Indiana vs Ohio State Odds, Prediction, Picks | Big Ten Betting Guide
Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord #6
Indiana vs Ohio State Odds
Ohio State begins its quest to get back to the Big Ten Championship game when the Buckeyes travel to Bloomington to open their season against Indiana.
CJ Stroud is off to the NFL, which means we will have a new quarterback in Columbus. Coach Ryan Day has announced that Kyle McCord will start in the opener.
Ryan Day has announced that Kyle McCord will start for Ohio State in Week 1 against Indiana pic.twitter.com/cSNC8iGkvr
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 29, 2023
The Buckeyes are absolutely loaded in their skill positions and have a lot of returners on the defensive side of the ball. The thing is, though, their season is likely going to come down to that final game against Michigan, so they need to put in a solid performance here against Indiana.
The Hoosiers were at the basement of the Big Ten last year, and it doesn't look like things are getting much better. They won just four games with one of their losses being a 59-7 blowout at Ohio State.
There's not much hope in the opener here with the number of players they've lost on both sides of the ball, so it's likely going to be another blowout.
With Walt Bell as offensive coordinator, Indiana ran the fastest tempo in college football last season, averaging a play every 20.17 seconds and putting up close to 78 plays a game.
The Hoosiers will have a new quarterback under center in Tayven Jackson, who transferred from Tennessee.
Jackson is only a redshirt freshman and threw only four passes at Tennessee. He played in a pass-heavy system in high school and is more of a pro-style quarterback despite his athleticism.
But defensively, Indiana will have no answer for the Ohio State offense — just like last season when the Buckeyes put 59 on the board in Columbus. The Hoosiers return only three starters from a defense that ranked 85th in EPA/Play Allowed, 115th in Havoc and 77th in Finishing Drives Allowed, so they'll struggle to contain such a powerful offense.
McCord backed up Stroud last season and performed well in garbage time, going 16-for-20 and averaging 9.5 yards per attempt. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Philadelphia and is your typical pro-style quarterback, which fits Ohio State's system really well.
His only weakness is his inability to escape pressure.
But the good news for McCord is that Ohio State has all of its skill position players back outside of Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams are both back at running back after Ohio State averaged 5.4 yards per carry and finished 15th in Rushing Success Rate.
The Buckeyes did lose three starters on the offensive line, but Ryan Day picked up two pretty solid transfers to keep the drop-off from being steep.
Ohio State is also bringing back plenty of pass-catchers from last season — most notably Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison owned the best PFF receiving grade of all college football wide receivers who had more than 100 targets last season and averaged an absolutely ludicrous 3.18 yards per route run and 16.4 yards per reception.
Marvin Harrison Jr is back in action in 1️⃣0️⃣ days 👀 pic.twitter.com/hRt0KEgFrZ
— College Football Report (@CFBRep) August 23, 2023
Ohio State returns seven players on the defensive side of the ball and is once again stacked in the front seven. However, it's a bit thin in the secondary after losing three starters.
The big problem that plagued Ohio State last season was giving up explosive plays. The Buckeyes were great at limiting Success Rate but ranked 122nd in explosiveness allowed. They also had issues once opponents crossed the 40-yard line, finishing 85th in Finishing Drives Allowed.
With a lot of new faces in the secondary, it's hard to imagine Ohio State completely eliminating that problem.
Indiana vs Ohio State
Betting Pick & Prediction
Ohio State's skill position players are scary good and may be the best in college football. With the amount of players Indiana has lost on defense, it's hard to not see a repeat of what happened last season, even if McCord is now the quarterback.
On the flip side of things, there may be some hope for Indiana's offense. Jackson is an upgrade to what they've had in the past, and Ohio State has shown an ability to give up explosive plays.
The problem is that Indiana's pace is going to allow Ohio State to have more offensive opportunities than it would normally get.
I have 74.2 points projected for this game, so I think there's tremendous value on over 59 points and would play it up to 63.