College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for Indiana vs. Penn State: The Bet to Make for Saturday Night’s Big Ten Showdown (Oct. 2)

College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for Indiana vs. Penn State: The Bet to Make for Saturday Night’s Big Ten Showdown (Oct. 2) article feature image
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  • The Indiana Hoosiers travel to Happy Valley on Saturday to take on a top-five Penn State Nittany Lions squad.
  • The Hoosiers picked up a controversial win after regulation last season, so the Nittany Lions will be looking for revenge in this one.
  • Matt Wispe breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.

Indiana vs. Penn State Odds

Indiana Odds +12
Penn State Odds -12
Moneyline +375 / -510
Over/Under 53.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ABC
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

After last season’s classic game that ended semi-controversially, Penn State enters this game vs. Indiana on a roll and looking for revenge.

Indiana comes into this game after a close win over Western Kentucky. Penn State enters as a 4-0 squad following their non-cover over FCS Villanova.

Penn State is 3-1 ATS for the year and is favored for the fourth time this season. During his time at Penn State, James Franklin is 34-28-3 ATS as a favorite.

Indiana is 1-3 ATS for the year and are underdogs for the third time. As head coach of the Hoosiers, Tom Allen is 10-12-1 ATS as an underdog.


Indiana vs. Penn State Betting Preview

Saturday, October 2
7:30 p.m. ET
ABC

Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana Offense

At face value, the Hoosiers’ offense is producing similar to their 2020 campaign.

They’re averaging 29.87 points per game, but their 56-point performance against Idaho is offsetting a six-point game against Iowa. They’re scoring 4.46 points per opportunity and have only allowed a 15% Havoc rate.

They’ve also only averaged 4.8 yards per play and have a below-average 41% Success Rate.

Despite expecting to be solid through the air, the Hoosiers have struggled with efficiency. They’re completing 54.1% of their passes for an average of 6.25 yards per attempt and as a whole, they only have a 41.4% Passing Success Rate.

Per game, they’ve only completed 2.25 passes greater than 20 yards.

One reason they’ve lacked explosive plays is the drop-off in efficiency for top receiver, Ty Fryfogle, who averaged 19.5 yards per reception in 2020 and has dropped down to just 10.7 through four games in 2021.

Topping off their struggles is Michael Penix Jr. throwing six interceptions.

The running game has struggled despite the addition of transfer, Stephen Carr.

They have a Rushing Success Rate of 40.5% and have averaged 3.5 yards per carry. As a unit, they’ve averaged 3.25 rushes over 10 yards per game and 1.25 runs over 20 yards.

The struggles appear to start with an offensive line that has only created 2.82 Line Yards per attempt and is allowing a 17.6% Stuff Rate.


Indiana Defense

Tom Allen’s team has allowed an average of 29.2 points per game, including 30+ points in each of their three games against FBS opponents.

They have allowed a 44% overall Success Rate and have only generated Havoc on 15.4% of plays. Opponents have been finishing drives well with an average of 4.37 points per opportunity.

The pass defense is the better of the two units allowing a 40% Passing Success Rate. They’ve allowed 229 passing yards per game and opposing QBs have completed 59.2% of their passes.

The Hoosiers have also allowed 2.75 passes over 20 yards per game. While they’ve defended 17 passes, they’ve only managed one interception.

The run defense has allowed just 3.8 yards per carry, but they’ve also allowed a 48.6% Rushing Success Rate.

Their defensive line appears to be strong by holding opponents to 2.91 line yards per attempt and forcing a 19.6% stuff rate.

Against a Penn State unit that has struggled to find success running the ball, this unit should hold up.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State Offense

Penn State has averaged 6.5 yards per play and has scored 31.5 points per game.

The Nittany Lions’ strengths have come in finishing drives with 4.18 points per opportunity and limiting Havoc to a 15% rate. They have an overall success rate of 47.7% and have averaged 25 seconds per play.

The much maligned Sean Clifford appears to be taking a big step forward under new offensive coordinator, Mike Yurcich. Clifford has completed 71.7% of his passes for an average of 9.7 yards per attempt.

These represent 18% and 29% improvements from 2020, respectively. It’s in large part because of this that the team has a Passing Success Rate of 51.5% and has averaged five passes over 20 yards per game.

Clifford’s development, along with the emergence of Parker Washington and Keandre Lambert-Smith as complementary options to Jahan Dotson, has turned the passing game into the strength of the offense.

The running game has struggled with a 43.5% Rushing Success Rate while averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt.

The return of Noah Cain has added stability to the unit, but his 3.4 yards per attempt hasn’t provided a significant boost to the overall production. The offensive line has generated just 2.73 Line Yards per attempt and they’ve been stuffed 22.6% of the time.


Penn State Defense

Despite struggling to create consistent Havoc, the Nittany Lions defense has found ways to get off of the field.

They’re allowing just 2.79 points per opportunity and have allowed a Success Rate of 39.4%. They’ve allowed just 4.3 yards per play and 15 points per game.

Opponents have been able to find some success passing against this defense, but the Nittany Lions are generally average ranking 48th nationally with 204.5 passing yards allowed per game. They’ve allowed a 60% completion percentage and 5.27 yards per attempt.

As a defense, they have a 39.7 Passing Success Rate and have forced four interceptions. Against Penix, their interception total could rise.

Their run defense starts with a strong defensive line that has held opponents to 2.83 Line Yards per attempt while stuffing 19.9% of rush attempts. They’ve held opponents to a 39% Rushing Success Rate and have only allowed 3.3 yards per attempt.


Indiana vs. Penn State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Indiana and Penn State match up statistically:

Indiana Offense vs. Penn State Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 103 75
Line Yards 100 62
Pass Success 93 59
Pass Blocking** 99 90
Big Play 124 10
Havoc 55 111
Finishing Drives 49 21
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Penn State Offense vs. Indiana Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 50 85
Line Yards 94 49
Pass Success 10 45
Pass Blocking** 69 52
Big Play 73 33
Havoc 100 67
Finishing Drives 33 82
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 41 41
PFF Coverage 76 2
Middle 8 97 6
SP+ Special Teams 61 58
Plays per Minute 80 34
Rush Rate 51.8% (81) 51.% (89)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


The most noteworthy matchup within this matchup appears to be the Indiana offense against Penn State’s defense. While Penn State’s defense is far from elite, statistically, they appear to hold an edge across the board.

On the other side of the ball, Penn State’s offense isn’t likely to break off explosive plays against this defense, but if its respective Success Rates hold true, they’ll be able to consistently chip away and finish long drives.


Indiana vs. Penn State Betting Pick

Indiana’s offense looks like it will be in for a long day, but its defense may not be far behind. It’s failed to hold back any of its FBS opponents, and this Penn State offense looks to be as efficient as it’s been in years.

Both sharp and big money bets have come in on Penn State to cover the spread, and that’s where I’m at as well.

I like the Nittany Lions up to two touchdowns. I also would make smaller plays on the team total for Penn State.

Pick: Penn State -14 or better | Penn State Team Total Over 33.5

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