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Indiana Hoosiers (10) vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Picks and Predictions

14 November 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, November 14th
Time:12:00 PM ET
Network:ABC
Venue:Spartan Stadium
Spread:Indiana -8
O/U:52.5

The 3-0 Indiana Hoosiers will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 1-2 Michigan State Spartans at 12:00 PM ET in Spartan Stadium. The Hoosiers come in as eight-point road favorites and we’re expecting a bit of a defensive battle with a 52.5 over/under. The Hoosiers are ranked in the top 10 for the first time in nearly 40 years and they’ll try their best not to look ahead to next week’s matchup. The Spartans have been one of the more unpredictable teams in the country through three games and are looking to avoid going 1-3. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • Indiana are 5-15 ATS in their last 20 games against Michigan State.
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Indiana’s last 5 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 10 of Michigan State’s last 12 games against Indiana.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Indiana’s last 6 games against an opponent in the Big Ten conference.

When The Indiana Hoosiers Have The Ball

The Hoosiers were once a College Football joke, known as a school that could dominate basketball but never had a chance to compete in football. Those days are over and the Hoosiers find themselves in the top-10 for the first time since 1984. They’re deserving of the ranking after beating three quality opponents to start the season. They opened things up with an upset of 8th-ranked Penn State before beating Rutgers and Michigan with ease. Both sides of the ball have clicked as Indiana is averaging 37 points per game and allowing just 26. The Hoosiers will face off with Michigan State before heading to Ohio State next weekend. It’s a classic look-ahead spot, so the Hoosiers need to make sure they are fully focused on the Spartans. 

Sophomore QB Michael Penix Jr. is the heart and soul of this Hoosiers attack. He isn’t necessarily the most efficient quarterback, but his versatility is extremely useful and he’s done a better job of throwing it down the field this season. Through three games, Penix Jr. is completing 59% of his passes for 750 yards, seven touchdowns, and one interception. He must continue getting better as the Hoosiers have gotten lucky with a few things to this point. 

The Hoosiers have a plethora of weapons on the outside and they’re as talented as any receivers in the conference. Whop Philyor is one of the best in all of the country and he’s hauled in 21 balls for 252 yards and a touchdown. Ty Fryfogle isn’t far behind with 13 catches for 224 yards and two scores. You then have TE Peyton Hendershot, who leads the team in touchdowns with three on top of 78 yards. Penix Jr. has plenty of weapons and he’s done a great job this year of getting the ball in their hands. 

While the Hoosiers are never going to average five-plus yards per carry, they are committed to running the ball 20+ times a game. Stevie Scott III is in his third year as a starter and he’s up to 235 yards and four touchdowns in three games. Penix Jr. doesn’t do much running, but he’s good around the goal line and has two touchdowns. Scott III has also caught seven balls out of the backfield already and remains a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Indiana will look to run the ball early on the road in hopes of controlling the pace. 

When The Michigan State Spartans Have The Ball

The Spartans have been a very strange team through three games. They opened the season up with a loss to a terrible Rutgers team before turning around and upsetting Michigan as 25-point underdogs. Then they went into Iowa and were demolished 49-7. The win to Michigan is also starting to look a bit cloudy as they’re clearly not the powerhouse we thought them to be.

Junior QB Rocky Lombardi has been up and down this far with his only real great game coming against the Wolverines. He’s up to 869 yards on the season with six touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s not afraid to push the ball downfield and the upside is very clear when watching him play. He just has to avoid those two or three silly throws a game that ruin it all. 

He has some dynamite weapons as well on the outside. Jalen Nailor (271 yards, TD) is going to be playing on future Sundays and is the primary target of Lombardi. Ricky White and Jayden Reed have also caught 10+ balls and you shouldn’t be surprised if any of these guys single-handedly change the game. Michigan State has recruited well at the WR position and those guys do a lot of the hard work for Lombardi. 

The Spartans have been terrible at running the ball, averaging just under three yards per carry as a team. Jordon Simmons and Cameron Heyward split carries, but it’s more about the offensive line not opening any holes up. Heyward was once a huge recruit and Simmons has a ton of talent. If this offensive line can open some holes up, these guys have the pedigree to put up numbers and the Indiana defense isn’t very scary.

Spread Prediction

This isn’t one of my favorite games of this weekend to bet on. Both of these teams have been weird and the Hoosiers have gotten lucky through three games. Indiana fans might not want to hear that, but it’s the truth. I can guarantee you Indiana is nowhere near a top 10 team and I am not sure they are even top 20. The Spartans defense will wake up and force at least two turnovers. Rocky Lombardi hasn’t been perfect, but it’s obvious that this offense is built around him and he has elite weapons to play with on the outside. There is no way I am comfortable giving over a touchdown here and would much rather take the Spartans all the way down to a touchdown. I’ll roll with Michigan State and the points.

The Pick: Michigan State +8

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I’ll take the over here. This number is too low for two defenses that can’t be relied on. Its not like the offenses are very potent either, but both squads like to speed things up and both teams are a lot more pass-heavy than we’re used to. I expect the Spartans to have some success in this game throwing the ball, which is the biggest question mark entering the contest. I’ll take the over 52.5, though I would rather bet Michigan State ATS.

The Pick: Over 52.5

Final Score Prediction: Indiana 28, Michigan State 25

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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