Last week ATS: 11-4 (6-2 National, 5-2 B1G)
Season ATS: 81-59-3 (39-29 National, 42-30-3 B1G)
If this week’s Big Ten action isn’t enough for you, check out picks for Oklahoma-Baylor and six other national contests.
(All lines courtesy of Draftkings sportsbook.)
No. 6 Michigan (-1) v. Penn State - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
I know Penn State has had their issues this year, losing three-straight games before getting back in the win column last week against Maryland. I just don’t know if Michigan is ready to go into Happy Valley and beat a quality team like Penn State. The Wolverines did go to Madison and beat Wisconsin when the Badgers were pretty much at their low point of the season, but they fell a few weeks ago in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Sean Clifford got back on track last week, throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns against the Terrapins. Even though the Wolverines are going to give Clifford more trouble than the Maryland defense did, it’s not like Clifford hasn’t seen a defense like Michigan’s before. Also, it’s not like Michigan has seen a receiver like Jahan Dotson so far this season.
I feel like Michigan is a little overrated. They have a great defense, I just don’t know if I can trust Cade McNamara in a game that could turn into a shootout. James Franklin has gotten the better of Jim Harbaugh lately, winning three of their last four meetings. The Nittany Lions send the Wolverines tumbling out of the CFP top-10, handing Michigan their second loss in the last three games.
Penn State 27, Michigan 20
Northwestern v. No. 18 Wisconsin (-24) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Northwestern is giving up 224 yards per game rushing, and hasn’t scored more than 14 points in a game in their last three games. I would love to hear anyone’s reasoning for why they think the Wildcats are going to stay anywhere close to the Badgers in this one. Wisconsin just beat Rutgers 52-3, and I respect Rutgers more than I respect Northwestern.
The Badgers have only given up a combined 37 points over the last five games. Wisconsin wins their sixth-straight game, kicking the stuffing out of Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern.
Wisconsin 45, Northwestern 7
Rutgers v. Indiana (-7) - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network
When I look at these two teams, I feel like they are pretty much even. Both have solid defenses and nothing much to speak of at quarterback. Things would be different if Indiana had a healthy Michael Penix Jr. or even Jack Tuttle. Instead, Donaven McCulley took the snaps last week. Noah Vedral at least has some experience, and while he won’t win the game for you, he also knows how not to lose a game.
This isn’t as much siding with Rutgers as it is going against Indiana as a touchdown favorite. The Hoosiers already have seven losses, so I can’t really see what they have to play for since they can’t become bowl eligible, while Rutgers still has a shot at getting the two more wins needed to earn bowl eligibility. Schiano and the Scarlet Knights reach into their bag of tricks to squeak out a victory.
Rutgers 21, Indiana 17
Minnesota v. No. 20 Iowa (-4.5) - 3:30 PM EST - Big Ten Network
If Kirk Ferentz had any sense at all, he’d start Alex Padilla at quarterback on Saturday. Padilla isn’t going to throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, but he at least injects a little fresh blood into an Iowa offense that definitely needs a spark. It’s not like Spencer Petras was going to turn things around anyway. With Padilla finding a little success through the air, the rushing attack of the Hawkeyes was also able to find some room against Northwestern.
Minnesota gave P.J. Fleck a shiny new contract extension, and the Golden Gophers go out and lose to Illinois 14-6. Money well spent! I mean it might be tough to blame Minnesota after seeing their now third running back lost for the season the week before. Then again, it’s not like it would matter who lines up at running back for the Golden Gophers this week, since the Hawkeyes are giving up less than 100 yards per game rushing.
Iowa has won six-straight games against the Golden Gophers. There’s nothing that I have seen lately to make me think that Minnesota is going to regain ownership of Floyd of Rosedale. Right now the Hawkeyes and Golden Gophers each have a 4-2 record in the Big Ten West, but I feel like they are headed in opposite directions.
Iowa 23, Minnesota 13
Maryland v. No. 7 Michigan State (-12) - 4:00 PM EST - FOX
Normally I might think Michigan State’s loss would lead to more losses for the Spartans. I don’t think this season is going to spiral out of control because of the loss to Purdue... at least not for another week. Michigan State knows that they still have a shot at winning the Big Ten East, so they’ll at least be on top of their game this week.
Maryland just saw Aidan O’Connell and David Bell ruin Michigan State’s perfect season. Unfortunately, Taulia Tagovailoa doesn’t have a David Bell to throw the football to. Michigan State has all kinds of weapons on offense. Not only will the Terrapins fail to slow down Kenneth Walker III, Peyton Thorne should be able to throw for at least 250 yards and a couple touchdowns. This game will play out a lot like the Penn State-Maryland game, where Maryland might hang around for a bit before the Spartans pull away in the second half.
Michigan State 38, Maryland 21
No. 19 Purdue v. No. 4 Ohio State (-21) -3:30 PM EST - ABC
Right about now, Ohio State fans would be happy for the Buckeyes to win by a single point, let alone 21 points. Even though it was back in 2018, Purdue’s destruction of Ohio State is still fresh in the minds of Buckeye Nation. The good news for Ohio State is they have Ryan Day as their head coach instead of Urban Meyer, who was prone to games like the Purdue tragedy where it looked like he did no preparation for his opponent.
The Buckeyes don’t come into this game without concerns, though. Last week saw Ohio State rush for just 90 yards against Nebraska, which was their lowest total since 2018 against Purdue. The offensive line was out of sorts from the start of the game since Dawand Jones couldn’t start because of an illness. Even though Ohio State has an incredible collection of talent on the offensive line, for some reason it just didn’t click against the Cornhuskers.
Another missing piece for the Buckeyes against Nebraska was Garrett Wilson, who was in concussion protocol. Jaxon Smith-Njigba took advantage of the expanded role, setting a school record with 15 catches. With Smith-Njigba riding high after the great performance against Nebraska, it will be interesting to see how the triple threat of talented receivers operates against Purdue.
Ohio State pretty much knows they won’t have to worry about the Purdue rushing attack on Saturday, since the Boilermakers barely even attempt to run the football. What the Buckeye defense will have to worry about is David Bell. While Rondale Moore decimated Ohio State in 2018, Bell is more of a possession receiver. The Buckeyes can live with what Bell did against Nebraska, where he caught nine passes for 74 yards. What they can’t let happen is the 11 catch, 200+-yard games that he posted against Iowa and Michigan State.
The weather doesn’t sound like it’s going to be great in Columbus on Saturday, which could slow down some of the scoring. Ohio State wins, they just don’t win by three touchdowns. Buckeye fans don’t have to sweat things like last week against Nebraska, Purdue just won’t let Ohio State run away with the game.
Ohio State 37, Purdue 24