Some of the most anticipated matchups on the slate provide value this early in the week, as do some of the weaker games on paper. Hopefully you’re all in the green after two full weeks of college football action, and as always, remember to get your bets in early this week to get the best of the number. Additionally, be sure to check out PFF's Greenline tool to aid your betting decisions for college football and the NFL.
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Cincinnati Bearcats (-3.5) @ Indiana Hoosiers
Projection: Cincinnati -5.9
Cincinnati came into the year ranked eighth in the AP poll, and the team has done nothing thus far to instill doubt in the voters. It’s been a soft schedule through two weeks, but a 49-14 victory over Miami (OH) was very impressive, with the offense averaging a ridiculous 0.466 expected points added (EPA) per play and 9.9 yards per play. The defense picked up where it left off, as well, limiting Miami to an 18% success rate and generating 24 pressures on just 30 dropbacks.
Indiana, meanwhile, put together one of the most disappointing openers of the season. Iowa blew the Hoosiers out, limiting them to 3.6 yards per play. Quarterback Michael Penix notched a dreadful 35.7 passing grade with four turnover-worthy plays and just five yards per attempt. The offensive line allowing 18 pressures didn’t do him any favors, either.
We knew that Indiana’s offensive line could be an issue, and Cincinnati has the personnel to take advantage. The Bearcats ranked sixth in PFF pass-rush grade in 2020 and return a top-five defensive lineman in edge defender Myjai Sanders. This secondary could give Penix plenty of problems as well, as it features two of the best cornerbacks in college football and finished as the third-best coverage unit last season in PFF grade.
On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati should be able to find plays against a defense that ranked outside the top 45 in both rushing and passing success rate last season.