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Cincinnati vs Indiana Odds, Picks: Betting Guide for Saturday’s Week 4 Showdown (September 24)

Cincinnati vs Indiana Odds, Picks: Betting Guide for Saturday’s Week 4 Showdown (September 24) article feature image
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Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cincinnati quarterback Ben Bryant.

Cincinnati vs Indiana Odds

Saturday, Sept 24
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Cincinnati Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-16.5
-110
57
-110o / -110u
-750
Indiana Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+16.5
-110
57
-110o / -110u
+525
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

If you’re just glancing at these two teams, you would see a 3-0 Power Five team as 16.5-point underdogs to an AAC team and wonder if you’re looking at the line backward. 

Once you start to dig into these teams, you realize that Luke Fickell has this Cincinnati team playing at an astoundingly high level after losing a ton of talent from his College Football Playoff team to the NFL. 

On the other side, we have an Indiana team that’s worse than its record shows and may not be able to keep its streak of luck going for much longer.


Cincinnati Bearcats

Bearcats Offense

Cincinnati’s raw offensive numbers don’t jump off the page. It ranks just 74th in Offensive Success Rate with a pretty balanced attack, ranking 77th in passing and 71st in rushing.

Arkansas’ defense is one of the better units that Cincinnati will play all season long and is much stronger than Indiana’s. Arkansas’ defense ranks 36th in SP+, and the Bearcats put up an Offensive Success Rate in just the 37th percentile against it in Fayetteville.

Cincinnati did have a 99th percentile Offensive Success Rate against FCS opponent Kennesaw State and scored 38 points against Miami (Ohio), which has a defense that ranks 101st. 

I would expect Cincinnati’s offense to put up a performance somewhere between what it did against Arkansas and Miami (Ohio). It should be able to score over 30 points when playing in front of its home crowd on Saturday.

Bearcats Defense

This Cincinnati defense is stout, coming in ranked 24th by SP+. Similarly to its offense, its defensive numbers also don’t look great so far.

The Bearcats rank just 68th in Defensive Success Rate this season and have struggled mightily against the pass, ranking 102nd. Luckily for them, Connor Bazelak and the Indiana aerial attack will likely not be able to exploit this weakness.

Arkansas had a 60th percentile Success Rate on offense against this Cincinnati defense, but it’s one of the better offenses in the country.

Cincy held Kennesaw to a fifth-percentile Success Rate and allowed only 17 points to Miami (Ohio) last weekend, so it would seem that the Arkansas game has skewed its numbers.

Indiana should likely be 1-2 at this point but has somehow come out of its late-game situations with three wins.

We’ll see Cincinnati show that it’s the better program this week. I think Indiana will only be able to hit a maximum of 20 points without help from its defense.


Indiana Hoosiers

Hoosiers Offense

The Hoosiers defeated Idaho earlier this season by a score of 35-22, which is probably closer than a Big Ten program would want to be with an FCS school ideally.

Outside of this victory, though, their other wins have been questionable, to say the least.

Indiana’s offense hasn’t been anything remarkable yet. It ranks 79th in Offensive Success Rate, including 87th through the air and 61st on the ground. 

The best proxy we have for how Indiana’s offense will look this game is the Illinois game. Illinois’ defense ranks 25th, per SP+, while Cincinnati is 24th, so I would expect a comparable output from Indiana this week.

In that game, the Hoosiers put up an Offensive Success Rate in the 14th percentile. Indiana would have been projected to win this game just 31% of the time, and the expected margin was a 4.4-point loss, according to ESPN’s Bill Connelly’s post-game win expectancy. 

It was even luckier to pull out the win against Western Kentucky last weekend, as I covered in my Misleading Box Scores column earlier this week. The Hoosiers had just an 11% post-game win expectancy and would have been expected to lose by 10.7 points. Instead, they pulled out a three-point victory in overtime following a blocked field goal.

Against a WKU defense that’s ranked 100th by SP+, Indiana had just a 66th percentile Offensive Success Rate. This offense is currently ranked 92nd by SP+, which is probably pretty accurate based on what it’s has shown so far against weaker competition.

Hoosiers Defense

Indiana’s defense has been the stronger unit. It ranks 43rd in Defensive Success Rate, including an impressive mark of 20th in Defensive Rushing Success Rate.

Its issues have come defending the pass, where it ranks 98th. It’s the 64th-best defense in the country, according to SP+.

This will be the best offense that Indiana has had to face this year. Previous FBS opponents Illinois and Western Kentucky rank 100th and 24th in offenses, respectively.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, ranks 21st in offense, so the Bearcats should have similar success to the 66th percentile output that Western Kentucky had last weekend.

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Cincinnati vs Indiana Matchup Analysis

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

Indiana Offense vs. Cincinnati Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 49 12
Line Yards 63 45
Pass Success 57 75
Pass Blocking** 103 14
Havoc 49 52
Finishing Drives 113 56
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Cincinnati Offense vs. Indiana Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 69 46
Line Yards 7 70
Pass Success 53 106
Pass Blocking** 79 123
Havoc 105 72
Finishing Drives 82 46
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 101 46
PFF Coverage 113 101
SP+ Special Teams 47 76
Seconds per Play 18.8 (1) 25.5 (46)
Rush Rate 41.6% (123) 48.7% (95)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Cincinnati vs Indiana Pick

Cincinnati has been stronger this year than many thought after losing the likes of Desmond Ridder, Sauce Gardner, Coby Bryant, Jerome Ford, Alec Pierce and numerous others from the College Football Playoff roster a season ago.

Using SP+ expected scores, Cincinnati could expect to be 3-0 against the spread this season even though it’s actually just 1-2. Indiana would be 0-3 ATS this season despite its actual ATS record of 1-2 ATS.

The books have been too low on Cincinnati and too high on Indiana all season. Playing at Nippert Stadium this weekend, the Bearcats could have a potential blowout in front of their rowdy fans.

Pick: Cincinnati -16.5 (Play to -17)

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