This Trend Suggests Fading Indiana in the Second Half vs. Rutgers

Indiana Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson has seen his team cough up some big second half leads this season.
Indiana Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson has seen his team cough up some big second half leads this season. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Woodson has preached learning how to win and closing out games all season during his first year on the job at Indiana. Some times the message has been received, while other times big leads have been lost; never to be reclaimed.

His Indiana Hoosiers remain in the bubble conversation, currently a 12-seed according to the latest projections over at BracketMatrix with two games to go before the Big Ten Tournament.

Tonight, they're listed as 5-point favorites at WynnBET Sportsbook against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, as both teams are separated by just a game in the Big Ten standings, with the Hoosiers looking up on their (somewhat) new Big Ten foe.

Because the Hoosiers have been so up and down all season, rather than make a pick on the game, I think there are two separate ways to attack this matchup from a betting perspective.

How to Bet Rutgers vs. Indiana

Bet Indiana First Half -2.5 vs. Rutgers, Grab Rutgers Live in the Second Half

Our Joe Summers already wrote up an excellent betting preview for tonight's Big Ten battle, as he's backing the Hoosiers to improve to 13-5 against the spread at Assembly Hall and cover at home in a game they absolutely must win.

I'm going to approach it slightly differently.

Last week, the great JG Trends on Twitter put out an infographic showing which teams have made the best adjustments at halftime on offense from an efficiency level. At the top of the list were teams like Providence and Missouri State. At the very bottom was the Hoosiers.

Indiana ranks as the worst team measured in the study for Points/Possession over Change in Offensive Efficiency. Basically, stay away from them in the second half because they're going to become stagnant, inefficient and not score enough compared to their competition.

It adds up, as the Hoosiers have blown several big leads in the second half this season, and almost blew a 27-point lead to Minnesota in the final 10 minutes on Sunday.

By taking them at -2.5 in the first half, you back a team that holds the No. 8 rating in the country at TeamRankings in first halves of games. Then, when the second half comes in, depending on what the current line is, Rutgers becomes in play.

The Scarlet Knights are a fantastic second half defense, ranking top 20 in the country in opponents points per game in the final 20 minutes. Between the Hoosiers' inconsistencies and the Knights' ability to muck it up late, this game should play out exactly to how Indiana has played almost the entire year.

As I stated in the tweet above, I get bad juju when I bet on or against the team I root for as an IU fan. However, if I WERE going to bet Rutgers vs. Indiana, I really do like these two separate plays tonight to go down at Assembly Hall.

PICK: Indiana -2.5 1H | Rutgers LIVE +7.5 or higher

Follow all of Ben Heisler's betting plays in real-time HERE.