Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2) -7, o/u 53 at Indiana Hoosiers (5-2), noon Eastern Saturday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com
The Penn State Nittany Lions will try to crash the Homecoming party of the Indiana Hoosiers when the two teams hook up in a Big 10 battle Saturday afternoon in Bloomington.
Both teams are 5-2 overall, and both are 2-2 and tied up in a log-jam in the middle of the Big 10 Conference standings. But while Penn State had very lofty expectations for this season somewhat dashed by two losses, Indiana, despite a bad outing last week, is still very hopeful of the team’s first bowl berth in 14 seasons.
Penn State stumbled a few weeks back, losing consecutive games at Michigan by five points and at Illinois by seven. But the Lions then beat Iowa 27-7 and, last week, pounded Wisconsin 38-7 as seven-point home favorites.
Indiana had built a 5-1 record by beating the likes of Indiana State, Western Michigan and Akron, but got clobbered last week at Michigan State 52-27.
Penn State outrushed the Badgers last week 221-87, while the Hoosiers got outgrounded by the Spartans 368-22!
The Lions are 4-3 against the spread this season, but 0-2 both straight up and vs. the numbers on the road.
Indiana is 4-2 ATS this season, 3-1 SU and 2-1 vs. the numbers at home.
These two teams haven’t met since 2004, and Penn State has never lost to the Hoosiers in ten games all-time.
Lions senior QB Anthony Morelli, despite some problems in those two road losses, has completed 58% of his passes this season for a 7.2 yards-per-attempt average and an 11/6 TD/INT ratio.
On the other side, Indiana sophomore QB Kellen Lewis has hit on 61% of his throws this season for a 7.5 YPA average and a 15/6 TD/INT ratio. Lewis has also rushed for 470 yards this year, which leads the team.
On average this season, Penn State is outscoring opponents 33-13, outgaining them 409-264 and outrushing them 185-81.
The Hoosiers are outscoring foes 36-25, outgaining them 412-385 and outgrounding them 235-155.
These two teams have played two common opponents this season, with both teams losing to Illinois (the Lions 27-20 and Indiana 27-14) and both teams beating Iowa (Penn State 27-7 and the Hoosiers 38-20, as 10-point road dogs).
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rate the Nittany Lions at 83.5, which comes in at 19th, while Indiana is rated at 74.1, which ranks 47th.
Penn State opened as eight-point road chalk for this game, with a total of 54. But early wiseguy/sharp action has brought the point spread down to seven at most sportsbooks and the total to 53. Also, the Lions are listed at right around -300 on the moneyline, with the Hoosiers getting +240 as home dogs.
Zman’s Pick: We like Indiana plus the points.