Despite coming off a loss and looking mediocre for the first month-plus of the season, Michigan is still a top-20 team in the AP Polls. That could change quickly with a couple road Games upcoming for the Wolverines, starting with the trip to Bloomington. This spread was much different before the season, but that’s changed as the Wolverines were just -6.5 point road favorites early in the week (as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook).
Oddsmakers remain unclear of what to do with Michigan as the line moved all over the place last week against Michigan State and now opened in the weird 4-to-6 point zone. After watching John O’Korn throw three interceptions in his first start, not many will be keen on backing the Wolverines, outside of alumni. Michigan’s offense has been inept for most of the season and the defense isn’t as dominant as a year ago, allowing at least 10 points in every Game.
There’s similarly little known about Indiana with its only two Conference Games coming against Ohio State and Penn State. The Hoosiers haven’t been bad and played well in both of their losses, no matter what the scores suggest. In the season opener, they were even with the Buckeyes until the second half and then a couple weeks ago against the Nittany Lions, after a kick return and early fumble, IU was in an early hole. But after going down 28-0, the Hoosiers battled the rest of the way losing only 17-14 in the final three quarters on the scoreboard as Saquon Barkley had one of his worst Games of the season with only 56 rushing yards on 20 carries.
That performance could be a good enough reason to take Indiana in this Game, especially against an unknown with O’Korn at quarterback. Michigan’s offense was playing bad with Wilton Speight, but O’Korn made things worse last week and if they can’t get a ground Game going, that could spell immediate trouble. Whether it’s Ty Isaac, Chris Evans or Karan Higdon, the Wolverines need one of their running backs to breakthrough in this Game. Otherwise, it could look similar to last week’s loss minus the rainstorm. They’ll try and run as much as possible to limit what O’Korn does in his first road start in a few years.
The clear question revolves around the Indiana rush defense. The Hoosiers stopped Barkley, but were gashed by Ohio State for 292 rushing yards in the opener. If they fall somewhere between those performances, this should be headed for a low-scoring Game.
On the other side, Indiana already went through a quarterback change with freshman Peyton Ramsey getting the nod against Charleston Southern. He looked great, but Michigan is a much different defense to face. His legs may be the most important part to this Game as he’s already second on the team with 171 rushing yards. As long as the Hoosiers can get a first down here and there with Ramsey and running back Morgan Ellison, that should lead to enough points to keep this Game within reach. Still, neither one of these teams will be easy to back in this situation.
The Wolverines are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record while the Hoosiers are 1-4 ATS in their last five home Games.
Our Pick – Indiana +6.5