On Saturday afternoon in a consequential matchup, the Indiana Hoosiers host the Cincinnati Bearcats. Cincinnati, as a Group of Five program in the American Athletic Conference, is going to look to make a statement by beating a Big Ten team in Indiana.
Indiana opened their season ranked in the AP Top 25 poll but dropped out of the rankings after losing to No. 5 Iowa. Last year, the Hoosiers were one of the surprise teams in the Big Ten, and they are looking to rejoin the AP Top 25 by beating Cincy.
Cincinnati went 9-1 last season, with their only loss a 24-21 defeat against Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. As a strong Group of Five program that was recently invited to join the Big 12, the Bearcats are looking to make a statement by beating Indiana this week and Notre Dame in two weeks.
The question for Saturday’s game is if Cincy can beat a strong Power 5 opponent in Indiana?
Below, I go over how I think the game will go and my favorite bets.
Cincinnati vs. Indiana Best Bet: Cincinnati -4 (-110) at PointsBet
For in-depth analysis of this CFB bet of the day and others, continue reading.
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Cincinnati vs. Indiana Prediction
In Week 1, as a 3.5 point underdog against Iowa, Indiana came in as a popular upset pick. They went 6-1 in Big Ten conference play in 2020, beating Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Additionally, starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was coming back from an injury. Despite all the hype, the Hoosiers lost 34-6.
Iowa is built similarly to Cincinnati, only they have a slightly stronger defense and a weaker offense. It is hard to evaluate Cincy’s performance this season as they have only played cupcakes, but last year they allowed just 20.2 points per game, which was the 20th best in the FBS. Against the Hoosiers, the Bearcats are going to look to neuter Penix Jr. and the Indiana offense.
The Bearcats are arguably the best Group of Five school right now, and part of the reason why is because of head coach Luke Fickell. Currently, Fickell is rumored to be considered for the open USC job, and beating Indiana and/or Notre Dame will help him in those discussions.
Recently, Cincinnati has had a strong record in close games, and that is partly because of Fickell’s strong coaching. In a low-scoring game, the Bearcats are well-positioned against Indiana if the game comes down to a touchdown or less.
The Bearcats are going to look to establish a short passing attack and a strong running game. It won’t be a high-scoring game, but I expect Cincinnati to beat Indiana in a close game.
Prediction: Cincinnati 24, Indiana 17
Cincinnati vs. Indiana Best Bets
Best Bet: Cincinnati -4 (-110) at Pointsbet
Wager: .5 Units
Cincinnati should beat Indiana. The Hoosiers looked weak against Iowa, and the Bearcats are looking to establish themselves as a national powerhouse. In what should be a low-scoring game, I like Cincy to narrowly cover the spread.
When the line opened at Cincinnati -2.5 (-115), I bet a unit on Cincinnati. Now that the Cincy spread has increased to four points, I only recommend a half unit wager, and I would bet the spread up to -5.5.
Best Bet: Under 50 Points (+100) at BetMGM
Wager: 0.5 Units
At even money on BetMGM, the under is worth a bet in the Cincy/Indy game. Cincinnati should keep points off the board while at the same time not lighting up a strong Indiana defense.
While the Hoosiers allowed 34 points against a weak Iowa offense, they should have allowed fewer points based on their defensive play. Indiana limited Iowa’s quarterback to only 145 passing yards, no touchdowns, and a 48.1% completion percentage.
I would bet half a unit on the under up to 49.5 at -110 odds.
Best Bet: Cincinnati Margin of Victory 1-13 (+160) at PointsBet
Wager: 0.5 Units
PointsBet has a fun market that they offer on certain college football games where you can bet on who wins and the margin of victory. For the Bearcats/Hoosiers game, I like the Bearcats to win by 1-13 points at +160 odds.
With a breakeven price of 38.5%, I believe that the chances of Cincinnati winning by between 1-13 points is greater than 38.5%, which makes this a great bet.