DraftKings Sportsbook currently has Purdue as a 10.5-point favorite in the bucket game.
Purdue (7-4, 5-3) will know more about what’s at stake after Friday’s matchup between Nebraska and Iowa. Either way, Purdue will be looking to win the Old Oaken Bucket for the second year in a row. Indiana (4-7, 2-6) has struggled this season but clinched a double win in overtime against Michigan State. Let’s see how the teams are doing:
First and foremost, the weather in Bloomington on Saturday afternoon should be partly cloudy with a high temperature of 55° and wind speeds of around 7 mph. This is a much better Purdue offense prediction than the previous 3 games. Aiden O’Connell should be able to throw the ball better this week in milder conditions. He will have to limit sales as he gets better and better. When AOC hands the ball to more than just Charlie Jones, it’s usually a good day. As for the rushing game, there’s no official word yet on whether Devin Mockobee will play. If Devin can’t try, Dylan Downing and Kobe Lewis should take the bulk of the load on Saturday but look for some gadget plays to get the offense grounded.
The Purdue defense has had some good performances this season and they will look to have another one on Saturday. Last week, the defense was able to force three rallies against Northwestern, including a rare interception. There aren’t many chances to intercept this week, but it’s a good sign that the defenders are hungry for the ball.
Indiana’s passing offense has had some troubles this season, as starting QB Connor Blazelak was injured and leading receiver Cam Camper suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this year. In Indiana’s game against Michigan State, a game that went into double overtime, Indiana threw the ball just 7 times and completed 2 passes for 31 yards. Coach Tom Allen has made it clear that Indiana will rely on the rushing attack, now led by rushing QB, Dexter Williams II, and RBs, Shaun Shivers and Josh Henderson. This would be William’s second career start, but in the running game, Shivers and Henderson have picked up the most runs, hauling in 881 yards this season. Overall, the offensive in conference play scores about 21 points per game, tied for 7th in the Big Ten.
On defense, the season has not been good for the Hoosiers. Indiana gives up 35 points per game in conference play, good for last spot in the Big Ten. For comparison, Nebraska is giving up 10 fewer points per game in conference play, and Purdue lost 43 points to the Huskers. The Hoosiers haven’t been able to stop offense as they allow just over 450 yards per game, about 270 of which come from passing offense. Some names to watch out for are lead tackler, Aaron Casey and DB’s, Bryant Fitzgerald and Taiwan Mullen. Mullen is a touted lockdown corner on defense and the only Hoosier with multiple interceptions at 2. The defense have forced 13 turnovers this year so they’re eyeballing the ball, and they’re coming to quarterback quite well, abiding by 17 sacks this season .
Hoosier’s special team unit has a fantastic returnman in Jaylin Lucas, who returned 19 kicks for an average of nearly 30 yards and 2 touchdowns. Charles Campbell is the Hoosiers’ field kicker and has made 13/17 field goals this season, including a 51-yarder. He’s also gone 26 for 26 in PAT’s. James Evans, the punter, has also done well, averaging over 44 yards per punt.
DraftKings has Purdue as a 10.5-point favorite and a 54 O/U. I think Purdue will take care of business on this one, especially if Nebraska gets a win over Iowa. This game won’t force strong passing on the Purdue secondaries, allowing them to stack the box and focus more on the run. The weather will also be nice for the offense to get that precise passing unit going. Purdue covers, the game goes over and the bucket stays at home in West Lafayette.