Iowa vs Indiana Prediction: Can the Hoosiers Prove the Doubters Wrong With an Upset?
No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 18 Indiana Hoosiers
When: Saturday, September 4
Game Time: 3:30 PM ET
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa
TV Network: BTN
Iowa vs Indiana Spread: Iowa -3.5
Iowa vs Indiana Total: 46
Iowa vs Indiana Prediction
The Indiana Hoosiers enjoyed a resurgent season for the football program in 2020, going 6-2 SU, 7-1 ATS, including wins over three ranked teams and a 2nd place finish in the Big Ten East, behind mighty Ohio State. They will look to carry that momentum into 2021 as they go on the road to face a very tough opponent in their Big Ten and season opener, taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes, who won six straight games to close out last season.
Indiana has a very talented dual-threat Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. starting for them. There is no denying his ability nor the fact the Hoosiers are 12-2 SU with him as the starting Quarterback. Still, injuries have become an issue with him, and durability is the biggest question with the Indiana signal-caller and whether he can stay on the field for an entire season. The Hoosiers have a vast array of weapons at Wide-Reciever led by Ty Fryfogle, D.J. Matthews, Miles Marshall, and senior Tight-End Peyron Hendershot. They will have some new faces at running back, though, after losing Stevie Scott.
The Indiana defense returns eight starters, and they made significant improvements on that side of the football a year ago, ranking 20th in the country in points per game allowed. Indiana could have an early-season adjustment period to a new defensive coordinator as Charlton Warren will take over from Kane Wommack. Wommack took the head coaching position at South Alabama. Warren will bring a new scheme on that side of the football as Indiana will shift to the 4-2-5 defensive system.
Iowa finished strong last season, winning their previous six games, which has given them a swell of momentum, and head coach Kirk Ferentz has stated he likes the way his team has worked and prepared in camp for this season. The Hawkeyes have seven starters back on offense, including quarterback Spencer Petras who struggled early but played well late last year. Running-back Tyler Goodson is back as well, and he should be one of the best running backs in the Big Ten and the entire country this season after rushing for over 800 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns a season ago. The offensive line is anchored by center Tyler Linderbaum who is one of the best in the conference.
As usual, Iowa’s defense will be staunch and tough to move the football against. In most categories, the Hawkeyes stop unit was a Top 10 defense in the nation last season, including points per game allowed and total yards per game surrendered. So Iowa should be excellent on that side of the football once again. Even with only six starters back, there aren’t many seasons where Iowa isn’t a fantastic defensive group, especially up front, and I expect them to be good in the trenches yet again. The Hawkeyes secondary will be tough to throw against as they will have three seniors starting in that defensive backfield.
Indiana took much of the early money in the betting markets in this game as Iowa opened up as high as -6 favorites in this game way back in the spring. Still, we see Iowa at -3 in many places across the board, and I think the value has shifted to the home favorite in this game. It should be a very competitive game, and indeed, Indiana is better with a healthy Michael Penix Jr. at QB leading the Hoosiers offense.
Still, the Hawkeyes defense is good enough to counter it and Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City remains one of the most challenging places to play for any road team. Iowa is 4-1 ATS in their last five tries as a favorite, and I expect the Hawkeyes to get the home win and cover in this season and Big Ten conference opener.
Iowa vs Indiana Pick
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