Indiana Hoosiers vs Cincinnati Bearcats Odds, Picks, Predictions (9/24/22)

The Hoosiers are 3-0. That’s surprising considering the team won two games last season.

The Hoosiers are also 1-2 ATS and have had three fairly close games agaexceptnferior opponents (execpt for maybe Illinois). The Hoosiers are begging for regression.

While the Bearcats lost to Arkansas, this is clearly a good team. Considering how bad Houston looks, Cincinnati is back to being the favorite in the American Athletic Conference.

Can the Bearcats cover a huge spread against a Big Ten foe?

Let’s break it down. Read on for our Indiana Hoosiers vs Cincinnati Bearcats odds, picks, and predictions.

Indiana Hoosiers vs Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats actually opened at -14 but the line was quickly pushed up as high as Cincinnati -17. There was some buy-back at the key number of 17, and the line looks to settle at 16.5.

That’s a lot of points for a Big Ten team.

The total has taken all the sharp money and has jumped almost four points since open. Looking at the pace-of-play stats, this total might jump even more. I’m not sure if I see value on it at the current number, however.

Indiana Hoosiers vs Cincinnati BeThe Pick

It’s clear that the Hoosiers are going to be friskier than they were last season. The Hoosiers went 2-10 SU anst year and were totally pathetic.

However, let’s dig a little deeper.

Indiana has been out-gained in two of three games. They defeated both Illinois and Western Kentucky by a field goal despite forcing six combined turnovers. They failed to cover against Western Kentucky or Idaho – allowing an unnecessary 22 points to the latter.

The quarterback change has been a bad decision. Michael Penix is tearing it up with Washington while Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak has a 5:2 TD-to-INT ratio despite having five Turnover Worthy Plays to five Big Time Throws.

The Hoosiers are due for so much regression.

Cincinnati is the perfect team to force that regression. Luke Fickell still has a great defense, including a strong front seven that has been great from a Rushing Play perspective. The offensive line is seventh in Line Yards and new quarterback Ben Bryant is PFF’s 19th-ranked quarterback through three games (six Big Time Throws to two Turnover Worthy Plays).

I’m all over Cincinnati here.

The biggest reason why is because of Indiana’s play-calling. Indiana is passing at a top-15 rate this season and is fifth in plays per game (86.0, up from 70.1 last season). A bad offense playing at a lightning-quick pace against an elite defense is a recipe for many 3-and-outs and a blowout.

Cincinnati could win 45-7 if Bryant spreads the ball out against an Indiana defense that is 106th in Passing Play Success Rate allowed this season and 122nd in PFF’s Pass Rush grades.

I’d make this spread Cincinnati -20.5.

Indiana Hoosiers vs Cincinnati Bearcats Key Matchups

Key Matchup: Connor Bazelak vs Cincinnati’s Secondary

Cincinnati lost their top three cornerbacks from last season. The weak link is in the secondary, which ranks 100th in PFF’s coverage grades.

However, coverage and pressure go hand-in-hand. Cincinnati is one of the best Havoc teams in the nation and ranks 15th in PFF’s Pass Rush grades. Meanwhile, Indiana is 101st in PFF’s Pass Blocking grades.

As mentioned, Indiana is going to throw the ball a lot. Bazelak is going to have to make uber-quick decisions without making mistakes for Indiana to keep this game close. That’s possible against an unproved Cincinnati secondary.

Bazelak has the arm to do it, but he won’t have this much time to carve up the next secondary he faces.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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