Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#127 Cincinnati vs.
#128 Indiana
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 12:00pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

The No. 8-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats will travel on the road to Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana for an early-season non-conference showdown against the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday.

The Bearcats enter this matchup with a perfect 2-0 record after a pair of early-season games against Miami (OH) and Murray State. Meanwhile, Indiana is trying to build momentum heading into the Big 10 campaign after dropping its season-opener against Iowa. The Hoosiers enter the week with a 1-1 record after bouncing back with a win over Idaho last week.

Can Indiana pull off the upset at home against Cincinnati on Saturday?

Ridder off to hot start for No. 8-Cincinnati

Cincinnati cruised to a 42-7 victory at home against Murray State to improve to 2-0 through the first two weeks of the college football season. Desmond Ridder completed 14 of 22 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the Bearcats to the win. Running back Jerom Ford carried the load on offense, rushing for 113 yards and three touchdowns while Tyler Scott caught a team-high four balls for 74 yards and a score.

Ridder is off to a red-hot start to his senior season. The 6-foot-4 signal-caller has thrown for 538 yards with six touchdowns and only one interception in two tune-up contests but will get his first true test of the season this week.

The Bearcats defense is fresh off of an impressive five-turnover performance last week against Murray State. Cincinnati limited the Racers to just 2.5 yards per rush and 3.67 yards per play in the win. For the season, the Bearcats rank 18th in the country in total defense, allowing just 260 yards per game and they are 10th against the pass at just 258 yards per game.

Indiana throttles Idaho to even up record at 1-1

Indiana is coming off of a confidence-building 56-14 win at home against Idaho last weekend. Running back Stephen Carr rushed for 118 yards and a score while Michael Penix Jr. threw for 68 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions on the day.

Penix Jr. is off to a slow start to his junior season. The Hoosiers’ quarterback had emerged as a breakout candidate in the Big Ten after throwing for 24 touchdowns and only eight interceptions over the last two seasons combined. However, that hasn’t been the case yet this year.

Through two games, the 6-foot-3 gunslinger has completed just 53.2 percent of his passes for 224 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Last week, he averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt, as the Hoosiers relied on their defense and running game to escape with the win.

Indiana’s defense will try to build on last week’s performance against the Vandals. It allowed just 261 yards of total offense versus Idaho and held the Vandals to just 3-for-14 on third-down conversions.

The Hoosiers will be challenged with stopping Bearcats’ quarterback Desmond Ridder with an injury-riddled secondary this week. Devon Matthews is questionable for Saturday’s game after being hospitalized with an upper-body injury after Indiana’s loss to Iowa. Chris Keys tore his ACL while replacing Williams against Idaho, which means Noah Pierre could see some additional action against the Bearcats.

Last season, Indiana featured a ball-hawking defense that finished the season with 17 interceptions, the second-highest total in the country. The Hoosiers have yet to intercept a pass in 2021.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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This could qualify as a bit of a trap game of the top-10 ranked Bearcats, who have a battle looming with No. 12-Notre Dame after their bye next week. After getting trounced in its season-opener against conference-rival Iowa, Indiana wallopped Idaho in a confidence-building win last weekend. All eyes will be on Hoosiers’ quarterback Michael Penix Jr. in this game. He’s thrown more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (two) this season and he will be up against a Cincinnati defense that ranks 18th in the total defense, including 10th against the pass. Veteran signal-caller Desmond Ridder and the Bearcats to should be able to do enough on offense to get the job done on the road in this one. Take Cincinnati to cover the spread in this non-conference clash in Indiana on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats -4

Full-Game Total Pick

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The original line for this game was set at 51 points but the total has already been bet down to 49.5 ahead of Saturday’s contest.  It’s not going to be easy for Cincinnati to pull out this game on the road against a Big Ten team. The Bearcats are one of the few squads in the country that have a tremendous balance on both sides of the ball but I’m expecting this game to turn into more of a defensive slugfest in Indiana. Penix Jr. was held in check against Iowa and the Hoosiers totaled just six points in that game. While I’m expecting a better showing from them at home here, it might not be enough to push this game over the projected number against a stellar Bearcats defense. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday evening.

Prediction: Under 49.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He has been a very successful sports bettor over the years and has now brought his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.