Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers – College Football (September 18, 2021)

By Dan Vasta in College Football
| September 16, 2021 7:18 am PDT

We have had some chaotic non-conference meetings thus far in the season, and we are still in September. The Hoosiers and Bearcats were two preseason darlings entering the season.

The Hoosiers suffered a season-opening loss at Iowa but have plenty of other challenges ahead of them to impress the voters. Coming off their best season in program history arguably, Indiana can regain their swagger with a victory over a Top 10 squad.

Cincinnati is coming off one of their better seasons as a program. They came up short against Georgia in the Peach Bowl, which prevents them from having a perfect season. Luke Fickell has most of his team back from the tremendous 2020 squad. They will need to take advantage of the gauntlet non-conference slate they have.

Looking to bet on this game at your favorite US sports betting sites? Let’s go over the odds, as well as my prediction and pick.

Cincinnati vs. Indiana Odds

Cincinnati (-3.5)-116
Indiana (+3.5)-104
Cincinnati to Win-180
Indiana to Win+160
Over 50-110
Under 50-110

Indiana has fallen victim to slight home underdogs over the years. Perhaps Tom Allen will be the difference, but IU has gone 1-4 against the spread when they are 3-3.5 point underdogs.

The Hoosiers have history on their side against the Bearcats. Indiana has won five straight in this series, but it dates back to 1962. Recently, we have seen the program from Bloomington win three in a row since 1994.

The Bearcats are 3-5 as a road favorite under Luke Fickell. USC just fired Clay Helton, so many wonder how much pressure will be on Fickell throughout the season.

The Hoosiers are looking for their first nine-win season since 1967. A win here could springboard them to that achievement. It is time to discuss the keys to victory for Cincinnati and Indiana in this pivotal non-conference clash.

Why Cincinnati Wins

The Bearcats have dominated the line of scrimmage in most of their games as a program under Luke Fickell. The past few seasons have been impressive to see the development of Desmond Ridder at quarterback.

Fickell and Ridder rank among the top tandems in the country between a coach and signal-caller. The dual-threat ability was always there for Ridder. The improvement in the pocket as a passer has transformed his game into a future first-rounder.

Ridder is one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and this game could be one where he turns some heads.

He even put to bed some wild rumors recently.

Alec Pierce and Michael Young are two stud wide receivers that can move the chains. Pierce has been a big play waiting to happen, but the legs of Ridder have extended so many drives.

Drives often stall, and points get taken off the board when opposing teams lack an athletic quarterback. The most vital position in football pays dividends to those attempting to be a consistent program on the national landscape.

Fickell is also known for his star defenders. Myjai Sanders is unblockable off the edge and can harass opposing quarterbacks when he pins his ears back on third downs. Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant are NFL-like corners that should get drafted after the season.

If the Cincy defense can lockdown Ty Fryfogle and D.J. Matthews, the Bearcats will walk out of Bloomington with a dub that will put them a step closer to national stardom.

Why Indiana Wins

The Hoosiers have been a treat to watch under Tom Allen. They defeated three ranked teams last season for the first time since 1945. IU was in the Top 25 last season for the first time since 1993. Most premier teams in the major conferences will have a Top 25 type of season at some point every decade at minimum.

Indiana still has a lot left in the tank to prove to the doubters who believe they have no chance at returning to the Top 25.

A win over a program as solid as the Bearcats likely puts them right back in the mix.

Michael Penix Jr. didn’t play great against a stifling Hawkeyes defense in the opener, so he should be prepared for the Bearcats.

Tight end Peyton Hendershot is a player that needs to come through with clutch catches in the middle of the field. Fryfogle and Matthews have the speed on the outside, and they will be moving all over.

Micah McFadden is the perfect linebacker to spy on Ridder, and he should help win the battle at the line of scrimmage for Indiana.

Cincinnati vs. Indiana Prediction

Indiana has been a joy to watch these past two seasons, and their energy at home is different than most programs. They have had the knack of overcoming adversity, and the culture has rubbed off onto the players.

Cincinnati may have a slight edge in talent, but Penix is the perfect type of signal-caller to expose the Bearcat defense.

This game will have a few lead changes, but the Hoosiers have a secret weapon in the backfield.

Stephen Carr will be the difference-maker in their upset over a Top 10 squad.

Cincinnati vs. Indiana Pick

It could be risky to go against the Bearcats outright, so I lean more heavily on the points. Indiana has a great chance of pulling the upset off, but the best play is to take Indiana at home with points.

They ran into a buzzsaw with Iowa in their season-opener, and the Hoosiers should be able to score enough points to at least cover.

There is value in picking the Hoosiers to win outright, perhaps in a parlay. The pick here is to take Indiana at home with 3.5 points.

Pick
  • Indiana (+3.5)
    -104

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