Last week ATS: 4-7 (3-3 National, 1-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 30-49 (10-20 National, 20-29 B1G)
Trying to find my picks for the national games and then fade them and profit? Get my picks for six of the Saturday’s best national games here.
Maryland v. No. 15 Michigan (-17.5) - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
Michigan hasn’t played all that great in odd weeks so far this season, and has absolutely crushed the competition in even weeks. Last week the Wolverines struggled with an undermanned Northwestern team, but somehow avoided the upset. Now, as Michigan heads back to Ann Arbor, they’ll be taking on a Maryland team that has been even more schizophrenic than the Wolverines so far this year.
After laying a savage beating on Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, Maryland had a week off to prepare for the Wolverines. Even with the bye week, I keep thinking about how bad the Terrapins looked against Temple. If the Owls can lay waste to Maryland in College Park, imagine what the Wolverines are going to do. Jim Harbaugh will have his team ready after a subpar effort last week.
Michigan 45, Maryland 17
Northwestern v. No. 20 Michigan State (-10) - 12:00 PM EST - FS1
Had it not been for the first and fourth quarters last week, Michigan State would have covered. The Spartans outscored Central Michigan 31-0 in the middle of the game, but allowed the Chippewas to score their 20 points in the first and last quarters. Even though the Spartans won last Saturday, they suffered a big loss when leading receiver Cody White suffered a broken hand.
Northwestern played their first game without running back Jeremy Larkin, and somehow almost scored the upset over Michigan. The Wildcats jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but couldn’t make it stick. Northwestern was able to only put up just over 200 yards of total offense against the Wolverines, and it is tough to see them doing a whole lot this week.
Michigan State hasn’t looked good for most of the season, but they are still one of the better teams in the Big Ten. At some point things are going to start to click for the Spartans. While I don’t think everything is going to be fixed immediately in East Lansing, I think they start to show some improvement against a Northwestern team that left everything on the table last week in their upset attempt of Michigan.
Michigan State 31, Northwestern 14
Illinois (-6) v. Rutgers - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Oh sweetie, no. Don’t watch this.
Illinois 24, Rutgers 13
Iowa (-7) v. Minnesota - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
After suffering their first losses of the season two weeks ago, both Iowa and Minnesota had a week off to lick their wounds. Now these rivals will do battle in Minneapolis for the magical pig, Floyd of Rosedale.
The biggest question I have in this game is where the are the Golden Gophers going to find their points. Minnesota is starting a true freshman at quarterback against a tough Iowa defense. Last time out Zack Annexstad completed just 14 of his 32 passes and threw two interceptions. It isn’t like Annexstad has much to lean on in the running game either, as running back Rodney Smith is out for the year.
Iowa has won the last three meetings with Minnesota, but each of those games have been decided by seven points or less. I think the Hawkeyes put a little distance on the Golden Gophers this year. I’ll take veteran quarterback Nate Stanley to get the job done, and it doesn’t hurt that he won’t have to deal with Antoine Winfield Jr., who Minnesota lost to foot surgery.
Iowa 23, Minnesota 10
Nebraska v. No. 16 Wisconsin (-17.5) - 7:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
Wisconsin is overrated and Nebraska is just plain bad. Something has to give here. After a tough win at Iowa, Wisconsin had last week off to prepare for whatever junk Nebraska is going to try to throw at them. While the Badgers aren’t nearly as good as many were thinking they’d be this year, Jonathan Taylor is still a workhorse. The sophomore running back has rushed for 628 yards and five touchdowns through four games this year.
Last week I thought the Cornhuskers might be able to hang with Purdue. Boy, was I wrong. As if things weren’t already bad enough for Scott Frost and Nebraska, now they have to go to Madison, a place where they haven’t won since 1966.
I know this is a terrible strategy for picking this game, but I figure since I’ve taken so many favorites so far, I have to find at least one underdog to pick somewhere. At least quarterback Adrian Martinez and running back Devine Ozigbo have shown the ability to move the football at times this year. The Badgers haven’t really blown anyone out this year, which makes me feel a little better about siding with the Cornhuskers. Wisconsin wins but the final score will stay within 17 points.
Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 23
Indiana v. No. 3 Ohio State (-26.5) - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
So far this year I’ve picked Ohio State to cover in every game. The strategy has worked more times than not, and even in the TCU and Penn State games the Buckeyes have been just a few points off the number. This week feels like a good time to switch things up a little bit.
Ohio State comes into this game off of an emotional one-point win against Penn State. Remember what happened last year the week after the Buckeyes won by a point against Penn State? Of course you don’t because the Ohio State-Iowa game was cancelled by some sort of national emergency and never made up.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to make you think that Indiana is going to beat Ohio State on Saturday. That’s just crazy talk. But, I feel the Hoosiers could keep things a little closer than many are expecting. Indiana didn’t exactly light Rutgers up last week in a 24-17 win, but the Hoosiers are still 4-1 on the season. Tom Allen’s team has played some solid football, and they do have some pieces that I could see making plays against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is a little banged up heading into this game. Mike Weber has been struggling with a foot injury, and we all know Nick Bosa likely won’t be available for at least another month. Safety Isaiah Pryor will miss the first half of Saturday’s game due to a targeting penalty he committed in the second half of last week’s game, leaving a position that has struggled a lot this year to look for more answers.
I can see Ohio State keeping things pretty simple over the next couple of weeks. With Minnesota on deck next, Ohio State knows that they don’t exactly have to be at the top of their game to win comfortably against those teams. Expect the Buckeyes to try and work on some of the areas they have struggled with so far this year, with the goal of tightening them up before the meatier part of their schedule in November. This could mean more running of the football for Ohio State on Saturday, since they’ve had a hard time getting that aspect of their offense going for most of the year.
With Ohio State spending so much energy in last week’s comeback win over Penn State, we could see the Buckeyes take a little time to get going. The Buckeyemobile won’t hit top speed against the Hoosiers, but they’ll still win by 2-3 touchdowns on Saturday afternoon in Columbus.
Ohio State 41, Indiana 20