Regular season: Done. Championship Week: In effect. Bowl season: On deck.
Better yet: Indiana can now put skin in the game.
The Hoosier State is two months into legalized online sports betting, an industry that features three betting apps: DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetRivers.
By Sunday afternoon, upon the conclusion of the College Football Playoff Selection Show on ESPN, the field of 40 bowl games (not counting the national championship) will be filled out. And then, the picks can start pouring in.
Two programs from Indiana (Notre Dame and Indiana) have qualified for a bowl game, while the other two (Purdue and Ball State) will remain home. Here’s a quick college football betting guide to how the season went, what could be on deck, and a little taste of College Football Playoff and Heisman action.
In memoriam: Purdue and Ball State
From the jump, it never seemed like Purdue’s season.
The Boilermakers blew a 17-point lead in the season opener and watched as a walk-on freshman booted a game-winning field goal to lift Nevada to an upset victory. It seemed fitting that Purdue’s last game of the year happened as it did: rallying back from an 18-point deficit only to lose in double-overtime loss against Indiana.
Purdue (4-8) could be bowling, what with four of its eight losses coming by single digits. Alas, the Boilermakers are instead cleaning out lockers.
As is Ball State, which went 5-7 for the program’s best record since 2014. Even so, the Cardinals’ stretch of bowl-less seasons extended to six.
Ball State had it worse than Purdue. The Cardinals sat at 4-3 before dropping four straight to fall out of bowl contention. The final three losses: Western Michigan TD with a minute left to win, Central Michigan TD with a minute left to win, Kent State FG with 19 seconds left to win. Brutal.
Better luck next year. Now, on to the Indiana programs that have another game to prepare for…
Notre Dame could land Big 12 showdown
The Notre Dame program has been revitalized under Brian Kelly. The No. 15 Fighting Irish (10-2) secured a third straight season with at least 10 wins. Notre Dame has not enjoyed such sustained success since Lou Holtz roamed the sideline in the early 1990s.
Certainly, with two CFP appearances and another showing in the BCS National Championship over the past seven years, expectations were high for Notre Dame. An early-season loss to then-No. 3 Georgia and a blowout loss to then-No. 19 Michigan derailed championship hopes.
But, Notre Dame has reeled off five straight. Irish QB Ian Book seems to be jiving with 19 TDs over that span. (He had 18 TDs over the first seven games.)
It appears as if Notre Dame will be on its way to Orlando, Florida, potentially with a matchup against either Texas or Oklahoma State in the Camping World Bowl. That game is schedule for December 28 with a noon ET kickoff.
Indiana: Welcome back to prominence(ish)
It has been some time since Indiana has been THIS good.
The Hoosiers, courtesy of the aforementioned double-OT win at Purdue, guaranteed the program’s first eight-win season since 1993. They finished 5-4 in Big Ten play – the first winning conference record for Indiana in 26 years.
To boot, in Week 12, the Hoosiers came in at No. 24 in the AP rankings – the first time Indiana broke into the national rankings since 1994. The college rewarded coach Tom Allen with a seven-year, $27.3 million contract.
All’s well in Bloomington, but it could have been better. Indiana lost two straight to Penn State and Michigan, then-ranked No. 9 and No. 13, respectively, before the Purdue win.
In any case, the Hoosiers (8-4) earned a bowl appearance and will look for their first bowl win since 1991.
It’s speculative, but Indiana could face an ACC opponent in late-December. Either at the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit or the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York, Indiana will search for a bowl victory that will give the Hoosiers nine wins for the first time since 1967.
What about the College Football Playoff and Heisman?
There’s no need to wait for Sunday to start placing bets. After all, the Big Ten Championship kicks off Saturday at 5 p.m. ET in Indianapolis. There, No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) takes on No. 8 Wisconsin (10-2).
Both DraftKings and FanDuel list Ohio State as overwhelming favorites with a spread of 15.5 points. The Buckeyes pay -670 (DraftKings) and -660 (FanDuel) on the moneyline, while a Wisconsin upset pays out +475 and +470, respectively.
Mind you, the closest game Ohio State has had this year was an 11-point win against Penn State just a few weeks ago. Wisconsin lost to the Buckeyes 38-7 earlier this year.
Now, as for the College Football Playoff, the following are the futures odds to win the national championship:
- DraftKings: Ohio State +150, Clemson +225, LSU +250, Georgia +1200, Oklahoma +3300, Utah +3300, Baylor +20000, Oregon +25000, Wisconsin +50000
- FanDuel: Clemson +140, Ohio State +165, LSU +400, Georgia +1400, Oklahoma +2500, Utah +2500, Baylor +20000, Oregon +20000
And for the Heisman futures odds:
- DraftKings: LSU QB Joe Burrow -2000, Ohio State QB Justin Fields +1200, Ohio State DE Chase Young +1200, Ohio State JK Dobbins +2000, Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts +4000, Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor +15000
- FanDuel: LSU QB Joe Burrow -1400, Ohio State QB Justin Fields +1400, Ohio State DE Chase Young +3000, Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts +3000