Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard
Sports Betting coverage provided by Action Network

Penn State vs Indiana preview: Recent history says lay points with Hoosiers

No. 15 Penn State enters as a two-touchdown favorite over Indiana, but defensive struggles in Bloomington should have bettors hesitant to back Nittany Lions.

Parker Washington #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs for a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 29, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania.
Parker Washington #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs for a touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 29, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania.Read moreScott Taetsch / Getty Images

For almost three and a half quarters, it looked like the No. 15 Penn State Nittany Lions were set to take down No. 2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ offense mustered 16 points through the first 50 minutes of the game.

Then, an offensive explosion saw Ohio State score 28 fourth quarter points, leaving the Nittany Lions with no answers in their 44-31 loss. However, Penn State did prove profitable for bettors, by backdoor covering the 15.5-point spread in the waning minutes.

Now, James Franklin and the Nittany Lions face an Indiana Hoosiers team that has lost five straight games, though it has kept its last two results close. The Hoosiers enter the game as 14-point home underdogs at Caesars Sportsbook.

While Penn State has won seven of the last eight matchups, and 18 of 20 games overall vs. Indiana since 2000, the Nittany Lions have struggled in Bloomington defensively over their last five matchups, giving up an average of nearly 30 points against the Hoosiers.

The last time the Nittany Lions faced Indiana in Bloomington was the controversial ending in 2020, where then-Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix, now a member of the Washington Huskies, outstretched his arm and took down Penn State on a two-point conversion.

Penn State won last season, 24-0, but the Nittany Lions have failed to cover the spread against the Hoosiers in three of their last four matchups, dating back to 2018. Under Franklin, Penn State is an even 4-4 against the spread when facing Indiana since 2014, according to OddsShark.

Indiana has struggled to finish games this season. However, its lone Power 5 win this season came against No. 16 Illinois in the season opener, a game where the Hoosiers were favored by one point. Since then, the Hoosiers were favored two other times, against Idaho (24.5-point favorites) and Western Kentucky (seven-point favorites) and failed to cover in both games.

» READ MORE: ‘We can’t dwell on this’: Penn State needs to turn the page after disappointing finish vs. Ohio State

This is the fourth time this season Penn State has been favored by a double-digit margin. The Nittany Lions failed to cover against Northwestern (+25.5) and Central Michigan (+28). It’s also the Hoosiers’ fourth time as double-digit underdogs. They covered against Michigan (+23.5) and Maryland (+11) but failing to cover in an early-season loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats (+16.5).

With the Big Ten Championship out of reach for the Nittany Lions, this could be a prime letdown spot coming off an emotional loss to Ohio State. Couple that with the unknown situation surrounding the quarterbacks, between starting freshman Drew Allar or sticking with veteran signal-caller Sean Clifford, taking the Nittany Lions to cover could be a cautionary tale.

The time to bet on Indiana is now, before the line drops any further. Expect Penn State to win, but covering the 14-point margin might be too much to ask.

Penn State vs Indiana odds (via Caesars)

Betting Line: Penn State -14; O/U: 50.5

IND: +430

PSU: -600

*Penn State is 5-3 against the spread in 2022, while Indiana is 3-5 ATS.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.