Trying to figure out who to pick in Alabama-LSU and a few of the other national games? You can find this week’s picks here.
Last week ATS: 5-6 (1-4 National, 4-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 55-61-3 (21-28-1 National, 34-33-2 B1G)
No. 8 Wisconsin (-7) v. Northwestern - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Even though they didn’t end up pulling out the victory last week, Northwestern has to be feeling good about themselves after making Ohio State sweat in Columbus. Now the Wildcats turn their attention to a Big Ten West clash with Nebraska, with both teams sitting a game behind Nebraska. Against Ohio State, the Wildcats got eight catches for 158 yards out of Austin Carr, but the wide receiver failed to score a touchdown, snapping a streak of six straight games in which he has reached the end zone.
Yet again Wisconsin was taken to overtime by a top 10 team, but unlike the Ohio State game a few weeks ago, the Badgers were able to pull out the victory. Wisconsin didn’t get much out of Corey Clement against the Cornhuskers, instead getting a season-high 120 yards out of running back Dare Ogunbowale. It might be tough for Carr to find any traction against the Badgers since Wisconsin has a strong secondary. Derrick Tindal and Sojourn Shelton both have 10 pass breakups.
In recent memory Evanston seems to Wisconsin’s kryptonite. The Badgers have lost their last four games at Northwestern, failing to register a win there since 1999. I don’t know if I’m fully convinced that Northwestern is able to extend that streak, but I do think the Wildcats end up covering the spread.
Northwestern 24, Wisconsin 20
Indiana (-14) v. Rutgers - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
While nothing is for certain, it really does look like Indiana will be going bowling for a second straight season. Not only do the Hoosiers get to play Rutgers this weekend, but they still get to play Purdue later this month. After rushing for 130 yards last week in the win over Maryland, Devine Redding should have another big day against a Rutgers defense that is giving up 260 rushing yards per game to opponents.
Rutgers gave Minnesota a run for their money a couple weeks ago with Giovanni Rescigno at quarterback, but I don’t think the Hoosiers let the Scarlet Knights hang around. The combination of Redding and quarterback Richard Lagow will be too much for Rutgers to handle.
Indiana 41, Rutgers 17
Michigan State (-7) v. Illinois - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNews
Michigan State has not only lost six straight games, but they just lost starting quarterback Brian Lewerke for the season to a leg injury. At least the Spartans showed a little fight against Michigan in the loss. The same can’t be said for Illinois who has looked terrible pretty much all year long. The Spartans snap their losing streak while adding to Lovie Smith’s woes in Champaign.
Michigan State 31, Illinois 21
Maryland v. No. 3 Michigan (-31) - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN
The Terrapins started off the season hot, winning D.J. Durkin’s first four games, but since then Maryland has come back down to earth, losing three of their last four. It looked like Maryland was well on their way to bowl eligibility, but now they’ll have to sweat it out with this game against Michigan, followed by tilts with Ohio State and Nebraska before the Terrapins get a reprieve with a game against Rutgers to close out the regular season.
Michigan was able to get a bit of revenge against Michigan State after what transpired last year in Ann Arbor, but they had a little more difficulty with the Spartans than many had anticipated. Running the football is what Maryland wants to do, but it’s hard to imagine the Terrapins getting much on the ground against a Michigan defense that is allowing just 111 yards per game on the ground.
One might think that Michigan might take their foot of the gas a little earlier in this one since the Wolverines are going up against former assistant coach D.J. Durkin, but then again Jim Harbaugh is certifiably insane. The one reason I think this stays within the number is because there will probably be a lot of running in this one, which could make taking the points a wise option here.
Michigan 38, Maryland 13
Purdue v. Minnesota (-17) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
This game seems like it’d be a perfect game for the Friday night broadcasts that the Big Ten is planning on doing starting next year. Just put this on Friday so the Big Ten can get what they want, but also we won’t feel bad at all if we don’t end up watching.
Purdue just got demolished by Penn State last week, while Minnesota had their way with Illinois. I feel like I keep going to well with counting on Purdue to cover the spread via late touchdowns from David Blough. Last week it didn’t work, but I could see it happening this week. Hopefully the Golden Gophers don’t jump out by too much to ruin my strategy here.
Minnesota 38, Purdue 24
Iowa v. No. 12 Penn State (-7) - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
After losing earlier in the year to Pitt and Michigan, it looked like James Franklin might be on the hot seat, but Penn State has really turned things around. The Nittany Lions have won four straight games, and are ranked 12th in the College Football Playoff rankings. After a sluggish start last week, Penn State blitzed Purdue in the second half and ended up winning by 38 points. Saquon Barkley set a career-high with 207 yards rushing against the Boilermakers in the lopsided victory.
If there is one area where Penn State has struggled this year it has been against the run, and that’s what Iowa does best on offense. Akrun Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr. are both in the top 10 in the Big Ten in rushing, so the duo could add to their totals. The Hawkeyes have had some success knocking off ranked Penn State teams in the last decade, beating the third-ranked Nittany Lions in Iowa City in 2008, and followed that up by beating a fifth-ranked Penn State team in State College in 2009.
Even though it’s very possible that Iowa could beat Penn State here, I just don’t see it happening. Penn State at home at night is just a whole different animal, which Ohio State found out a couple weeks ago. Iowa may keep things tight early, but in the end I think the Nittany Lions win by double digits.
Penn State 27, Iowa 17
No. 10 Nebraska v. No. 6 Ohio State (-17) - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
Mike Riley has really found some traction in his second year in Lincoln. Even with last week’s overtime loss at Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers have played some good football this year. The Nebraska defense is greatly improved, and is leading the nation with 15 interceptions. The offense is steadied by the senior leadership of Tommy Armstrong Jr. at quarterback, and receivers like Jordan Westerkamp and Stanley Morgan Jr. are players Ohio State can’t let get away from them.
Ohio State has been extremely frustrating over the last few weeks. First the Buckeyes were taken to overtime against Wisconsin, followed that up with a loss to Penn State, and last week barely got by Northwestern. Although, the Wildcats are a lot better team than some are giving them credit for.
The passing game for Ohio State lately has been awful, and it’s hard to see them getting on track against a strong Nebraska secondary. At least the Buckeyes have the luxury of using Mike Weber, Curtis Samuel, and J.T. Barrett to rush the football and possibly open things up for Barrett to make some throws and find some momentum. It certainly would help if the defense could get a few turnovers to give the offense a short field that could possibly help put some distance on the Cornhuskers.
Much like the Northwestern game, I think this spread is a little too high. It’s hard to back Ohio State laying more than two touchdowns against a talented Nebraska team. Of course it wouldn’t surprise me if the Buckeyes blew the Cornhuskers out of the water, especially with Nebraska playing their second road game in a row. I think Ohio State ends up winning a 10-14 game here.
Ohio State 33, Nebraska 21