College Football Odds, Picks & Futures: How to Bet Indiana’s Win Total
Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Devon Matthews.
Another Friday, another future.
While we’re still a ways away from the start of the college football season, it’s never too late to add futures to the portfolio as the calendar moves closer to the start of the season.
So far this season, I’ve highlighted my favorite team season win totals, division/conference futures and Heisman plays.
We keep our focus on the Big Ten this week as we travel down to Bloomington, Indiana, and dive into the Hoosiers’ outlook after an abysmal season last year.
Hint: It’s not looking pretty.
What Happened to Indiana?
After a promising 2020 COVID-19 season that saw Indiana finish 6-2, it grossly disappointed the following year with a 2-10 record. So, what happened?
After opening the season ranked in the top 25, Indiana fell out once Big Ten play started up. It battled a barrage of injuries and unfortunate losses throughout the season.
That’s last season. Now, we’re focused on 2022. The Hoosiers will feature a new quarterback, new coordinators, new weapons from the transfer portal and an overhaul on defense.
Can’t Get Much Worse
Luckily for Indiana, a change can’t make things much worse, as it ranked 100th or worse in Offensive Success Rate, Offensive Finishing Drives and Havoc Allowed last season. Nothing went right for the Hoosiers.
The offense was anemic as it gets, averaging fewer than 300 yards and 18 points per game.
While the starting quarterback has not been officially named yet, it’s a strong assumption Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak will fill in under center after losing his starting role last season. He can be a decent passer at times, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio is alarming and will need to improve fast.
Receiver DJ Matthews is the only starting wideout to bring back experience for Indiana, although he suffered a season-ending injury after four games. Transfers Cam Camper and Emery Simmons will look to round out the unit as open-field play makers.
The focus will be on the offensive line with three starters returning. The unit failed to push back against defensive lines, resulting in a run game that averaged 3.2 yards per carry and gave up 29 sacks in the passing game.
The Hoosiers hope offensive line continuity produces better results, as they have new faces in the backfield in transfers Shaun Shivers and Josh Henderson.
It will be tough to be bullish on a unit that has new faces all over behind an unproven line.
A Glimmer of Hope
The defense will also look to rebuild, bringing back a TARP mark of 25%. Last season’s unit was still not ideal, but it proved to be better than the offensive with marks of 78th in Defensive Success Rate, 24th in Defensive Finishing Drives and 106th in Havoc.
While new defensive coordinator Chad Wilt looks to fill in for Charlton Warren, head coach Tom Allen will look to play more of a role on defense to help bolster the unit.
With question marks all over for a group heavily impacted by the transfer portal, Allen will find that his secondary is the strongest unit with the returns of Tiawan Mullen and Jaylin Williams. The Hoosiers also benefit from familiar faces in Devon Matthews and Bryant Fitzgerald at safety.
If Indiana wants to avoid finishing dead last in the Big Ten again in points allowed, the pressure in the backfield will need to improve to help out the secondary.
Verdict on the Hoosiers
With new faces all around to retool both sides of the ball, Indiana comes in as one of the more curious teams in college football.
While I don’t expect the same bleak performance as last season, it’s tough to improve behind a weak offensive line with a new quarterback and running back and wide receiver corps.
The defense also has question marks up front, relying on the secondary to lock in each game — a tough ask for any unit with holes up front.
Indiana’s schedule does it no favors, with one-possession spreads against Illinois, Western Kentucky and Cincinnati. It will be a sizeable favorite over Idaho, before playing a brutal end-of-season stretch in conference play.
If Indiana drops one early, we have room to play with a hedge down the road if we ever need it.
I played under 4.5 wins when regular-season odds first dropped, and you can still grab the same number as of writing.
Pick: Indiana Under 4.5 Wins (-135)