out and run in transition, but the Nittany Lions are the most transition-resistant team in the country. Because Penn State doesn’t ever turn the ball over and doesn’t go after offensive rebounds at all, no defense has faced less transition opportunities than their defense.
That will force Indiana to operate in the half court. The Hoosiers have been elite offensively in the half court when forced to operate there, too. They’ve hit open jumpers from 3 and even though regression looms for the perimeter shooters, they don’t rely at all on the 3 ball and should get plenty of success going downhill on pick-and-roll and post-ups.
Micah Shrewsbury has done a stellar job developing talent and using the transfer portal to mold Penn State into a difficult team to guard. The Nittany Lions have a ton of ball handlers on the court at all times and are always ready to shoot. Penn State is top 15 in 3-point attempt rate and the Nittany Lions have made 39% from deep.
The offense is a lot better this year because it’s way more efficient on its first shot. When you consider that Penn State improved from 151st in effective field goal percentage last year to 23rd this year despite similar returning production and a really short bench, it’s harder to believe that the Nittany Lions will sustain this shooting efficiency.
Penn State ranks 140th in percentage of jump shots that are unguarded, so it’s not as if the Nittany Lions are consistently getting elite looks to sustain the percentage they’ve been shooting all season long.
Indiana’s defense at the rim is its weakest area, especially now that Race Thompson is out injured. But the Nittany Lions shoot too much from the perimeter and don’t have the paint scorer to exploit that.
Indiana vs. Penn State Betting Pick
The Hoosiers’ season is teetering right now and they’ve been quite poor away from Assembly Hall this year. But Indiana has a major advantage in the post-up with Jackson-Davis and the Nittany Lions’ offense has regression coming from a shooting perspective.
Penn State doesn’t have the size on the interior to both stop Jackson-Davis nor can it take advantage of a mediocre post-up defense for the Hoosiers themselves. Even if this game is played at Penn State’s pace, the Hoosiers were downgraded too much after these last two losses by a combined three points.
I’d bet Indiana at +2 or better once factoring in the home court advantage for the Nittany Lions.
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