Penn St Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers: Big Ten Betting Picks

Penn St Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers
Memorial Stadium – Bloomington, Indiana
Saturday, October 1, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Penn St -18
Current Line: Penn St -15 1/2
Opening Total: 49 1/2
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Penn St -805 / Indiana +605
Current Money Line: Penn St -800 / Indiana +550

The Penn St Nittany Lions open Big Ten Conference play at the Indiana Hoosiers. The Nittany Lions are 15.5 point favorites on the road.

Penn St and Indiana meet for the 15th time ever. Penn St and legendary coach Joe Paterno are 14-0 against the Hoosiers including a 41-24 win last season in a neutral site game at Fed Ex Field in Maryland. Penn St hasn’t played in Bloomington since 2007. Penn St is 3-1 this season with wins over Indiana St 41-7, at Temple 14-10, and last week Penn St beat Eastern Michigan 34-6. The only blemish on the Nittany Lions’ record was a 27-11 loss to #3 Alabama. This is Paterno’s 700th game either as an assistant or head coach with Penn St. Indiana has struggled under first year coach Kevin Wilson, starting off 1-3 with 3 narrow losses to Ball St 27-20, Virginia 34-31, and last week at North Texas 24-21. The only win was at home against South Carolina St 38-21, but the Hoosiers could easily be 4-0 or at least 3-1. The Virginia loss could be excused I suppose as they are an up and coming team from the ACC, but losses to Ball St and North Texas will not cut it, rebuilding or not for the Hoosiers.

Penn St cruised to a 34-6 victory last week against Eastern Michigan. The Nittany Lions were up 31-0 at the end of the third quarter, but Eastern Michigan kicked 2 field goals of 21 and 22 yards to avoid the shutout and cover the 28.5 point spread. Penn St had 468 total yards in the rout including 364 passing yards. Penn St quarterbacks Matthew McGloin and Rob Bolden combined for 330 passing yards, 4 touchdown passes, and an interception. Eastern Michigan had only 270 yards including just 68 rushing yards. Both Penn St and Eastern Michigan had 3 turnovers in the game.

Penn St has struggled this season on offense. The Nittany Lions are averaging 346.5 yards and 25 points a game. Penn St is averaging 209.5 passing yards and 137 rushing yards a game. The Lions have 7 turnovers and have allowed 4 sacks. Penn St is 26/61 on third and fourth down conversions, and 11/14 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns. The defense for Penn St is ranked in the top 10 in most major categories except rushing defense and they are still ranked #31 in that category. Penn St is allowing 249 yards and 12.5 points a game. Penn St is allowing 148 passing yards and 100.8 rushing yards a game. The Lions have forced 7 sacks and 9 turnovers. Penn St opponents are 23/64 on third and fourth down conversions, and 9/9 scoring in the red zone, 5 touchdowns.

McGloin and Bolden have split the snaps at quarterback this season, but neither has been spectacular. McGloin has put up better numbers, with 34/54 passing for 421 yards, and 3 touchdowns with no picks. Bolden is 33/71 for 388 yards, a touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Running back Silas Redd has 62 carries for 303 yards and 4 touchdowns along with 4 catches for 21 yards. Michael Zordich has only 7 carries but he has two touchdown runs. Back-up Brandon Beachum has 21 carries for 81 yards but is doubtful with an ankle injury.  Receiver Derek Moye has 20 catches for 285 yards, and 2 scores. Justin Brown has 13 catches for 142 yards. Penn St has used 3 kickers this year and the three are 11/12 on extra points and 3/8 on field goals with a long of 43 yards.

North Texas scored 3 second quarter touchdowns and jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the third quarter, before Indiana scored three touchdowns in the fourth to make it close in the 24-21 upset loss to the Mean Green. Both sides were sloppy with 15 total penalties and 5 turnovers combined. Indiana had 404 total yards including 354 passing yards. The Hoosiers gave up 427 total yards including 226 rushing yards.

Indiana is actually slightly better on offense statistically than Penn St. Indiana is averaging 413.8 yards a game, including 274.2 passing yards a game. Indiana is scoring 27.5 points a game. Indiana has 6 turnovers and has allowed 12 sacks this year. The Hoosiers are 37/75 on third and fourth down conversions, and 10/13 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns. The defense is allowing 386.8 yards and 26.5 points a game. The rush defense is among the worst in the country giving up 189.8 yards a game. Indiana has forced 8 turnovers and one sack this season. Hoosier opponents are 30/63 on third and fourth down conversions, and 13/15 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns.

Hoosier quarterback Edward Wright-Baker is 80/129 passing with 925 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, along with 41 carries for 88 yards. Back-up Dusty Kiel is 11/18 passing for 172 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Running back D’Angelo Roberts has 41 carries, 187 yards, and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 37 yards. Matt Perez has 43 carries for 132 yards and 4 scores along with 3 catches for 23 yards. Four Hoosier receivers have at least 12 catches this season. Kofi Hughes has 13 catches for 204 yards and 2 scores. DaMarlo Belcher has 14 catches, 190 yards, and 1 touchdown. Belcher is listed as questionable for an undisclosed reason for the Penn St game. Duwyce Wilson has 12 catches, 161 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Dre Muhammad has 13 catches for 140 yards. Kicker Mitch Ewald is 14/14 on extra points and 4/6 on on field goals with a long of 49 yards.

Indiana is 2-2 against the spread this season and the total is 2-2 as well. Penn St is 0-4 ATS this season and all 4 games have gone under the total.  The Nittany Lions are 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 October games, 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 as  a road favorite of 10.5 points or more, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 as a road favorite, 0-4 ATS in the last 4 following an ATS loss, and 0-4 following a straight up win, and 0-6 in their last 6 games overall. Indiana is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 as a home underdog, and 7-15 in their last 22 as an underdog of 10.5 points or more.

Indiana and Minnesota are the worst teams in the Big Ten. Penn St is clearly the better team and should win this game rather easily despite the fact that the Nittany Lions struggle to move the ball. I think 15 1/2 points is two much though, as I see this being more of a 10 point game.

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