Indiana Hoosiers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Pick – NCAAF Week 5

The Indiana Hoosiers and Penn State Nittany Lions have a meeting at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley on Saturday night. This is the ABC primetime game for Week 5.

It isn’t the best matchup on the card. I’d argue that Arkansas Georgia and Ole Miss Alabama are bigger matchups, but this is certainly a big game for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have to treat every game as a big one. They’re going into Week 5 ranked No. 5 in the nation. In other words, all of their games now are essentially playoff games.

Penn State can’t afford to lose a game. Their ranking will likely drop hard if the Nittany Lions lose. Win out and they’re in, so Penn State controls their own destiny.

In their most recent outing, Penn State beat Villanova by a score of 38-17 in a game that they weren’t interested in. This was a week after beating Auburn, 28-20, at home in Happy Valley.

That wasn’t their most impressive accomplishment, though. They opened the season with a 16-10 win in Madison at the University of Wisconsin.

The defense hasn’t wasted any downs and has been smothering defenses. It’s not what Indiana cares to hear going into Saturday night.

The Hoosiers are coming off a game they were disinterested in as well. In their case, it almost ended up being a loss. Indiana survived with a 33-31 win over Western Kentucky, a week after getting dropped by Cincinnati at home, 38-24.

In their two biggest games, Indiana was flat with a 34-6 loss against Iowa to open the season, and then the Cincinnati outing didn’t go well either. They have a 56-14 win over Idaho and the Western Kentucky win.

It’s not the best resume for the Hoosiers, but we’ll see if they can get up for this one against Penn State. Beaver Stadium isn’t the easiest place to play. Head below for our free Indiana vs. Penn State pick for October 2, 2021.

Indiana Hoosiers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Live Odds and Betting History:

The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Indiana +12.5 (-110) +400 Over 53.5 (-110)
Penn State -12.5 (-110) -500 Under 53.5 (-110)
Team Data Indiana Penn State
Overall Record 2-2 4-0
ATS Record 1-3-0 3-1-0
Away/Home Record 1-1 3-0
ATS Away/Home 0-2-0 2-1-0
Points Per Game 29.8 31.5
Points Against Per Game 29.3 15
Passing Yards Per Game 228 307.8
Rushing Yards Per Game 135.5 113.3

Indiana vs. Penn State Prediction:

It took Penn State some years to get their program back on track following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but they are back to national prominence. We’ll have to see if they can stay there now. They’ve been solid on both sides of the ball, especially defensively where they’ve held the opposition to just 12 points per game.

Penn State ranks 12th in the FBS in points allowed per game. In the two games that mattered most versus Wisconsin and Auburn, the Nittany Lions came up with big plays defensively. Bo Nix of Auburn passed for just 185 yards in the loss two weeks back. It’s hard to see Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr. doing much better in this one.

Penix Jr. has passed for 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on 55% completions. He has run for -32 yards, so no, Penix Jr. isn’t much of a runner. If the Hoosiers had something better behind him on the bench, Penix Jr. would likely be in a reserve role. I don’t see how it’s going to work out well in a hostile environment at night in Happy Valley.


Indiana Hoosiers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Trends:

Indiana

  • 8-1 ATS in their previous nine games as an underdog on the road
  • 6-1 ATS in their previous seven games versus a team with a winning record
  • 9-2 ATS in their previous 11 games after failing to cover the spread
  • 1-4 ATS in their previous five games

Penn State

  • 18-2 overall in their previous 20 games versus Indiana
  • 10-0 overall in their previous ten games versus Indiana at Penn State
  • 5-0 ATS in their previous five games versus the Big Ten
  • 6-1 ATS in their previous seven games as a favorite
  • 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games

Expect to see Indiana setting Penn State up with prime field position often in this one. Penix Jr. is likely going to have issues, leading to the Nittany Lions having great starting field position throughout the night. Sean Clifford should be able to take care of the rest for Penn State.

Clifford has been steady and consistent with 1,158 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions on 71.7% completions. Penn State is in the top-20 with 307.8 yards per game through the air. I don’t think the Nittany Lions need much help offensively, but Indiana’s offense failing to flip the field should make it easy on them.

Indiana ended a six-game Penn State winning streak last year. It was an entertaining game with the Hoosiers winning a nailbiter in overtime, 36-35. This meeting is likely going to work out much differently. Penn State is too well-balanced on both sides of the ball for Indiana to put a dent in them in Pennsylvania. Expect it to be close in the first-half, though Penn State should pull away for a convincing win.

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