Last week ATS: 6-6 (2-3 B1G, 4-3 National)
Season ATS: 52-60-3 (26-31-1 B1G, 26-28-2 National)
Supplement these Big Ten picks with yesterday’s National picks for Syracuse-Clemson and six other interesting games.
(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)
Indiana v. Rutgers (-3) - 12:00 p.m. - Big Ten Network
Anyone watching this game is going to need to take a shower after this one. Rutgers can’t move the football and the Hoosiers have problem stopping opposing offenses. Something has gotta give!
The Scarlet Knights come into this game on a three-game losing streak, falling to Iowa, Ohio State, and Nebraska. In those games, Rutgers has scored a combined 33 points. It feels like Greg Schiano is almost trying to get too hipster for his own good with what his team is trying to do on offense, rotating quarterbacks almost every play, and sometimes even having the tight end that used to be a quarterback line up behind center.
Much like Rutgers, Indiana comes in riding a losing streak. The Hoosiers have lost four in a row, but at least they have been competitive, hanging with Michigan for a half, and last week at least making Maryland work. Even though Indiana is a mess on defense, I’m just not sure if Rutgers has the tools on offense to take advantage of it. I’ll take Indiana since Connor Bazelak has shown he is somewhat competent at times.
Indiana 24, Rutgers 20
Purdue v. Wisconsin (-2.5) - 3:30 p.m. - ESPN
Just when you think you have Wisconsin figured out, they do something stupid like lose to Michigan State in double overtime. A week after Graham Mertz threw for five touchdowns, the Badger quarterback turned back into a pumpkin last week, throwing for just 131 yards and a couple touchdowns against one of the worst passing defenses in the country.
Purdue hasn’t been winning pretty recently, but they are winning, and that’s all that matters. The Boilermakers held off Nebraska last week, beating the Cornhuskers 43-37 behind 391 yards and four touchdowns from Aidan O’Connell, as well as 178 yards and a score from running back Devin Mockobee. Purdue is now tied with Illinois for the lead in the Big Ten West, with the teams scheduled to meet next month in Champaign.
The Boilermakers haven’t beaten Wisconsin since 2003. If there was ever a year for Purdue to snap their 16-game losing streak to the Badgers, this feels like the year. Wisconsin feels a bit lost after the firing of Paul Chryst. Jim Leonhard had a nice first two games as interim head coach, but the shine wore off a bit last week with the loss to the Spartans. O’Connell, Mockobee, and Charlie Jones hand the Badgers their fifth loss of the year.
Purdue 34, Wisconsin 24
Northwestern v. Maryland (-14) - 3:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network
This game became a little tougher to pick now that Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is a game-time decision after getting banged up last week against Indiana. Even if the Terrapins have to turn to Wake Forest transfer Billy Edwards Jr., I don’t think it will matter much since Northwestern is dreadful.
After beating Nebraska over in Ireland, Northwestern still hasn’t won a game on American soil this season. The Wildcats have dropped games to national powers Southern Illinois and Miami (OH) this year, which should tell you just how great of a job Pat Fitzgerald is doing in Evanston. Imagine where Northwestern would be without running back Evan Hull, who is leading the team in rushing and receiving.
I know it’s not the smartest strategy to lay two touchdowns with Maryland in any game since they are so unpredictable. This is one of those occasions where I feel a bit safer doing so since the Wildcats are so bad. Plus, there isn’t going to be the remnants of a hurricane swinging through College Park, which is pretty much the only reason Northwestern was able to stay within 10 of Penn State a few weeks ago in State College.
Maryland 38, Northwestern 21
Minnesota v. No. 16 Penn State (-4) - 7:30 p.m. - ABC
You just know Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts have to be licking their chops after seeing Michigan run all over Penn State last week. The Nittany Lions gave up over 400 yards on the ground the the Wolverines in the 41-17 loss in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately for Minnesota, they are not Michigan, so they won’t find running the football to be so easy on Saturday night. Ibrahim will put up some yards since he is one of the best running backs in the country, the problem is the Golden Gophers don’t have much else on offense they can lean on.
At least Sean Clifford knows how to bounce back from a loss, since he has had plenty of experience in this situation as he is in the middle of his 54th year as starting quarterback at Penn State. Clifford is a serviceable quarterback, but you just have to wonder when James Franklin might want to take a little longer look at Drew Allar since he is the future at quarterback for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State isn’t quite as good as some might have thought they were this year, and we saw that against Michigan. Minnesota certainly isn’t as good as they showed in their first four games of the year, as they were able to feast on some of the worst teams in the country before losing to Purdue and Illinois. It’s hard not to like the Nittany Lions in a bounce-back game on a night when they are doing their little “white out” thing.
Penn State 27, Minnesota 17
Iowa v. No. 2 Ohio State (-30) - 12:00 p.m. - FOX
Do we even have to play this game? Can’t Iowa just take their L and save themselves some embarrassment? The Hawkeyes have an offense that is one of the worst in the country. Iowa is averaging just 14.7 points per game and under 240 yards per contest on offense. The Buckeyes are capable of putting up those numbers in the first quarter. I almost feel bad for Iowa fans because they have to live with Brian Ferentz’s offense, since you know Kirk isn’t going to fire his son. Together those two are going to milk the Iowa football program for every last cent they can get.
The scariest thing about Ohio State is we haven’t even seen their full offense yet. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has barely been on the field after suffering an injury early against Notre Dame, and both Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have been in and out of the lineup with injuries this season. Following his five rushing touchdown performance against Rutgers, Williams sat two weeks ago against Michigan State, allowing Henderson to notch his second 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Iowa does have a stout defense that has kept the Hawkeyes in games this year. The problem for the Hawkeyes is they haven’t faced anyone with anywhere near the offensive weapons that they’ll see from Ohio State. There is no way Spencer Petras is keeping pace with C.J. Stroud. The only chance Iowa has of staying anywhere close in this game is if the Hawkeye defense forces Stroud into some mistakes. It’s hard to see enough of those mistakes happening, especially since Stroud had some extra time to prepare for the Iowa defense.
The last time we saw these teams together on the football field, Iowa absolutely crushed Ohio State 55-24 in 2017. Even though pretty much everyone on the Buckeyes now wasn’t in Iowa City that day, Ryan Day was. After half a decade of enduring jokes about the Hawkeyes putting up 55 on the Buckeyes, Ohio State gets a little revenge.
Ohio State 55, Iowa 14
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.