Indiana Hoosiers (4-4 SU, 5-2 ATS) vs. No. 8 Iowa Hawkeyes (8-0 SU, 5-2 ATS), Saturday, October 31st, 12 p.m. Eastern, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA; TV: ESPN
By Oracle of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Indiana +17.5/Iowa -17.5
Talk about going in different directions.
The Indiana Hoosiers and Iowa Hawkeyes will meet on Saturday in a Big Ten clash at Kinnick Stadium with the game being televised nationally on ESPN. The momentum heading into this contest is clearly on Iowas side.
Just as the nation thought Iowa would finally lose that Cinderella slipper, they pulled out a 4th & Goal touchdown with two seconds left, as Richard Stanzi hit Marvin McNutt on a slant route, for the 15-13 win over Michigan State. The win kept Iowa at a perfect 8-0 and moved them to fourth in the BCS rankings.
Indiana, who has opened a few eyes this season after winning their first three, looked to be great shape to get a win against Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers were up 28-3 in the first half, but ended up getting shutout for two and a half quarters the rest of the way, losing to a comeback-minded Northwestern squad, 29-28. The Wildcats used a last second field goal to pull out the win.
With that in mind, online sportsbooks have heavily favored Iowa at home -17.5 to open up. That line has moved slightly to -18 at just a few books.
The over/under wasnt available at the time of this article being published.
Bettors should note that both teams cover the spread fairly well on the year with 5-2 marks ATS. However, dating back to last year Iowa is 7-2 overall ATS in their last nine games.
Other than the game being at Kinnick Stadium, one of the big reasons for the high spread is because nothing really stands out when looking at the Hoosiers football team. Theyre average in many areas both offensively and defensively. The one place they do excel the most in is the passing game.
The spread offense has done wonders for quarterback Ben Chappell, who has 1,827 yards and eight touchdown tosses. Tandon Doss is his go-to receiver, as hes caught 54 balls for 716 yards.
Defensively the Hoosiers give up nearly 400 total yards, so look for Iowas average offense to have a fairly nice afternoon.
It is interesting to note, though, that the Hawkeyes normally stellar defense had plenty of trouble with Michigans spread offense just a few weeks back. They needed two fourth quarter touchdowns to stay ahead and beat the Wolverines, 30-28. If it werent for four Michigan turnovers, Iowa would have easily lost the contest.
The Hawkeyes have a counter to Chappell and the spread offense. They give up just 174 yards passing per game, which is good enough for 17th in the nation.
Offensively theyll spread the ball around quite a bit, so itll be hard for Indiana to key on anybody specific. Adam Robinson has had an under the radar type of year with 629 yards (4.7 average) and six touchdowns. He had 109 against Michigan State last week as well. (UPDATE: Adam Robinson is injuried and out for the season)
Iowa also has three players with over 20 receptions and six with at least 11 grabs, led by Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 22 catches for 373 yards. Quaretrback Richard Stanzi isnt necessarily asked to go out and win ball games for Kirk Ferentzs crew, only to limit mistakes and manage the game.
Iowa manhandled Indiana just a year ago, 45-9, with the help of 422 total yards including 227 on the ground. However, Shonn Greene, an NFL first round draft pick, was a part of that running attack. Robinson has filled that void rather well this year, though.
With all the success Iowa has had over the past decade with Ferentz at the helm, many fans and/or bettors may find it surprising that Indiana has had their number. In the past ten matchups, its an even 5-5 record straight up, including the Hoosiers taking two of the last three.
Indiana doesnt have a whole lot going their way as far as trends go. In fact, theyre just 2-5 ATS in the last seven games against Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.
The over/under is an interesting play. The over has come in the last four contests between these two squads. Its also 5-0 in Indianas last five contests as a road dog.
Iowa is looking to avoid a trap game against the Hoosiers, while Indiana themselves could consider this their bowl game for the year if they happen not to become eligible.
Oracles Pick: Its easy to think Iowas defense will dominate, but bettors need to keep in mind what Michigans spread offense did to the Hawkeyes. With that being said, Indiana doesnt run the spread as well as Michigan, and the Hoosiers defense is suspect. Expect Iowa to roll and cover the big spread!