Last week ATS: 5-6-1 (2-4 National, 3-2-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 52-44-2 (20-17 National, 32-27-2 B1G)
Big Ten picks not enough for you? Find picks for five of Saturday’s most intriguing national games here.
Maryland v. No. 5 Wisconsin (-24) - 12:00 PM EST - FOX
Last week Wisconsin jumped out to a 17-3 lead in the second quarter over Purdue, but then everything went stagnant for the Badgers, who didn’t score the rest of the way in the 17-9 win. Jonathan Taylor recorded his second straight game with over 200 yards rushing, finishing with 219 yards against the Boilermakers.
The good news for Maryland is that they didn’t have any quarterbacks get injured last week. Max Bortenschlager didn’t play bad, especially for someone who came into the season as the third string quarterback, but he’s just not as dynamic as Tyrrell Pigrome or even Kasim Hill.
Saturday likely won’t be very fun for Bortenschlager and the rest of the Maryland offense, as they’ll be going up against a Wisconsin defense that has only give up more than 20 points once this season. Taylor eclipses 1,000 rushing yards for the season as the Badgers have little trouble with the Terrapins.
Wisconsin 51, Maryland 17
Iowa (-1.5) v. Northwestern - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
While both teams were able to snap two-game losing streaks last time out, Iowa comes into this week’s game coming off a bye week. The Hawkeyes struggled a bit early against Illinois two weeks ago, before pulling away from the Fighting Illini with a 21-point fourth quarter.
After losing to Wisconsin and Penn State, Northwestern regained a little confidence last week against Maryland. Justin Jackson put together his best game of the season, rushing for 171 yards and two touchdowns against the Terrapins.
Nathan Stanley has put together a fine season, throwing for 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and he should have another strong game on Saturday. The combination of Stanley and Akrum Wadley will win out over Northwestern’s combination of Clayton Thorson and Jackson.
Iowa 30, Northwestern 20
Purdue (-9.5) v. Rutgers - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Rutgers got a Big Ten win! I don’t know if you can call it a whole win since it only came against Illinois, but at least something good happened for Chris Ash. The former Ohio State co-defensive coordinator better savor the win though, because it’s hard to see any more coming this year.
Purdue at least kept things close against Wisconsin last week, creating three turnovers and blocking a punt. Other than that there wasn’t much to compliment the Boilermakers on. Even with the loss, it’s easy to tell Purdue is on the right track under Jeff Brohm.
It looks like Elijah Sindelar has gotten the keys at quarterback for the Boilermakers, and I think he’ll be able to gain some confidence against the Scarlet Knights. Even though Rutgers has played better defense this year, Brohm puts together a game plan that earns the Boilers a double-digit win.
Purdue 34, Rutgers 21
Indiana v. No. 18 Michigan State (-7) - 3:30 PM EST - ABC
Well this game just got a lot more interesting to try and predict. L.J. Scott looked like he had turned his season around last week with 194 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 30-27 Michigan State win at Minnesota. Then yesterday it was announced Scott had been arrested for driving with a suspended license, his seventh driving charge in less than two years. If Scott is disciplined by Mark Dantonio, it will leave quarterback Brian Lewerke as the team’s active leading rusher this season.
Indiana has to be gutted after last week’s game against Michigan. The Hoosiers headed to overtime with a shot at snapping a 21-game losing streak to the Wolverines, but Karan Higdon’s touchdown run on the first play of overtime was the difference. At least Tom Allen learned the toughness of quarterback Peyton Ramsey in the loss, as the redshirt freshman hung in there despite taking a lot of punishment from a tough Michigan defense.
Last year in Bloomington, the Hoosiers snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Spartans with a 24-21 overtime win. I think the Spartans gut out a win, but Indiana’s defense keeps things close until the end.
Michigan State 23, Indiana 20
Illinois v. Minnesota (-14) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
At this point it doesn’t really matter what the spread is, just pick against Illinois. I feel like we think we know how bad the Fighting Illini are, but in reality they are much worse because our brains aren’t that twisted.
Minnesota really needs a win here if they want to keep their hopes of bowl eligibility alive. With road contests at Iowa, Michigan, and Northwestern, along with home games against Nebraska and Wisconsin, it’s hard to find three wins if the Golden Gophers don’t beat Illinois on Saturday. Minnesota has little trouble with a putrid Illinois team, and snaps a three-game losing streak.
Minnesota 34, Illinois 10
No. 19 Michigan v. No. 2 Penn State (-10) - 7:30 PM EST - ABC
Penn State has revenge on their mind after losing to Michigan 49-10 in Ann Arbor last year. All the Nittany Lions have done since losing to the Wolverines is win 15 out of 16 games, with the only loss during that span coming to USC in the Rose Bowl.
After having their bye week last week, there’s no doubt Penn State will be fresh coming into Saturday night’s game in Happy Valley. Saquon Barkley is in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race, and a big performance against the Wolverines in primetime would boost the junior running back’s case for the golden stiff arm.
Barkley will have his work cut out for him against Michigan’s defense, which is giving up just 223 yards of offense to opponents per game. If it wasn’t for the Wolverine defense, who knows what sort of trouble Michigan might be in right now, because their offense has done next to nothing since Wilton Speight went down with an injury.
The lone bright spot for Michigan on offense lately has been the running game. Last week Karan Higdon set a career high with 200 yards and three touchdowns in the overtime win at Indiana. If Michigan can get Higdon and Ty Issac going against the Nittany Lions, it will take a lot of pressure off of quarterback John O’Korn.
Taking Penn State seems a little too easy here. In Michigan’s four losses since the start of the 2016 season, they have been a combined nine points. Michigan will force Trace McSorley into a couple turnovers to help keep things close. The Nittany Lions win, but I don’t think they’ll do so by double-digits.
Penn State 27, Michig