PJP Over/Under Game: 2017 Season

Courtesy: IDS News

A new fall means a new round of PJP’s Over/Under game.

Haven’t played before? It’s easy.

Every week, we’re going to post over/under “bets.”  This year we will be tracking picks on the website so please register if you haven’t already.

For the uninitiated, the standard over/under bet is on the total number of points in a game. Basically, a number is set that represents what someone has determined is a likely amount and you choose whether you think the total will be “over” the set number or “under.”  Our over/unders will generally be a little more in-depth than simple “total points.”

We’ll keep track of how everyone does over the course of the season.  The contest will include this season-long over/under, the 12 games, and hopefully a bowl game, after which we will crown a 2017 champion.  The official IU Athletics box score will be used to determine the final totals.

Let’s get rolling.

1. Richard Lagow interception rate – Over/Under 3.00%

Last season, 3.88% of Lagow’s pass attempts ended up in the hands of the opponent.  You would hope the number of interceptions decreased from 17.  However, you would also hope that is a product of a lower interception rate and not simply from Indiana throwing less.  We’ll set the line at 3.00%.  For reference, and take this however you see fit, Josh Dobbs, Mike DeBord’s QB last year at Tennessee,had an interception rate of 3.36%, up from 1.45% in 2015.1

2. Rushing yards by leading Indiana running back – Over/Under 649.5

Indiana’s leading rusher has produced over 1,000 rushing yards the past 3 seasons and during the Kevin Wilson era, a leading back generally emerged.  Back in 2013, leading rusher Tevin Coleman would have topped 1000 yards had injury not held him out of the final 3 games.  He finished with 958 yards.  In 2012, Stephen Houston led the way with 749 yards after topping the Hoosiers with 802 yards in 2011.  Simply put, during Wilson’s 6 seasons, Indiana had at least 1 productive back in any given season.  It wasn’t always like that.  In 2010, Trea Burgess led IU with 352(!) yards rushing.  That was bad even compared to the prior 2 seasons, Darius Willis’ 607 yards in 2009 and Marcus Thigpen’s 631 yards in 2008.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the position and the lack of a proven running back, Indiana’s leading rusher will probably have fewer yards than in past years.  The question is by how much.

3. Indiana regular season wins2 – Over/Under 6.5

Vegas has the line at 6, but since this is an Indiana site we’re a little more confident than Vegas.  I would guess most IU fans see the Hoosiers finishing the regular season with either 6 or 7 wins.  How confident are you?

4. Griffin Oakes made field goal % on 40+ yard attempts – Over/Under 55.5%

This line is pretty much representative of Oakes’s career.  He has made 56% of his 40+ yard field goal attempts in his 3 seasons.  Oakes was over this line in his first two years before his down junior season.
2016: 5 of 11 (45%)
2015: 6 of 9 (67%)
2014: 4 of 7 (57%)
Total – 15 of 27 (56%)

5. Indiana yards per play allowed – Over/Under 5.09

After a brutal 6.38 yards allowed per play in 2015, Tom Allen’s defense improved to 5.09 last year, ranking 25th nationally.  While the defense has all the potential of improvement, IU probably benefited from injury luck last year and even matching last year’s production would be impressive.  It would also prove that 2016 wasn’t just a lucky flash in the pan.

6. Total Indiana sacks – Over/Under 31.5

Indiana finished with 33 sacks last year.  After just 9 through 6 games, Indiana recorded multiple sacks in each remaining 7 games with a high of 5 in the bowl game.  Tegray Scales topped IU with 7 sacks, but the next 3 Hoosiers (Nile Sykes, Marcus Oliver, and Patrick Dougherty) will not be playing in 2017.  Scales is talented enough to get to the quarterback and will probably lead the team again.  The remaining sacks could again come from a committee.

7. Total receiving yards by all IU running backs minus the receiving yard total from IU’s 3rd leading receiver – Over/Under 0.5

This is complicated so let’s start from the beginning.  On paper, Indiana’s running backs as a collective possess better pass-catching ability than in past seasons.  The running backs in Mike DeBord’s offenses the past couple seasons have received3 a fair amount of targets, much more than IU averaged under Coach Wilson.

On the receiving front, Simmie Cobbs and Nick Westbrook should lead Indiana in receiving yards.  IU’s 3rd leading receiver Mitchell Paige finished with 646 receiving yards in 2016 although I don’t think anyone is expecting that level of production from IU’s #3 WR in 2017.  While Donovan Hale, Luke Timian, or someone else could emerge, most likely targets are split too much for anyone to reach Paige’s level of production.

What this boils down to is whether you think the receiving yards will be higher by all of IU’s running backs (over) or IU’s 3rd leading receiver (under).

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