Indiana vs. Ole Miss Outback Bowl Betting Odds & Pick: Rebels Will Set Offensive Pace on Saturday
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Corral
- Indiana and Ole Miss go together like Coconut Shrimp and Bloomin' Onions — in this year's Outback Bowl at least.
- After getting snubbed from a New Year's Six Bowl, the Indiana Hoosiers will do the next best thing and take on the Ole Miss Rebels in the Outback Bowl.
- Check out Mike Calabrese's full betting analysis complete with a pick for the Outback Bowl below.
Indiana vs. Ole Miss Odds
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When Ole Miss lured Lane Kiffin to Oxford, there were hopes that the 2020 Rebels would be a fun team to watch as Kiffin and his staff rebuilt the program.
Ole Miss averaged 40 points per game over its nine games, while also allowing more than 40 points per game. If that feels like an amazing stat, let me assure you, it is nearly unprecedented.
It appeared that sportsbooks couldn’t make totals high enough to keep pace with the Rebels’ scoring bonanza this fall. Ole Miss games went over the closing number six out of nine times, but more incredibly they played above the Vegas total by an average of 10.9 points per game.
That’s tremendously rare for a Power Conference team to consistently blow past expectations like that. The Rebels are just the second P5 team to beat the Vegas total by double digits over the course of a season since 2017.
Can Indiana, now working with a backup quarterback, score enough to keep this over trend going?
In the five games Michael Penix Jr. started and finished, IU averaged 34 points per game. When he was knocked out of their win over Maryland, the Hoosiers only mustered 27 points. The following week, with Jack Tuttle under center, the scoring production dropped to 14 points. This downward trend explains why this total has been bet down from the opening of 72.5 to 65.5.
The cure for any offense looking to regain its edge is facing off against a pitiful defense, and Ole Miss is completely outgunned when its defense takes the field. Opposing quarterbacks connected on nearly 70% of their passes and had ample time to survey the field from the pocket.
The Rebels don’t generate negative plays or take the ball away very often (1.2 per game, 82nd) and can be worn down with an effective ground game. Stevie Scott III will have his opportunity to put the offense on his back in this one, and I think he’s up to the challenge.
With the exception of the Ohio State game, Scott III has averaged 23.5 touches per game and responded with eight touchdowns against just a single fumble.
If Indiana’s offensive front can get him rolling early, I think that will make life much easier for Jack Tuttle in his second career start.
Ole Miss Rebels
While Ole Miss’ nonexistent defense is an over-bettor’s dream, it’s the Rebels’ offense that gives me real confidence in this spot. Matt Corral is the perfect point guard in Lane Kiffin’s system, and OC Jeff Lebby helped Corral and company strike the right balance between explosiveness and efficiency throughout the season. Corral tied with Alabama’s Mac Jones for the SEC lead in completions of 40-plus yards with 15, while helping Ole Miss reach the top 15 of the SP+ offensive rankings.
And this is far from a one-man show. The pieces around Corral are impressive, most notably Elijah Moore. The first-team All-American averaged nearly 133 receiving yards and a touchdown each time he took the field. Fortunately for Indiana they won’t have their hands full trying to slow Moore down, since he has opted out of the bowl game. Nonetheless, Jonathan Mingo, Donatrio Drummond and Bralyon Taylor have the talent to collectively replace Moore’s production.
If Indiana does shift its focus to the passing game, Corral and Jerrion Ealy have the goods to make them pay on the ground. The backfield mates teamed up to rush for 1,214 yards and nine scores this season.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The key for this total will likely be which team is leading and which team is chasing. Ole Miss plays at the fifth-fastest pace in the entire country, dialing up 81.6 offensive plays per game. Indiana prefers a snail’s pace of 69.6 snaps per game.
An IU lead has the potential of throwing the breaks on this over. But I like Ole Miss in this game outright, which means that Indiana may not have the luxury of long, time-consuming drives. It also doesn’t hurt that Ole Miss gives up more 30 and 40 yard plays from scrimmage than nearly any bowl team. A few quick strikes from IU and this total will be history.
Pick: Over 65.5 (Play up to 68.5)