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Betting the Big Ten Week 1: Picks, spreads and more

There are some big games on the docket for this weekend.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Wisconsin at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College football season is officially upon us, this bringing back the return of our gambling series here at Maize n Brew. Each week, we will go through every game in the Big Ten and give you the best play from each game.

These are for entertainment purposes only, of course. It’s fun to keep track of how wrong I am and how much money I hypothetically stand to make or lose during the season. We more or less broke even last year with our fake money, which is about all you can ask for outside of a win.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

All odds via FanDuel


No. 4 Ohio State (-13.5) at Minnesota, O/U 62.5 points — 8 p.m., FOX

I think Minnesota has the goods to turn this into a bit of a rock fight. OSU is going to have some growing pains at QB and on defense. I’m not brave enough to pick them for the upset, but I’m targeting the point total in this game.

Pick: Under 62.5


Michigan State at Northwestern (-3), O/U 45.5 — 9 p.m., ESPN

Northwestern is due for a down year after winning the Big Ten West last year and I can’t shake this gut feeling that the first full year of the Mel Tucker era will start with a victory for MSU.

Pick: MSU +3


No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin (-5.5), O/U 49.5 — 12 p.m., FOX

This is about as good a Week 1 matchup that the Big Ten could provide from a crossover game standpoint. Wisconsin will get the job done on Saturday, but I like the over in this one in what could be a bit of a shootout.

Pick: Over 49.5

Temple at Rutgers (-14.5), O/U 52— 12 p.m., BTN

The best value bet in this game is probably the under (-115 at last check), but Rutgers (yes, Rutgers) should be good enough to cover this spread. Their upward trajectory of Big Ten pest should continue this season.

Pick: Rutgers -14.5

Western Michigan at Michigan (-16.5), O/U 67.5 — 12 p.m., ESPN

Michigan wants to get out to a fast start to this season and a MAC opponent should allow them to do that. It’s the defense that provides the most intrigue going into this game. WMU can put up points, but I foresee a bit of a statement in the first game of the Mike Macdonald era.

Pick: Under 67.5

No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa (-3.5), O/U 45.5 — 3:30 p.m., BTN

This is another ranked Big Ten game that provides a ton of intrigue in Week 1. It should also be a tight and entertaining contest throughout. This would have been a snoozefest a few seasons ago, but I think both offenses will go back and forth and eclipse that over somewhat comfortably.

Pick: Over 45.5

West Virginia (-2.5) at Maryland, O/U 56.5 — 3:30 p.m., ESPN

The hype behind this Maryland team is a bit much being that they are led by a head coach that is 8-40 in his career. They did some interesting things in a weird COVID season, but will remind us in Week 1 why they are Maryland.

Pick: WVU -2.5

Oregon State at Purdue (-7), O/U 68.5 — 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1

For as much hot seat talk as there has been across the Big Ten for other coaches, Jeff Brohm does not seem to get a ton of it. This is a really important year for the Boilermakers in terms of getting back to a bowl-caliber product. They should be able to get the win at home, but I like the Beavers to cover.

Pick: Oregon State +7

Note: Fordham at Nebraska and UTSA at Illinois are off the board this week.