Indiana Betting Odds Preview
It's been a long time since Indiana fans eagerly awaited the football season, but Hoosier faithful believe something might be brewing in Bloomington this fall. That's what winning four games, like the Hoosiers did last year, means to IU. Indiana has posted just one winning season in the last 18 years, but with eight home games the Hoosiers have a shot at another one this year. Contending in the Leaders Division is too much to ask, but breaking a six-year bowl drought isn't.
Indiana had 15 starters back last year from a team that went 1-11 in its first season under new coach Kevin Wilson, so improvement wasn't just expected, it seemed inevitable. The only way to take a step back would have been to go winless. In fact, Indiana topped its previous season's win total in its first two games, beating Indiana State and UMass.
The Hoosiers then lost on a last-second FG to Ball State, then began Big Ten play by getting blown out by Northwestern. But IU then blew a halftime lead and lost by four points to Michigan State, then fell by three points to Ohio State, then blew another lead and lost by one point to Navy. The Hoosiers then did something they hadn't done since 2007; they won back-to-back Big Ten games, beating Illinois and Iowa.
At 2-3 in conference play IU actually had a chance to win the Leaders Division, but Wisconsin put an end to those pipe dreams with a 62-14 bombing at Memorial Stadium. Indiana then lost to Penn State and Purdue, giving up 101 more points in the process, to finish at 4-8 overall, 2-6 in conference play, and 6-6 ATS. By the numbers the Hoosiers threw for more yardage than any other team in the Big Ten last year, which is something, but they were terrible in time-of-possession, because they threw the ball 550 times and the defense couldn't get off the field. This year Indiana returns 19 starters, most in the Big Ten.
Ten starters are back on offense, including three quarterbacks who combined for a 24/13 TD/INT ratio last year, leading rusher Stephen Houston, five guys who caught at least 37 balls last season, and four of the big boys up front. And nine starters return on a defense that led the conference in tackles-for-loss last year, including the entire back seven. Indiana begins this season with five straight home games, of which they should win at least three.
In Big Ten play the Hoosiers host Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue, and if they want to get to a bowl they'd better win most of those games, because they also have to visit Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. Realistically Indiana has about seven winnable games on its slate.
Big Ten Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 5
Ohio State -115
Michigan State +800