Dr. Bob Previews #9 OHIO STATE (-17.5) @ INDIANA
#9 Ohio St. (-17.5) 32 INDIANA 10
Indiana put a scare into an overrated Michigan team last week but ultimately lost 33-36 as the Wolverines scored the final touchdown with a couple minutes remaining in the game. That loss has got to be a heart breaker for an Indiana team that would have been 4-0 had they won and teams that lose close games as big dogs tend to be emotionally drained for their next game.
In fact, Indiana applies to a negative 11-55-1 ATS subset of a 42-121-2 ATS situation that plays against teams coming off a near upset win. Not only will Indiana spend the week thinking about that loss but Ohio State will be on alert given how close the Hoosiers came to beating Michigan.
In addition to the situation, the Buckeyes are also a much better team than the Hoosiers, who are still a worse than average team despite their early season success. Indiana has out-gained their 4 opponents 5.8 yards per play to 5.4 yppl but an average Division 1A team would out-gain those teams 6.0 yppl to 4.9 yppl so the Hoosiers are 0.2 yppl worse than average on offense and 0.5 yppl worse than average defensively. Indiana is also not likely to continue to average +1.0 in turnover margin and the Hoosiers are worse than average in special teams.
Ohio State has only been 0.5 yppl better than average offensively (with Terrelle Pryor at QB) and their rush attack will probably be slowed by a good Indiana run defense, but Pryor is a better passer than most people give him credit for (he's averaged 7.7 yards per pass play against teams that would allow 6.1 yppp to an average QB) and he should convert plenty of 3rd downs against a bad Hoosiers' pass defense that has given up 6.7 yppp to quarterbacks that would only averaged 5.3 yppp against an average defensive team.
Defensively is where the Buckeyes are likely to dominate this game, as Indiana's mediocre attack will have a tough time scoring on a very good Buckeyes' defense that is 1.4 yppl better than average for the season (4.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.6 yppl against an average defense) and has been particularly good when not facing Navy's option attack.
Since allowing 6.0 yppl to Navy in their opener the Buckeyes held USC's very good offense to just 4.7 yppl and then shut out better than average attacks of Toledo and Illinois while limiting those teams to 3.6 yppl and 2.7 yppl, respectively.
Ohio State isn't likely to be explosive offensively, but they'll move the ball better than average and take advantage of good field position and should eventually pull away in this game. In fact, my math model favors the Buckeyes by 22 1/2 points and the situation is favorable.
However, there is a less significant situation that does favor Indiana in this game and their solid run defense could pose a problem if the Buckeyes' coaches decide to run the ball more than they should.
I'd consider Ohio State a Strong Opinion if the line goes back down to -17 or less.
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