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Betting the Big Ten: Week 3

Another lackluster slate doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had.

NCAA Football: Indiana State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In Week Two, we hit on unders by the skin of our teeth as both the Illinois vs. Kansas game and the Rutgers vs. Temple matchup hit the under by just one point. Michigan and Wisconsin also each hit the under in their respective games as well. All-in-all, it was a good week for unders. Thank you, new clock rules.

Our biggest miss was easily Nebraska with the points against Colorado; turnovers have killed the Cornhuskers so far but there doesn’t seem to be an immediate fix in the near future.

In total we went 6-4 on the week. Let’s keep it rolling.

All lines are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Please bet responsibly.

Virginia at Maryland (-14.5), O/U 48, 7 p.m. (Friday)

Virginia has understandably had an emotional start to the football season. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers haven’t been able to notch their first win yet. Likewise, Maryland has started slow twice this season, but the Terps ended up winning comfortably both times. I just don’t see how Virginia can keep this game close.

The pick: Maryland -14.5

Penn State (-14.5) at Illinois, O/U 48.5, noon

This spread has my brain in a bit of a pretzel. I fully expected this to be at least 16.5, if not 20.5. Seeing Penn State only laying 14.5 makes me very nervous. By all accounts, Illinois has had a dreadful start to the season. The Illini escaped an upset bid from Toledo at home and then lost to Kansas. I’m not touching this spread, so I’ll take the over.

The pick: Over 48.5

Louisville (-10) at Indiana, O/U 50.5, noon

Is betting on Indiana a terrible idea? Probably. Am I going to do it anyways? Definitely. The Hoosier defense proved to be relatively stout against Ohio State. They’ve also covered in both of their first two games this year. I don’t believe in Indiana outright, but I expect the home team to keep this game close in an ugly rock fight.

The pick: Indiana +10

Georgia Southern at Wisconsin (-19), O/U 64, noon

Georgia Southern is coming off of a 49-35 shootout against UAB, leading many to believe that this is a high-flying offense. It may be that, but on principle I can’t take anything in the 60s when Wisconsin is involved. I know Luke Fickell is overhauling the offense, but it’s just too soon for me to believe that the Badgers can score enough for the over.

The pick: Under 64

Minnesota at North Carolina (-7.5), O/U 50.5, 3:30 p.m.

This is the most fascinating game on the slate this week to me. If the spread were UNC -6.5 I’d feel a lot better about this pick, but I have to go with the Tar Heels. Minnesota’s offense has looked thoroughly dreadful, but the Gopher defense has been okay. UNC has had thrilling wins against South Carolina and the school that shall not be named. I don’t necessarily know if UNC is a legitimate ACC contender this year, but I certainly have more confidence in the Tar Heels than I do Minnesota.

The pick: North Carolina -7.5

Northwestern at Duke (-19), O/U 48.5, 3:30 p.m.

Just last year these teams faced off with Duke winning 31-23. Since then it’s been quite a divergence between these two programs. Northwestern is not good; I won’t pretend that it is. However, I believe this spread is only as large as it is because of recency bias. The Wildcats won’t win, but 19 points is too many for me to be comfortable with Duke.

The pick: Northwestern +19

Western Michigan at Iowa (-28.5), O/U 42, 3:30 p.m.

I’ll keep this one short and sweet: Iowa can’t score over 28 points, let alone win by more than 28.

The pick: Western Michigan +28.5

Virginia Tech at Rutgers (-7), O/U 37.5, 3:30 p.m.

I said this last week, but I still don’t know what to make of this Virginia Tech team. The Hokies couldn’t get the job done against Purdue, but there’s still a talented team somewhere in there. Rutgers has hit the under twice and Virginia Tech has gone over once and under once. However, none of those over/unders have been as low as this.

The pick: Over 37.5

Western Kentucky at Ohio State (-29), O/U 64, 4 p.m.

Western Kentucky has a powerful offense led by Austin Reed, who already has 589 passing yards and six touchdowns. Ohio State has a relatively untested Kyle McCord. The key factor in this game for me is the WKU defense. Through two games, the Hilltoppers are 131st in rushing yards allowed but just 50th in passing yards allowed. OSU will lean into that and establish the run. With the new running clock rules, I like the under.

The pick: Under 64

Washington (-16) at Michigan State, O/U 55.5, 5 p.m.

Following the suspension of a head coach, teams tend to either rally around the interim coach or fall apart. My money is on the Spartans falling apart. Eighth-ranked Washington could not have been on the schedule at a worse time. This is MSU’s first of potentially four top-10 upset opportunities this year, but I don’t think this will be the one they pull off.

The pick: Washington -16

Northern Illinois at Nebraska (-11), O/U 43, 7 p.m.

Jeff Sims’ struggles have been out in the open for the world to see, primarily because Nebraska has somehow had two nationally televised games through two weeks. I would not be surprised to see Matt Rhule try out an additional quarterback or two to figure out the optimal starter for Nebraska. However, there’s a transition cost to trying out new quarterbacks mid-season.

The pick: Northern Illinois +11

Syracuse (-2.5) at Purdue, O/U 57.5, 7:30 p.m.

Purdue was favored in this game as recently as Sunday afternoon. Since then, this line has shifted dramatically towards the Orange for no discernable reason. Trends like that are always smart to follow.

The pick: Syracuse -2.5

Bowling Green at Michigan (-40.5), O/U 53.5, 7:30 p.m.

Michigan has been shockingly relaxed when it comes to sitting starters who are working through minor injuries so far this season. Maybe that’s because Jim Harbaugh hasn’t been coaching the games. More realistically, it’s likely because Michigan knows that style points mean next to nothing against a severely overmatched non-conference schedule. The Wolverines seem hell-bent on perfecting some new run plays and blocking schemes with mixed results so far. I don’t see that trend stopping. To me, that implies that Michigan will win comfortably, but it will feel slow and methodical as the ECU and UNLV games have gone.

The pick: Bowling Green +40.5