Last week ATS: 8-6 (4-3 B1G, 4-3 National)
Season ATS: 40-46-3 (21-25-1 B1G, 19-20-2 National)
After a couple of losing weeks, it was nice to get back on the winning side last week. We got a couple of nice underdog winners with Illinois and Wake Forest. The only real downsides of the week were missing on Ohio State by half a point, along with having any soft of confidence in Oklahoma.
(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)
Nebraska (-3) v. Rutgers - Friday 7:00 p.m. - FS1
This week’s Big Ten action starts on Friday, when Nebraska makes the trip to New Jersey to take on Rutgers. After having a week off to lick their wounds from the drubbing handed to them by Oklahoma, the Cornhuskers returned to the field last week and beat Indiana 35-21. Casey Thompson threw for 270 yards and two scores, while Anthony Grant ran for 136 yards in the win.
Rutgers returns home after falling to Ohio State 49-10 last week. Greg Schiano’s team plays hard, they just aren’t all that good. The defense of the Scarlet Knights gives it their all, the problem is the offense is just extremely limited, and can’t put together drives to keep the defense off the field. If you take away the 66-point performance against Wagner, Rutgers has scored just 58 points in their other four games this year.
Teams usually suffer a bit of a hangover after playing Ohio State. I think that will be the case here for Rutgers, even though the Cornhuskers have to travel on a short week. Nebraska should be playing a little looser now that they have a couple games under Mickey Joseph under their belt. Even though the Nebraska defense has been shaky throughout the season, Rutgers doesn’t have the weapons to exploit that weakness.
Nebraska 33, Rutgers 21
No. 4 Michigan (-22) v. Indiana - 12:00 p.m. - FOX
At least Michigan is handling their business against such a weak schedule to start the season. The Wolverines have been tested a little bit against Maryland and Iowa the last two weeks, but it hasn’t felt like Jim Harbaugh’s team has been in any danger of losing those games. The Michigan offense has been really balanced so far this year, throwing for 234 yards per game, while rushing for 221 yards per contest.
After a 3-0 start, Indiana is now playing like how we expected them to play, losing by double digits to Cincinnati and Nebraska the last two weeks. Connor Bazelak throws the football a lot, already attempting 246 passes in the first five games of the season. The problem is, he isn’t very accurate, with 116 of his passes being incompletions, along with throwing five interceptions.
If Indiana is going to struggle to beat the likes of Idaho and Western Kentucky at home, what chance do they have against Michigan? The Wolverines are going to give the Hoosiers a heavy dose of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, and when Indiana thinks they know what is coming, then Harbaugh can unleash J.J. McCarthy. Michigan gets an easy win on the road before returning home next week for a showdown against Penn State.
Michigan 45, Indiana 17
Purdue v. Maryland (-3) - 12:00 p.m. - Big Ten Network
The Boilermakers are the most unpredictable team in the Big Ten. Purdue is coming off a win over undefeated Minnesota after barely beating Florida Atlantic. It didn’t hurt the Boilermakers that not only was Aidan O’Connell back at quarterback, they didn’t have to deal with Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim. Had it not been for late collapses against Penn State and Syracuse, Purdue could be sitting at 5-0 right now.
Maryland got back on the winning track last week after losing to Michigan. The Terrapins added to Michigan State’s woes, beating the Spartans 27-13 in College Park. Much like Purdue, Maryland loves to throw the football. Taulia Tagovailoa is coming off his second 300-yard passing performance of the season.
Purdue’s secondary is going to give Tagovailoa a lot more of a challenge than they got from Michigan State last week. It also helps my confidence in Purdue that they don’t have injury concerns at quarterback like they did the last two weeks, when O’Connell missed the Florida Atlantic game, and was a game-time decision last week. The Boilermakers find enough stops on defense to slip by the Terrapins.
