The week 5 Indiana at Nebraska matchup isn’t the most hyped matchup on this week’s slate, but it has the potential to be very entertaining. Saturday night’s (7:30 ET, BTN) has a betting total of 61.5, although whether that’s due to potent offenses or horrible defense is up for debate.
The Hoosiers are 3-1 coming into this meeting but are somewhat surprisingly +5.5 underdogs against 1-3 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are coming off their bye, but also have allowed 47 ppg their last two and have allowed the most yards to FBS opponents in the country. Indiana is going to throw the ball all over the field here, but just 47% of the betting public are taking the points.
Indiana the Trap Play?
It’s surprising that more public bettors aren’t taking Indiana here. Sure the Hoosiers are unconventional as QB Connor Bazelak leads the country in pass attempts (202), but Nebraska has the worst defense in the country.
Bazelak has attempted more than 50+ pass attempts in three of four games this season. He doesn’t have more than two TD throws in a game, his completion rate is just 53.5, and his season high in yardage is 364, but Bazelak is up against a Cornhusker defense that gives up 280.5 yards/game passing.
Bazelak’s favorite target is Cam Camper who has 51 targets in four games. IU could instead choose to focus on their rushing game in the Indiana at Nebraska matchup since the Huskers also allow 233.5 yards/game to opponents on the ground. Shaun Shivers is a solid option for Indiana in the rushing attack (320 yards, 3 TDs) and Josh Henderson (159 yards, 2TDs) provides a nice 1-2 punch.
Nebraska Looks In Line for the Win
For whatever reason the Cornhuskers are -5.5 favorites on Saturday night and that’s the type of line that is so confusing that they’ll probably cover the number. Nebraska did have the bye last week, which is especially important as it allows coach Mickey Joseph some extra time to get comfortable with the team following the firing of Scott Frost in week two.
Joseph was busy during the idle week, firing defensive coordinator Erik Chinander after his unit was allowing 35.5 ppg. Joseph’s debut as HC wasn’t great as Nebraska suffered a 49-14 home loss to Oklahoma as just +11 point underdogs on September 17th, but it also wasn’t a great situation.
It looks like Indiana is vulnerable in pass defense after they’ve allowed 329 and 349 yards through the air the last two weeks. Those numbers were also put up by Western Kentucky’s #11 passing attack and Cincinnati’s #14 air unit who both throw for over 325 per game. Nebraska does not have that potency even though Texas transfer QB Casey Thompson has a couple of 300+ yard games this season and Anthony Grant has ran for 100+ in 3 of 4 tilts.
Free Indiana at Nebraska Betting Pick
On paper it seems like the wrong team is favored here. Indiana had a solid win over Illinois in the opener and toppled the high-powered Western Kentucky offense. They got their first road game of the season out of the way last week and took their medicine down 38-10 at the half against Cincinnati.
The big question is just how much the Nebraska defense has improved with the bye week and switching coordinators? Indiana is going to benefit from matching up with offenses like Western Kentucky and Cincinnati the last two weeks and the Hoosiers seem like they’ll be contending for the outright win here. That’s why the line being so far off makes Nebraska the contrarian play.
Free Pick: Nebraska -5.5