Vegas Preview & Game Odds: Indiana vs Purdue

A pair of in-state rivals will meet this weekend with a bowl game on the line as the Indiana Hoosiers host the Purdue Boilermakers. The fun gets started at noon EST on Saturday, November 24, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Oddsmakers list Purdue as 4-point favorites on the road. That line has increased slightly after the Boilermakers opened the week favored by 3.5 points. The over/under is set at 62 points. Click here to see a full list of this week’s college football odds.

Indiana vs Purdue Vegas Odds & Game Preview

The Boilermakers have endured a rollercoaster of a season. They started the season 0-3, only to rattle off four straight wins capped by that huge upset over Ohio State. However, since that win, Purdue has lost three of their last four games, including a triple-overtime heartbreaker against Wisconsin last week to drop them to 5-6. Just a few weeks ago, the Boilermakers were in the running for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. But now they need to get a win over their in-state rivals just to reach a bowl game.

Indiana has had a different kind of season. They started 3-0 during the non-conference part of their schedule, including wins over Florida International and Virginia that look quite impressive right now. However, the Hoosiers understandably struggled once they started playing in the loaded Big Ten East division. Indiana managed to snap a four-game losing streak a couple weeks ago with a win over Maryland to keep their bowl hopes alive. However, they still need one more win to make a bowl game for the third time in the last four years.

In addition to playing for a bowl bid, these two teams will also be playing for the Old Oaken Bucket, as they do every season. The Boilermakers took home that trophy last season with a 31-24 win. However, the Hoosiers claimed it in the previous four seasons. It’s also worth noting that Purdue hasn’t won a game in Bloomington since 2011, so recent history is not on their side in this game.

Free College Football Betting Selection: Indiana +4

I hate the idea of leaning toward a road favorite in this kind of game. I’ll admit that at their best Purdue is the better team. But they haven’t been a reliable and consistent team since that win over Ohio State. Indiana, on the other hand, has played competitive games against better teams for the past month. Even if the Boilermakers win, I like Indiana to beat the spread.

My biggest concern about Purdue at this point in the season is how much they’ve struggled to defend lately. The Boilermakers gave up over seven yards per carry on the ground last week against Wisconsin and over six yards per carry the previous week against Minnesota. Even if we concede that those are good rushing teams, those are monster numbers to be giving up. It’s also not the way to win games in the Big Ten, especially in November.

On a related note, the Hoosiers have a solid rushing attack that may be able to exploit the Purdue front-7. Freshman running back Stevie Scott has shaken off a midseason slump and has been at his best in November. He’s rushed for at least 96 yards in his last four games, finding the end zone five times during that stretch. Last week against Michigan, Scott took 30 carries and held up well against one of the best defenses in the country, rushing for 139 yards. If the Hoosiers need to hand him the ball just as many times this week, they know they can count on him.

On the other side of the ball, the Boilermakers have struggled to run the ball over the last month. On the season, Purdue’s rushing numbers are fine. But the tandem of D.J. Knox and Markell Jones has largely been held in check during the team’s late-season slide.

To be fair, the Indiana defense has also been vulnerable against the run this season. However, they’ve held up a little better than Purdue’s defense in recent weeks. The Hoosiers have also faced some of the best rushing teams in the Big Ten the past few games, so they should be prepared to contain Purdue’s ground game.

If Purdue has an advantage in this game it could be at quarterback. Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey has not been able to avoid turnovers late in the season. He’s also not much of a threat to take shots down the field, which is why the Hoosiers rely on their ground game so much. Purdue’s David Blough, on the other hand, has made some big-time throws this season and gone for 300-plus passing yards five times. However, if Blough has an off week, the Boilermakers will surely be in trouble.

In the end, I feel more comfortable in this game with the team that’s going to run the ball more effectively, especially when they’re at home. I think Indiana will have more success on the ground and keep this a close, low-scoring game. With the spread at more than a field goal, even if the Hoosiers don’t win, I think they can beat the spread.

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