2008 Insight Bowl: Indiana Hoosiers (7-5) +4, 69.5 O/U vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6) -4,
69.5O/U, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona, 5:30 PM Eastern, Monday
by Badger of Predictem.com
Two teams that have handled their fair share of adversity during the
season face off in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., on New Years
Eve when the Indiana Hoosiers play the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Indiana lost head coach Terry Hoeppner in June when he unexpectedly
died before the season, but the Hoosiers put together a dream season
in which they reached Hoeppners long-term goal of a 13th game. Not
only will Indiana be geared up to play in their first bowl game since
1993, but they are also coming off a 27-24 victory over rival Purdue
in their regular season finale.
Oklahoma State is better then their 6-6 record shows, but thats
still just slightly better than average. The Cowboys went on a 4-1
stretch at midseason following head coach Mike Gundys rant at a
reporter, but they have fallen hard of late. Not only were the
Cowboys embarrassed by Oklahoma, 49-17, in their season finale
November 24th, but they also lost to Kansas and Texas down the
stretch with only one victory over lowly Baylor as their only win
Most bookies have made their opening line with Oklahoma State as 4-point favorites,
with a 69 total.
Oklahoma State enters the game with a high-powered offense that ended the season
8th overall at 484.1 yards per game. Quarterback Zac Robinson has played
well since the demotion of Bobby Reid (what triggered Gundys rant at midseason),
throwing for over 2,500 yards and protecting the ball with solid decision-making
skills (20 TDs, just 7 INT’s). Dantrell Savage (1,175 yds., 11 TDs) leads
a core of running backs that propel the Cowboys to 8th in rushing yards
(244.2 per), and 30th in scoring at 33.4 points per game. State also gets
wideout Adarius Bowman back from injury in this game, their best outside
weapon that missed the Oklahoma game at the end of the year.
Indiana also brings a potent offensive attack to Tempe for this game.
Quarterback Kellen Lewis leads the team in passing (2,839 yds., 25
TDs) and rushing (653 yds., 8 TD) and is the glue of the unit. WR
James Hardy (1,075 yds., 16 TDs) is the best weapon for the Hoosiers,
who take advantage of his 6-foot-7 height by the goal line. Marcus
Thigpen is also a nice option at running back and kick returner for
Indiana. Statistically, the Hoosiers were 63rd overall in yardage
(393.3 ypg) and 40th in scoring at 31.6 per game.
Oklahoma States defense is the main reason the Cowboys struggled to
an average season in 2007. The unit failed to stop much during the
Big 12 season, giving up an astonishing 446.2 yards per game (103rd).
The Cowboys secondary is the weakest link (which doesnt look good
vs. Indiana), ending the year as the 117th of 120 teams at 292.4
yards allowed per game. They do rebound to allow just 29.2 points per
game, the 77th best mark in the country.
Indiana is also defensively challenged. The Hoosiers only held one
opponent all season under 20 points, and that was Indiana State in
the season opener (a 55-7 win). They allow 394.2 yards per game
(69th) and 26.8 points per game (59th), not exactly inspiring
numbers. The Hoosiers do have defensive end Greg Middleton though,
who led the nation with 16 sacks this year.
The two teams have never played each other previously.
For the season, Indiana has been the better team for bettors going
7-4 ATS this year. It has been an up-n-down 7-4 too, as they
alternated covering and then not covering the last seven weeks of the
season. The Hoosiers are a good grass team too, going 8-3 ATS in
their last 11 games on the natural surface.
Oklahoma State went a weak 5-6 ATS this season, including failing to
cover in four of their last five games in 2007.
Another hot betting trend in this game is the over. Indiana has gone
over in 16 of their last 23 games as an underdog, while the Cowboys
have gone over in 7 of their last 9 games as the favorite.
The public must not be very interested in a 7-5 Big 10 team versus a
6-6 Big 12 team, because the line hasnt moved from where it opened.
Oklahoma State is still a 4-point favorite in most sportsbooks, with
a 69 point total. Indiana is +150 on the moneyline, with the Cowboys
as a -170 on the moneyline.
Badgers Pick: This could be a fun game to watch on television,
since defense seems to be a four-letter word for both teams. Im
going with the divine angle on this one, as I think Indiana wins one
more game for their fallen coach. The Hoosiers are motivated and
driven to win this one, where as the Cowboys seem to be sleepwalking
through the end of the season. Taking Indiana on the moneyline looks
like great value (+150), or just take Indiana plus the points.