Indiana vs. Western Kentucky Betting Odds
The Hoosiers travel down to Western Kentucky to take on the new-and-improved Hilltoppers.
WKU’s offense has covered in two straight games, which includes dropping 35 on Army. Meanwhile, The Hoosiers start their season 1-2 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS), including a crushing 34-6 defeat to Iowa in the season debut.
However, Indiana still draws enough respect to be nine-point favorites in this non-conference battle. However, are the Hoosiers worth backing at that line? Or will Western Kentucky cover for the third straight week.
Indiana Hoosiers Odds
Although they returned a high level of their production from last season, this Indiana offense has not produced yet.
A lot of the offense revolves around Michael Penix Jr., who had some big-time throws in 2020 and has been all-around excellent. However, things have been ugly for him so far this season.
Through three games, Penix Jr. has completed just 48.3% of his passes while averaging 3.0 air yards per attempt. Against Cincinnati, Penix went just 17-for-40 and threw three picks.
Meanwhile, the rushing attack ranks outside the top 100 in Rush Success Rate, and their top running back, Stephen Carr, took his 21 carries for just 52 yards last week (2.5 YPC).
But the Hoosiers have already faced two top-25 teams, and they have a third one coming up next week. Their numbers are likely to be slightly depressed due to the schedule, and the defense has held its own through three weeks.
Surprisingly, Indiana outgained Cincinnati, and they kept Iowa to under five yards per play on offense.
The Hoosiers are quite strong in the secondary and have some solid playmakers in the front seven. They’ll have to put together another strong defensive performance on Saturday, because Bailey Zappe and the Hilltoppers have some firepower.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Odds
It’s Zappe Hour in Bowling Green.
Through two games, Zappe has completed a whopping 75% of his passes for 860 yards at almost 13 air yards per attempt. Behind their relentless offensive attack, the Hilltoppers rank fourth in the FBS in points per game (47.0) and fifth in Offensive Success Rate.
Against Army’s slow, methodical triple-option, the Hilltoppers managed just 20 minutes of possession. However, Zappe did not back down, and the Hilltoppers never said die. WKU managed 435 passing yards at 11 yards per attempt, went 7-for-10 on third down, scored 35 points in those 20 minutes of possession, and covered the 6.5-point spread.
Bailey Zappe 👑 of deep bombs #CFB
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2021
Indiana is going to be a step up in talent from their past two opponents, but I think the Western Kentucky offense is going to be able to move the ball.
It’s the defense that might be a problem. While the Army rush game is unstoppable and rushed for well over 300 yards, UT Martin managed over 200 yards on the ground against the Hilltoppers, and they were stuffed on just five of their 33 total rush attempts.
The Indiana rush game is nothing special, but they’ll probably find success on Saturday.
Pick & Prediction
My Prediction: WKU +9
This is a massive sandwich spot for Indiana.
They just finished a top-10 game against an elite defense, now they’ll play a rare non-conference game on the road, followed by another road game against another top-10 team with an elite defense (Penn State). This team is exhausted from their most recent primetime game and is probably already looking ahead to their next one.
I don’t believe in Indiana at all. The advanced stats don’t back up their 6-2 record from 2020, and they should continually see regression as the season advances.
Meanwhile, nine points is a lot for Zappe and the Hilltoppers’ spread offense. Whether they keep it close the whole way or back-door behind some late-game QB heroics, look for WKU to cover as home underdogs Saturday.