College Football Pick
This wasn’t the plan for Michigan. The Wolverines were supposed to go into their Game with Ohio State undefeated with the winner heading to the Big Ten title Game. The only positive for them is that the loss at Iowa may not matter in the end due to other losses around the country. In addition, all Michigan has to do is beat Ohio State in Columbus. They are a -24 point home favorites this weekend against Indiana.
There hadn’t been many questions about the Wolverines before last weekend’s loss. They had carved through any relevant competition thus far in the season, granted there wasn’t much. The one worry was that their most difficult road Game before Iowa was at Michigan State. They ended up not covering and winning by just nine points against their in-state rival. Some of that offensive ineptitude crept up against the Hawkeyes, but the good news for this Game is that none of those problems have accrued at home.
It also helps that they play Indiana, whose only three Conference wins have come against teams with a combined three Conference wins. But it can’t be ignored that the Hoosiers are staying competitive in every Game. They lost 38-17 at Ohio State, which wasn’t all that bad and just this past weekend were looking for an upset against Penn State, but fell apart late in a 45-31 loss. This line is large, but Indiana hasn’t lost by more than 21 points yet this season.
Last year’s meeting was interesting between these teams as the Hoosiers almost pulled off the upset at home, losing 48-41 in overtime. Michigan got an incredible 440 yards and six touchdowns from its quarterback Jake Rudock, while Jordan Howard ran for 238 yards and two touchdowns for Indiana. It’s safe to say those numbers won’t be reached for either side with different names in place.
Michigan’s issue, as seen last Game against Iowa, is at quarterback. Wilton Speight managed just 103 yards to go with a pick in the loss. Of course, he’s also had plenty of success against lesser defenses, throwing for 362 yards and two touchdowns the week before against Maryland. And that may actually come into play here.
Indiana just held Penn State’s Saquon Barkley to 58 yards on 33 carries last Game. Michigan has been able to blow out teams via the ground, but if those yards aren’t easy to come by, the chances for a big blowout may be slim. The Wolverines have a number of running options led by De’Veon Smith, but they were held down at Iowa. If Indiana’s run defense shows up again, will Michigan be able to go for another big Game of 40 to 50 points? If so, Speight will need to have a big bounce back for the offense.
Of course, the other side can’t be forgotten. The Hoosiers are still a decent team offensively, but have had issues against a range of defenses. They’ve been in the 17-to-24 point range a little too often, which may come into concern against Michigan.
Quarterback Richard LAgow has had turnover options throughout the season with 13 interceptions in all. If those interceptions come about against one of the best secondaries in the country, then covering this Game will be tough for the Hoosiers. against Penn State, he looked good, but in LAgow’s last three road Games, he’s thrown five interceptions.
The main goal for Indiana will be to get running back Devine Redding going, just like last year against this defense. Redding is having a solid season, but he’s failed to surpass 78 rushing yards in all three Conference road Games. If he’s near that mark again, LAgow will be under pressure to move the ball.
The Hoosiers are 1-4 ATS in their last five Games overall and 5-12 ATS in their last 17 road Games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Wolverines are 6-1 ATS in their last seven Games following an ATS loss. The home team has covered in the last Four meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – Michigan -24