The Indiana Hoosiers (6-6) are set to take on the Duke Blue Devils (7-5) in the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, December 26th at 3:30 EST and will be televised nationally on ABC. Our NCAAF bowl betting spreads show Indiana currently listed as a 2-point favorite with the total set at 67.5 points.
While the Hoosiers managed to go just 2-6 inside Big Ten play, Indiana’s 4-0 record outside the conference has them headed to their first bowl game since 2007 and only their second bowl game since 1993. It seemed unlikely the Hoosiers would end their drought this year, as they opened up Big Ten play 0-6 and needed to win their final two on the road against Maryland and Purdue. Not only did they win both games, they won convincingly, beating the Terrapins 47-28 and the Boilermakers 54-36.
Duke finished up T-4th in the ACC Coast at 4-4 and will be headed to their fourth straight bowl game under head coach David Cutcliffe, who has done a tremendous job of turning this program around. Prior to this current bowl streak, the Blue Devils were in the same boat as Indiana, as they hadn’t been to a bowl game since 1994.
Early Lean on Duke +2
While I typically like to look for teams like Indiana, who are to their first bowl game after a multiple year drought, this is a rare instance where I’m going to the other direction. Just playing in this game is a major accomplishment for the Hoosiers, but it’s no guarantee they will win this game. Sure, Indiana will be motivated to get a victory, but you can make the same argument for the Blue Devils.
While Duke has been to 3 straight bowl games, they haven’t been able to come away with a win in any of the 3. Their last two have been especially painful, as they lost to Texas A&M in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl 48-52 (led 38-17) and last year fell 31-36 to Arizona State in the Sun Bowl. The Blue Devils haven’t won a bowl game since 1960, so you can be assured this game means just as much to them as it does the Hoosiers.
While Duke has been to 3 straight bowl games, they haven’t been able to come away with a win in any of the 3…The Blue Devils haven’t won a bowl game since 1960, so you can be assured this game means just as much to them as it does the Hoosiers.
Given the motivation factor being equal, I think you have to give a slight advantage to Duke due the fact that they have some experience with how to handle the bowl preparation. Keep in mind, not only is Indiana’s players unfamiliar with how to prepare and stay focused, Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson also has no head coaching experience of getting a team ready for a bowl game.
Another big factor here that has me liking the Blue Devils, is they actually play some defense. Duke only allowed 24.1 ppg, while Indiana gave up 37.1 ppg. The Blue Devils held opponents to just 3.4 yards/carry and opposing quarterbacks only completed 55.6% of their pass attempts against them. The Hoosiers ranked 121st in the country in total defense, giving up a whopping 507.2 ypg.
Indiana’s offense was more efficient, but not by much. The Hoosiers averaged 36.2 ppg and ranked 16th in total offense at 491 ypg. Duke averaged a modest 30.5 ppg and ranked a respectable 39th at 431 ypg. You also have to factor in that given the extra time to prepare for Indiana’s offense, the Blue Devils should have the easier time of the two moving the ball. You also have to keep in mind this game is being played outside in what figures to be less than ideal conditions at Yankee Stadium, which should favor the better defensive team.
You also have to like the fact that Duke is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games when they have 2 or more weeks to prepare for an opponent and 11-3 ATS in their last 14 non-conference games.