The Minnesota Golden Gophers seek that elusive first Big Ten victory of the season when they host the Indiana Hoosiers on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. The Golden Gophers (3-4) are 0-4 in the Big Ten, but the Hoosiers (4-4) are 1-4 in the conference. In the most-recent Indiana vs. Minnesota odds, the Hoosiers are two-point favorites, down a half-point from where the line opened. The over-under, or total number of points oddsmakers think will be scored, is also down a half-point to 54. This is just the second meeting between the teams since 2008, so before you lock in any Minnesota vs. Indiana picks, see what SportsLine college football expert Emory Hunt has to say.

Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007. The former running back joined SportsLine in 2016 and has provided his followers with winning seasons in college and pro football. That's been especially true when picking Hoosiers games, winning his last four spread picks involving the team. 

That includes taking Iowa (-5.5) against Indiana in a 42-16 win two weeks ago, and going with Virginia (+6.5) in a 20-16 Indiana victory earlier this season. Anyone who followed his advice booked easy winners. 

Now, he has turned his attention to Friday's prime-time battle between these up-and-down clubs.

Hunt knows Indiana is just 1-4 in the Big Ten, but there is optimism after falling last week, 33-28, to Penn State

The offense has scored 21 to 28 points in four of its five conference games, led by its passing attack and sophomore QB Peyton Ramsey. He has had between 26 and 32 completions in all five Big Ten games, with eight TDs, six INTs, and an average of 276 yards per game.

Ramsey has been spread the ball around well too, with seven receivers grabbing at least 20 receptions and six compiling at least 200 yards. Junior Nick Westbrook has 25 catches for 322 yards. 

On defense, the Hoosiers have more INTs and tackles for loss compared to their opponents. Freshmen have been key contributors on defense as well. The team has at least one takeaway in every game, including INTs in seven contests. Of their 16 turnovers forced, 12 have been by freshmen.

But just because the Hoosiers can move the ball and play solid defense doesn't mean they'll stay within the spread on Friday.

Hunt also knows Minnesota opened the season with three non-conference wins, but since then has gone 0-4 in the Big Ten, including a brutal 53-28 loss at previously winless Nebraska last Saturday. 

The offense has rebounded after losing star RB Rodney Smith for the season in Week 2. Freshman Mohamed Ibrahim showcase his potential when he ran for 157 yards and two TDs against Ohio State. He's averaging 5.2 yards per carry. 

Minnesota starting QB Zack Annexstad was injured against Nebraska, and his status for Friday night is undisclosed. In his stead, Tanner Morgan threw for 214 yards on 11-of-16 passing against the Huskers. Whoever the QB is, he'll face a Hoosiers defense that ranks 70th against the run and 74th against the pass. 

We can tell you Hunt is leaning over, but he has unearthed the critical x-factor that causes one side of the spread to hit hard. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine. 

Who covers in Indiana vs. Minnesota? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump on Friday, from an accomplished handicapper who is 4-0 in picks involving the Hoosiers.