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Betting the Big Ten: Here’s what the slip looks like for Week 1

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Welcome back, degenerates.

Michigan v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Welcome back to Betting the Big Ten. The conference officially returned to college football action on Friday night with Wisconsin’s win at Illinois. The rest of us are preparing for a long day of the ridiculous teams in this ridiculous conference making their 2020 debuts. Some of you might be looking to throw some money down on these games, especially now that sports gambling is legal in the state of Michigan.

With that in mind, let’s start fresh and try and make you a little extra pocket change this football season. Given my line of work, I don’t bet college games, but this piece reflects what I would do in your situation.

Record last week: N/A

Record so far this year: 1-0

All times Eastern, odds via Vegas Insider Consensus

Friday night — Illinois at Wisconsin (-20.5), O/U 51.5

In what was not a great start to the year for me, I forgot about Friday games when I had this piece put into the content plan. However, I did take to Twitter to make a pick for this game and you can check the timestamps on that.

Wisconsin would win the game by a score of 45-7 led by five touchdown passes from redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz. For the purposes of this piece, we have ourselves our first victory of the season.

Pick: Over 51.5

Rutgers at Michigan State (-11), O/U 44.5 — 12 p.m., Big Ten Network

This is as fascinated as I can possibly be between two teams who could potentially be the worst in the Big Ten East this year. We know what Rutgers is, but the arrow might slightly be pointing upward after re-hiring the only coach that’s done anything for them in the modern era in Greg Schiano. Mel Tucker also has his work cut out for him in year one at MSU. Could MSU get caught looking ahead to the Halloween tilt at Michigan? It’s all something to watch, but I like the Spartans here to win and cover in a way that might at least raise an eyebrow somewhere in Ann Arbor ahead of next week.

Pick: MSU (-11)

Nebraska at No. 5 Ohio State (-26.5), O/U 68 — 12 p.m., FOX

The Big Ten’s newest football bromance manifests itself on the field on Saturday, but I do not think anybody is expecting the Buckeyes to be very cordial about it. Nebraska was no doubt done dirty by the conference in the way the schedule was set up, but I don’t think you’ll find a whole lot of people that are going to feel sorry for them.

Pick: Over 68

Iowa (-3.5) at Purdue, O/U 52.5 — 3:30 p.m. Big Ten Network

I was ready to pull the trigger on the Boilermakers as one of my sleepers in the Big Ten West this year, but the news that wide receiver Rondale Moore will not play really hurts their chances in this game. I still see this being a tight game, but without Moore and head coach Jeff Brohm (COVID positive, will miss game), the Hawkeyes are the pick.

Pick: Iowa (-3.5)

No. 8 Penn State (-6) at Indiana, O/U 61.5 — 3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Aside from Michigan-Minnesota, this might be the most interesting game on the slate this week. Can Indiana build on one of the best seasons in recent program history or will it be another heartbreaking close, but no cigar loss to one of the Big Ten’s elite? We’re double-dipping in this game because I’m feeling saucy.

Pick: Indiana (+6) AND under 61.5

Maryland at Northwestern (-11), O/U 53.5 — 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

I am buying the Northwestern rebound hype coming into this season with Indiana grad transfer QB Peyton Ramsey and a new offensive coordinator in Mike Bajakian. I think they make a statement in the other primetime game on Saturday night.

Pick: Northwestern (-11)

No. 18 Michigan (-3.5) at No. 21 Minnesota, O/U 53.5 — 7:30 p.m, ABC

The only thing I think I know about this game is that were are going to see some points put on the board by both teams. I know the whether might wind up being a factor, but my prediction is that the country is in for a bit of a show on Saturday night with the Little Brown Jug on the line. Let’s get weird.

Pick: Over 53.5