Five Big Ten teams are on bye this week, including Michigan. So it should be a stress-free weekend for Wolverines fans — unless, of course, you have money riding on other games.
I’m here to help. Last week’s Big Ten picks went 3-2 with no huge misses — Iowa/Penn State beat the over by two points and Michigan missed covering a -3.5 spread by half a point. Now it’s time to run things back.
While Week 7 in the Big Ten won’t present as many high-profile matchups as Week 6, there’s still plenty of intrigue. Let’s get into it.
All times listed are Eastern, and all odds are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 10 Michigan State (-4.5) at Indiana, O/U 48.5 — 12 p.m., FS1
ESPN SP+ Projection: Michigan State 29-22, 67 percent win probability
Playing Indiana in Bloomington is usually a recipe for things to go crazy, but these don’t appear to be your Hoosiers of the last decade, let alone last season. They didn’t look remotely competitive against Penn State two weeks ago, and while a bye week might have solved some things, there’s only so much you can fix in one week with an offense averaging less than five yards per play.
This line feels generous towards Indiana, just as last week’s 4.5-point spread in Michigan State-Rutgers seemed to favor the Scarlet Knights. Bet on Kenneth Walker III and MSU to come through again.
Pick: Michigan State -4.5
Nebraska (-4) at Minnesota, O/U 48 — 12 p.m., ESPN2
ESPN SP+ Projection: Nebraska 27-27, 51 percent win probability
The Golden Gophers may have beaten Purdue two weeks ago, but were thoroughly outgained on offense and generally haven’t looked terribly impressive at any point this season. Colorado, who Minnesota shut out 30-0 in Boulder in September, is 1-4 now. If Nebraska plays up to its potential, it should cover the spread and more pretty handily. I’d expect the Huskers, after a third gut-wrenching loss to a ranked team, to really want to take some frustration out on Minnesota. We’ve already seen what that can look like: Nebraska beat Northwestern 56-7 on Oct. 2 and the Gophers aren’t significantly better than the Wildcats.
Pick: Nebraska -4
Rutgers (-2) at Northwestern, O/U 44.5 — 12 p.m., BTN
ESPN SP+ Projection: Rutgers 24-22, 54 percent win probability
After three straight losses to ranked opponents, this is a game the Scarlet Knights can and should win. Northwestern is allowing an average of 580 yards per game against Power 5 opponents, and Rutgers, which scored 61 points on less than 400 yards against Temple and forced seven combined turnovers against the Owls and at Syracuse, is a team that can score a few points without having to look all that great on offense.
Tickets for this one are going for as low as $5 right now, meaning that if you take Rutgers to cover, you could essentially attend this game for free.
Pick: Rutgers -2
Purdue at No. 2 Iowa (-11.5), O/U 43 — 3:30 p.m., ABC
ESPN SP+ Projection: Iowa 28-17, 73 percent win probability
I’d be wary of this line, as to me, it basically comes down to who Purdue starts at quarterback. Jack Plummer, who started the first four games of the season, hasn’t thrown an interception yet. Aidan O’Connell, who got the nod two weeks ago, has thrown five picks so far (O’Connell and Plummer rotated during the Boilermakers’ first four games). O’Connell threw for 371 yards against Minnesota, playing the entire way, and might have more upside than Plummer. But his more turnover-prone style doesn’t bode well against the Hawkeyes’ defense.
Plummer probably gives Purdue the better chance to cover, as Iowa’s offense needs good field position through turnovers to score. For now, I think the safest choice is the under, as the Boilermakers’ last three games have produced a combined 95 points.
Pick: Under 43
Army at Wisconsin (-14), O/U 39 — 8 p.m., BTN
ESPN SP+ Projection: Wisconsin 34-12, 90 percent win probability
SP+ remains committed to the Badgers, as it projected them to outscore their 10.5-point spread against Illinois by double that. It does nearly the same here against Army, but I have a bit more trouble believing in it — the Black Knights are 4-1 and are a much better team than the Illini, for one. Also, this game probably won’t feature more than six to eight possessions for either team, meaning there’s not going to be a lot of opportunity for either ground-and-pound offense to really pull away. Wisconsin could win this game by 14, but 22 feels like a stretch. Either way, I think this game’s going under.
Pick: Under 39