Indiana vs. Wisconsin Odds, Picks & Predictions: Lay the Points Against Banged-Up Hoosiers
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Indiana Hoosiers running back Stevie Scott III.
- Indiana heads to Madison for its first game without QB Michael Penix Jr., who tore his ACL last weekend.
- Graham Mertz headlines a Badgers offense that still relies mostly on the ground game, although the Wisconsin QB could have a big game vs. IU.
- Matt Wispe is backing the Badgers against a Hoosiers team without its quarterback, and he explains why.
Indiana vs. Wisconsin Odds
|Indiana Odds||+14 [BET NOW]|
|Wisconsin Odds||-14 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+445 / -667 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||44.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
Indiana enters this game following a 27-11 victory over Maryland. However, it might have suffered a more significant loss, with starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering an ACL tear.
Wisconsin’s game with Minnesota was canceled last weekend due to COVID-19 issues, which means this is its first game since losing to Northwestern. This is only the Badgers’ fourth game of the season and Graham Mertz’s fourth career start. So, even though the season is getting close to completion, there are plenty of lingering questions.
Even in a terrible performance, Wisconsin still should have pulled out a win. So against the dinged-up Hoosiers, the Badgers should have no trouble getting their third win against the spread this year.
The Hoosiers’ offense is a complete question mark. Entering this week, Indiana has passed the ball on 53 percent of its plays, running a play every 26.3 seconds. However, losing Penix is likely to change its approach.
Penix was replaced by sophomore Jack Tuttle, who completed all five of his passes for 31 yards in last week’s victory. The Utah transfer, who has been in the program since 2019, has just 16 career pass attempts. Tuttle is a former four-star prospect, who ranked as the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the 2018 class. Yet, even as decorated as he appears, this has to be considered a massive downgrade at the position for the Hoosiers.
Indiana’s rushing offense is led by Stevie Scott III, who has more than 400 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the year. However, even with his scoring prowess, Scott is averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt. Overall, Indiana has a rushing success rate of 34.9% but isn’t getting much help from an offensive line ranking second-worst in Line Yards per attempt.
The Hoosiers’ defense has a Success Rate allowed of 41%, plus it’s above average against both the pass and run. Yet, taking a closer look at the run, there are a few red flags. It ranks fourth-worst in Stuff Rate, plus it allows the 11th-most Line Yards per attempt.
The Northwestern game exposed some of Wisconsin’s flaws, but Wisconsin still out-gained the Wildcats by more than 100 yards and had a postgame win expectancy of 90%. Wisconsin held Northwestern to just 17 points, despite giving up five turnovers in the game.
Mertz might get all of the buzz when it comes to this offense, but in their three games, the stats point to the same team that we’ve seen for years. The Badgers run the ball on 62.9% of their plays, plus they have a Rushing Success Rate of 52.7%. And as we’ve come to expect from it, the offensive line is making it easy on the running backs, averaging 3.96 Line Yards per attempt and allowing a 19.9% Stuff Rate.
While Mertz isn’t the true centerpiece of the Wisconsin offense, he has uplifted the offense in his three games. He’s completed 65.5% of his passes, leading to an average of 7.2 yards per attempt and eight touchdowns. Mertz’s three interceptions came against a Northwestern defense ranking inside the top 10 for Passing Success Rate allowed.
Against Indiana, which ranks 55th, Mertz should find more success.
Defensively, Wisconsin is among the elite. The Badgers allow a 27.1% Success Rate, which ranks first in the nation, and just 1.93 points per opportunity that’s good enough for second in the country. The defensive line yields just 2.82 Line Yards per attempt, a Stuff Rate of 22.6% and 5.67 tackles for loss per game.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Wisconsin’s defense proved it was special even in a loss. On the other side, Indiana is limping into this game. Bottom line, I don’t see a path for Indiana to light up the scoreboard, yet Wisconsin should find plenty of success running the ball against its opponent’s defense.
Even in what I forecast to be a low-scoring game, I’m taking the favorite to easily cover double-digit points. That said, I am backing the Badgers at -13.5 and would take them up to -17.5 points.
Pick: Wisconsin -13.5 (play up to -17.5).