Purdue 34, Maryland 27
Wisconsin (-10) v. Northwestern - 3:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network
Northwestern is exactly what Wisconsin needs right now. After getting blown out by Ohio State and Illinois, the Badgers fired head coach Paul Chryst, making defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard the interim coach. This move was one that had been speculated on for a bit with Wisconsin not performing up to expectations the last few years. Nobody saw it happening in the middle of the season, though.
The Wildcats are a dreadful team, as they are still looking for their first win on American soil this year. Had it not been for the remnants of Hurricane Ian pouring down on State College on Saturday, Northwestern would have likely gotten beaten by Penn State a lot worse than 17-7. I’m sure Pat Fitzgerald is spewing some junk about how his team is getting better. Technically it’s true, but it’s not like the Wildcats can get any worse.
There’s no denying Wisconsin is a mess right now. The Badgers should get a boost with the move to fire Chryst, as teams usually play well for an interim coach at least in the first game after the firing. After rushing for just two yards against Illinois last week, expect Braelon Allen and the Badgers to run all over Northwestern.
Wisconsin 28, Northwestern 13
Iowa v. Illinois (-3.5) - 7:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network
A week after going to Madison and beating the school he used to coach so bad they fired their coach the next day, Bret Bielema now welcomes his alma mater to Champaign. The Fighting Illini feel a bit ahead of schedule in their rebuild under Bielema. A win against the Hawkeyes would force people to look at Illinois as a serious contender in the Big Ten West.
It’s more of the same for Iowa. A lot of defense and no offense. Iowa may be a better team than Illinois, they just aren’t coached as well as the Fighting Illini. The Hawkeyes are averaging less than 250 yards per game on offense, putting their defense in a tough spot since they have to continuously try and make up for the ineptness of the offense.
Being a favorite may be a bit of unfamiliar territory for Illinois. This isn’t the same Fighting Illini team that we have grown accustomed to over the years, though. Illinois not only has running back Chase Brown, quarterback Tommy DeVito is making plays when he has to. Bielema’s team has allowed just nine points in three games at home this year, which isn’t a good sign for an Iowa team that has issues putting points on the scoreboard.
Illinois 24, Iowa 14
No. 3 Ohio State (-27) v. Michigan State - 4:00 p.m. - ABC
Last week was a bit of a weird game for Ohio State. The Buckeyes were never threatened by Rutgers, yet C.J. Stroud has one of his worst games in scarlet and gray. Then again, Ohio State didn’t need Stroud to do much of anything since Miyan Williams was gashing the Rutgers defense. Williams ran for five touchdowns in the 39-point win, tying a school record.
Just imagine what Ohio State’s offense will look like when everyone is healthy. So far this year, Jaxon Smith-Njigba has barely played, while running back TreVeyon Henderson has been in and out of the lineup as he deals with a foot injury. Even with the injuries, the Buckeyes are still averaging nearly 530 yards and 50 points per game.
The most interesting thing about this game will be to see how Ohio State responds to not playing at home. After playing their first five games in Columbus this year, Saturday’s game will be the first true road game for the Buckeyes since they traveled to Ann Arbor in late November. Ohio State has had a nice stretch of success at Michigan State, winning their last eight trips to Spartan Stadium. The last time Michigan State beat Ohio State in East Lansing was in 1999.
After scoring 87 points in their first two games of the season against Western Michigan and Akron, the Spartans have really struggled over the last three games, losing all three contests by a combined scored of 100-48. Payton Thorne has already thrown six interceptions this year, while Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard are struggling to replace the production Michigan State got from Kenneth Walker III last year.
Following a contest where he threw for just 154 yards, C.J. Stroud has to be licking his chops while watching film of the Michigan State pass defense. The Spartans are allowing 275 yards passing per game this year. After Williams had a career day last week against Rutgers, it feels like it’s time for Stroud to have a huge game to further solidify himself as a Heisman Trophy contender as the Buckeyes head into a bye week following this game.
Ohio State 54, Michigan State 20
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.