Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s Big 10 betting lines. I cannot believe it is already Week 8 in the season. It is going by way too fast. Slow down just a little!
I went 3-3 last week (and was one point away from Michigan/Indiana hitting the over) so now my overall record is 35-26. Play along this week and see how we do!
Byes: Ohio State, Nebraska
Illinois at Minnesota
Line: Minnesota -14; O/U: 48.5
This has (explicit) show of the week written all over it.
Illinois lost to Rutgers last week by 11 points. Step aside, Rutgers, because you have officially been dethroned as worst team in the Big 10.
Minnesota lost a close game to Michigan State last weekend, so this should be a nice bounce-back game for P.J. Fleck and company. If it wasn’t obvious enough until this point, I’m heavily picking against Illinois.
Pick: Minnesota -14
Indiana at No. 18 Michigan State
Line: Michigan State -7; O/U: 44.5
Are the Spartans on upset alert this weekend?!?!?!
(Probably not, but Sparty Off! I’m picking Indiana for the sheer helluvit)
Pick: Indiana +7
Purdue at Rutgers
Line: Purdue -8; O/U: 47.5
Even though the Boilermakers are only 3-3 on the season, they have looked much improved from recent years and have been able to hang with those three teams they lost to (Michigan, Louisville, Wisconsin).
Rutgers must feel on top of the world after winning a game last weekend, beating the Illinois Fighting Illini. I don’t think they should get too excited, though, because Purdue is as improved as any team in the conference this year. I think Purdue will win, but I’m not comfortable with picking the spread; I have a weird feeling Rutgers could keep this one close for a while. Instead, I will pick the over.
Pick: Over 47.5
Iowa at Northwestern
Line: Iowa -1; O/U: 48
This line has been fluctuating all week, but as of right now Vegas has it as Iowa favored by just one point. I actually checked the spread last night and it was a pick ‘em game, so Vegas really has no clue at this point how this game will go.
However, I think Northwestern wins outright. They handled Maryland quite easily last weekend, hung around with Penn State for one half and also gave Wisconsin a run for its money. Justin Jackson is one of my favorite running backs in the Big 10 and should provide the offensive spark the Wildcats will need to edge Iowa, who remains winless on the road in the Big 10 this season.
Pick: Northwestern +1
Maryland at No. 5 Wisconsin
Line: Wisconsin -24; O/U: 52.5
Maryland has been pretty bad lately, but Wisconsin has kept its first two Big 10 home games close.
It’s a lot of points to be favored by, but Wisconsin has the third best scoring offense in the Big 10 right now with 36.3 points per game scored. The Badgers also have the second best scoring defense by giving up just 13.3 points per game on average, and third best total defense.
Meanwhile, Maryland has the worst scoring defense by giving up 36.5 points per game on average. Maryland’s scoring offense is fourth in the Big 10 right now, but 114 of its 190 points scored came in the first two weeks. The Terps also rank dead last in total defense and 12th out of 14 in total offense. I’ll take the Badgers, but I would not be surprised if the Terps slightly cover.
Pick: Wisconsin -24
No. 19 Michigan at No. 2 Penn State
Line: Penn State -9.5; O/U: 42
This one is tough for me. I honestly have no idea what to expect from this game. Part of me thinks Michigan’s offense continues to turn things around and get some more big plays that lead to more points. But then the other part of me thinks the complete opposite. Ugh.
A lot of my colleagues are confident Michigan can get the W here, but I am not so sure. This is going to be a hard-nosed, classic Big 10 football game. And hard-nosed, classic Big 10 football games are always low scoring (see: Michigan/Wisconsin last season).
With that said, gimme the under.
Pick: Under 42