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Betting the Big Ten: Week 6

Drew Hallett’s Big Ten picks against the spread have been on fire the past four weeks. See what he has in store for Week 6.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If this is your first time reading this series, you’ve been missing out on the money train.

Last Week’s Results

Pick: Under 40 | Score: Northwestern 38, Iowa 31 | Result: L
Pick: Ohio State -38.5 | Score: Ohio State 58, Rutgers 0 | Result: W
Pick: Maryland -10 | Score: Maryland 50, Purdue 7 | Result: W
Pick: Illinois +21 | Score: Nebraska 31, Illinois 16 | Result: W
Pick: Minnesota +3 | Score: Penn State 29, Minnesota 26 | Result: D
Pick: Indiana +7 | Score: Indiana 24, Michigan State 21 | Result: W
Pick: Under 44 | Score: Michigan 14, Wisconsin 7 | Result: W

Last Week’s Record: 5-1-1
Season Record: 22-19-2 (53.5%)

I’m above .500 for the first time this season, but that is impressive when you consider that I was 2-8 in Week 1. In the four weeks since, my picks have been 20-11-2 (63.6%), and I haven’t had a losing record in any of those weeks. This is my contribution to you:

Time to contribute some more.

This Week’s Picks

Byes/FCS Opponents: #12 Nebraska; Northwestern; #11 Wisconsin

Maryland at Penn State

Line: Maryland -1 | O/U: 58

Penn State needed a last-second field goal in regulation and overtime to squeak out a draw against the spread in its game against Minnesota last week. If the Nittany Lions had won by fewer than three points or lost altogether, they would have been 1-8 against the spread in their last nine games rather than 1-7-1. Either way, not great, and it’s difficult to trust that this team will cover the spread, especially given their injuries. Despite this, I was surprised to see that Maryland was a road favorite at Happy Valley. The Terrapins looked great in their 50-7 win against Purdue (who doesn’t?), but they still have not faced much competition. This will be their toughest game of the season yet by far. Yet, Maryland still is the favorite, which tells me Vegas knows something.

Pick: Maryland -1

Iowa at Minnesota

Line: Iowa -1.5 | O/U: 51.5

Something is terribly wrong with this Iowa team. In the last three weeks, the Hawkeyes have lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern and needed four quarters to beat Rutgers by seven points. Now they must face a solid Minnesota team on the road. The Gophers are 3-1 (very close to 4-0) and shine in S&P+’s efficiency stats on both sides of the ball (23rd on Offense; 12th on Defense). Where the Gophers tend to struggle are in the explosiveness metrics (115th on Offense; 120th on Defense), and Iowa is not a team that is built to capitalize on that, particularly with the loss of Matt VandeBerg at wideout. Iowa’s slide continues as Minnesota beats them with methodical football.

Pick: Minnesota +1.5

BYU at Michigan State

Line: Michigan State -6 | O/U: 50

Last week, Vegas had Michigan State as a seven-point favorite over Indiana, while S&P+ projected the Hoosiers would win by three. Indiana won by three. This week, Vegas has MSU as a six-point favorite over BYU, while S&P+ projects the Cougars will will by two. I’m not saying BYU will win by two, but I trust S&P+’s take on the Spartans more.

Pick: BYU +6

Purdue at Illinois

Line: Illinois -10.5 | O/U: 54

Even the Earth is done with Purdue football.

Pick: Illinois -10.5

Indiana at #2 Ohio State

Line: Ohio State -29 | O/U: 61.5

Ohio State is 4-0 against the spread this season, and the Buckeyes have covered all four of those spreads by at least 16.5 points. I’ll keep taking the Buckeyes until that ends.

Pick: Ohio State -29

#4 Michigan at Rutgers

Line: Michigan -28 | O/U: 53

Rutgers scored just seven points in its first two Big Ten games and mustered only 107 yards against Ohio State last week. This has led to the Scarlet Knights ranking 108th in scoring offense, 119th in yards per play, and 114th in Offensive S&P+. Now they have to take on what clearly has been the nation’s best defense so far this season via S&P+ without their only true explosive threat in Janarion Grant. This may be Michigan’s first road game of the season, but it won’t matter because Rutgers may not tally one point.

Pick: Michigan -28