Indiana Hoosiers (4-6 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS), Saturday, November 14th, 12 p.m. Eastern, Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA; TV: Big Ten Network
By Oracle of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Indiana +21/Penn State -21
Oh what could have been for the Penn State Nittany Lions. In no doubt the biggest game of the year, Penn State came up plenty short against their rival Ohio St. last Saturday, 24-7.
With the loss, the Nittany Lions have zero shot at the Big Ten title and therefore bowed out of a chance at the Rose Bowl. Also, with Penn State heading into the game ranked 11th in the BCS standings, they plummeted out right of that mix. Theyll need to win out in their last two games and need a lot of help. And when I say a lot, I mean if every current BCS team lost their next two games, then Penn State may have a shot.
No doubt their dreams were dashed with the loss, but they still have an opportunity to play a New Years Day bowl game and add onto head coach Joe Paternos already record setting wins total.
With Indiana coming to town on Saturday for a Big Ten tilt set to start at 12 p.m. Eastern at Beaver Stadium, Penn State sure cant feel sorry for themselves long.
The Hoosiers may just be the best team in the nation who has just four total wins. They lost another tough one last week, 31-28, at home to the Badgers.
Theyve now lost three Big Ten games by three points or less and almost knocked off an undefeated Iowa team two weeks ago on the road. Theyve virtually been in every ball game this year with the exception of a blowout road loss to Virginia (47-7).
Indiana has proven they can play with the big boys, but many online sportsbooks arent buying into the hype. Penn State is a big home favorite -21 to open things up. The public jumped all over that line and its skyrocketed in just a 24 hour period to -24 at a handful of sportsbooks.
The Hoosiers have covered for bettors with a 6-3 mark ATS on the season. In fact, there arent a lot of head-to-head trends that favor either squad for Saturdays game, making it an even more interesting line.
Penn State hasnt had a ton of blowout games this year. Their biggest win in the Big Ten came against a reeling Michigan team, as they won by 25 points. For being the No. 18 team in the nation, thats not too impressive and their rsum is average.
One of the biggest reasons for that line may be because of Penn States defense. Even after giving up 24 points to OSU and 353 total yards, the Nittany Lions are still 8th in the country by giving up 265 yards per game and 3rd in the nation allowing just over 10 points.
Their defense had an off day against the Buckeyes, but their offense didnt help matters. Daryll Clark was just 12-for-28 passing for 125 yards. Leading rusher Evan Royster was held to a season low 36 yards on 13 attempts.
The good news? Indianas defense is not very good, and that may be sugar coating it.
Indiana gives up 28.5 points per game and 412 total yards. If Penn States offense cant get back on track in this one, something is definitely not right.
The Hoosiers rely on quarterback Ben Chappell and the spread offense to keep them in games. Chappell has thrown for nearly 2,400 yards on the year along with 13 touchdowns. His favorite target is Tandon Doss, whose 65 catches, 843 yards and four scores leads the wide receiving corps. Chappell does spread the ball around, as six different players have double digit grabs.
The junior Chappell threw for over 300 yards against the Badgers last week for the second time in his last five games.
Hell have his hands full against Penn States pass defense, which allows just 166 yards per game 9th in the nation.
Last season Penn State trounced Indiana by a 34-7 score. Indiana still covered the hefty spread of +35.5. Also, the total was well under the 56 that was set.
Chappell didnt even take part in that contest and they were held to just 57 passing yards and 180 total for the game. His counterpart Clark had a nice afternoon by throwing for 239 yards and two scores. Royster also had a score and 63 yards rushing.
But both teams are a little bit different in 2009.
Some trends bettors may not like about Indiana is the fact they have a hard time covering back-to-back games. Theyre just 3-8 ATS after covering the previous week. However, they are 4-1 ATS in their last five when on the road against a team with a winning home record.
After starting off the season brutally for bettors, Penn State covered five in a row before last weeks debacle. Theyre also 4-1 ATS in their last five games as favorites.
With Indianas brutal defense and high scoring offense, the over is common for them. Its 6-1-1 in their last eight games overall and 6-0 in their last six road games.
Meanwhile, the total opposite could be said for Penn State with their stellar defense. The under is a big trend here, coming in six of the last seven home games.
This is Indianas last shot at staying alive for a bowl game. With a loss they are done for. Meanwhile, Penn State still has that outside shot at a BCS game, but with the Big Ten bid already going to Iowa or Ohio State, it probably wont happen.
Oracles Pick: Sportsbooks made this game a big line for a reason. Yes, Indiana has been playing well all year long, but their defense is awful. Countering that, Penn States is good. The public seems to love Indiana here, but be very careful. If the line keeps going up, itd be hard not to take the Hoosiers. Bank on them losing this game, but getting a late score in the fourth quarter to cover the big spread. Take the Hoosiers +24!