Ohio State vs Indiana: Odds, Prediction, & Best Bets (9/2/23)

Week 1 of the college football season is finally here, and the Lineups crew has you covered with everything from best bets articles to matchup previews and more. Also, be sure to check out the Lineups YouTube channel for video coverage of several of the biggest games on the Week 1 slate. In this article, you can find a preview of the matchup between Ohio State and Indiana.

Ohio State enters this game as they do most seasons – with championship aspirations. The loss of quarterback C.J. Stroud stings, but this offense should still be among the best in the country thanks to an elite collection of skill position talent. Indiana, meanwhile, is looking to put yet another losing season in the rearview mirror. Let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for this matchup.

Ohio State Buckeyes Vs. Indiana Hoosiers Prediction & Pick

Indiana is coming off its fourth losing season in six years under head coach Tom Allen, and it certainly doesn’t feel like things are moving in the right direction as this team ranks 129th out of 133 FBS teams in returning production. The coaching staff remains mostly in place with the addition of former Ohio State analyst Matt Guerrieri as a new co-defensive coordinator.

Despite whatever inside information Guerrieri can provide to the rest of the Indiana coaching staff, I believe this is going to be an ugly afternoon for the home team. The Hoosiers went through an offensive change last season with new offensive coordinator Walt Bell, but the only meaningful improvement was their pace of play as they jumped from 25.2 seconds per play (62nd) to 20.2 seconds per play (3rd).

That increased pace gave me the extra push I needed to back Ohio State on the spread in this game as it will afford a lethal Buckeyes offense even more possessions. With a lights out running back room and an elite receiving crop led by future top five NFL draft pick Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State should put up bunches of points on their way to a comfortable win.

Ohio State Buckeyes Vs. Indiana Hoosiers Odds

Ohio State sits as a favorite of around 30 points for this matchup, with the line varying slightly depending on which sportsbook you use. The Hoosiers haven’t beaten the Buckeyes since 1988, and three of the last four matchups have been decided by 40 or more points. Offense is expected in this game with a hefty over/under of 59.5 points, which likely means we can expect fireworks from the Buckeyes.

Ohio State Buckeyes Vs. Indiana Hoosiers Key Matchups

Kyle McCord vs. Indiana pass defense

The Buckeyes are transitioning in a new starting quarterback this season in former four-star recruit Kyle McCord, and I’m not sure if there’s a better matchup for him to get his feet wet in. McCord completed 16 of 20 passes in garbage time spurts last season, and he should have an opportunity to put his arm talent on display.

Ohio State’s offense has plenty of weapons, and it all starts with wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who had 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Emeka Egbuka joins him as another future first-round wideout in Brian Hartline’s pipeline while Julian Fleming and standout freshman Carnell Tate are other names to watch.

Indiana’s pass defense fell off a cliff as they were 131st in success rate against the pass last season. The Hoosiers allowed 280.5 passing yards per game, which ranked 123rd in the country. It didn’t help that they had no pass rush to speak of – Indiana had the third-worst pass rush in the Power Five according to PFF.

Former defensive coordinator Kane Wommack led Indiana to a top ten finish by SP+ in 2020, but he left to become the South Alabama head coach and the defense has since fallen apart. Now, the Hoosiers are replacing 13 of their 16 defensive players who saw 300+ snaps in 2022, including do-everything linebacker Dasan McCullough.

Tayven Jackson vs. Ohio State pass defense

A former four-star recruit and transfer from Tennessee, Tayven Jackson is tasked with starting under center for the Hoosiers despite just four career pass attempts on six dropbacks to his name. Jackson gets the benefit of playing behind an offensive line returning four starters, but the pass-catching talent in Bloomington is lacking.

Cam Camper returns as the team’s leading receiver with 46 catches for 569 yards in just seven games before a torn ACL ended his season. However, Camper tore the ACL just ten months ago, so it remains to be seen how impactful he’ll be in this game. The next-leading returning receiver for this team is Donaven McCulley, who was ninth on the team with 16 catches.

Ohio State had a strong defensive season in the first year with defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, ranking top ten in EPA and FEI, and things should be even better in his second season. The 4-2-5 defense was gashed against Michigan and Georgia, two teams capable of big play-action passing off elite rushing, but that’s not descriptive of Indiana.

The Buckeyes’ front seven is led by elite linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, who was the fifth-highest graded player at his position per PFF. He ended the year with 120 tackles and 21 run stops. While the secondary has more question marks, Denzel Burke is a shutdown cornerback who will likely see a lot of Camper in this game. Defensive back transfers Ja’Had Carter (Syracuse) and Davison Igbinosun (Ole Miss) round out the back end.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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