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Betting the Big Ten: Looking at Week 3’s spreads

Last week was rough but finished strong. Here’s to Week 3.

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

This piece is a little late this go-round for a variety of reasons, mostly from me licking my wounds from Week 2’s picks.

Last week started off brutally for me with a 1-3 mark in the 12 p.m. window of games with Michigan being the only one I got right. It was a nice rally down the stretch, but still a rough week overall. Here’s to a better third week.

Last week’s record: 7-8

Season overall: 15-15

Let’s get to it.

Saturday, Sept. 15

Kent State at No. 11 Penn State (-35), 12 p.m., Fox Sports 1

This is one final tuneup before Big Ten play starts. No drama in this pick.

Pick: Penn State (-35)

Rutgers at Kansas (-2.5), 12 p.m.

What a disgusting and unattractive matchup this game is between the two worst Power 5 teams in the country. Kansas took my Chippewas to the woodshed last week, but I still am not buying this one. Rutgers can’t be counted on for much, but for conference pride’s sake, I’m uttering a phrase that won’t happen the rest of the year.

I’m going with the Scarlett Knights to win.

Pick: Rutgers (+2.5)

Ball State at Indiana (-14), 12 p.m., Big Ten Network

I forsee a lot of laughers across the conference this week and have picked Indiana’s opponents to cover the first two games of the season. It’s time for a little love the way of the Hoosiers.

Pick: Indiana (-14)

Temple at Maryland (-16), 12 p.m., Big Ten Network

Maryland may not be great, but they are going to be good enough to be a pain in the ass to the rest of the B1G East this year despite some of the tragic circumstances that has plagued them. This spread seems low, but confident the Terrapins will cover.

Pick: Maryland (-16)

Troy at Nebraska, 12 p.m. (-11.5), Big Ten Network

Troy has gotten worked the first two games of the season and has given up 50-plus points in each of their losses. Nebraska has a QB problem on its hands with Adrian Martinez injured. He’s probably out, but I have faith in Scott Frost and potential starter Andrew Bunch.

Pick: Nebraska (-11.5)

BYU at No. 6 Wisconsin (-22), 3:30 p.m., ABC

I’m 0-2 when picking Wisconsin games so far this year. Will it be 0-3? We’ll see. I’ve got the Badgers here to cover.

Pick: Wisconsin (-22)

SMU at No. 19 Michigan (-35.5), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Truthfully, this has a shot to be an even bigger bloodbath than the Western game was, as evidenced by a spread that is eight points higher. Michigan is in for another laugher this week. It seems like a copout to pick so many of the favorites, but I have no idea how this isn’t a cover for Michigan unless they are sloppy.

Pick: Michigan (-35.5)

Miami (Ohio) at Minnesota (-13), 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Minnesota has been playing well and now welcomes a MAC opponent to the Twin Cities. Seeing as P.J. Fleck parlayed destroyed that conference on the reg into the job he has now, I expect more of the same.

Pick: Minnesota (-13)

South Florida (-10) at Illinois, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Call it a weird hunch or just the equivalent of picking a different answer on a multiple choice exam to avoid a pattern that doesn’t seem right, but I have the Illini covering in this game.

Pick: Illinois (+10)

Missouri (-6) at Purdue, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Will Purdue actually play up and take down an SEC opponent just a week after getting embarrassed by one of the worst-perceived football programs in America? They won’t win, but they will cover at home.

Pick: Purdue: (+6)

Northern Iowa at Iowa, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

I’m having a hard time finding a line for this game, but will make a pick as soon as it comes in.

Akron at Northwestern (-21.5), 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Another B1G-MAC crossover game. I’m down on the ‘Cats after losing to Duke, but this should be a comfortable win for them.

Pick: Northwestern (-21.5)

No. 4 Ohio State (-12.5) vs No. 15 TCU (AT&T Stadium in Dallas), 8 p.m., ABC

OSU has not been challenged at all this season on the field and while this is not a true road game, they still have to travel. A backdoor cover is certainly possible for them, but I think that TCU punches them in a mouth a bit. Buckeyes win a closer than predicted game.

Pick: TCU (+12.5)

National Games

No. 12 LSU at No. 7 Auburn (-10), 3:30 p.m., CBS

LSU is wildly overrated after beating another wildly overrated team in Miami (FL) a few weks back. I think this one has a chance to be a blowout.

Pick: Auburn (-10)

No. 17 Boise State at No. 24 Oklahoma State (-2.5), 3:30 p.m., ESPN

BSU is supposedly supposed to be the Group of Five team that pushes for a playoff spot this year. I’m inclined to believe in that hype until I see otherwise and this is a game teams like that need to win.

Pick: Boise State (+2.5)

No. 22 USC at Texas (-3.5), 8 p.m., FOX

You can lump these two in as national powers that have been anything but that in the last decade or so along with Michigan. The loser of this game will be 1-2 and the fanbase will start to freak about the future of the program, a lot like what was going to be the case after the result of the Michigan-Notre Dame game few weeks ago. I happen to think the Longhorns will wind up being those losers.

Pick: USC (+3.5)