Last week ATS: 7-7 (3-4 B1G, 4-3 National)
Season ATS: 82-82-3 (38-43-1 B1G, 44-38-2 National)
There are two games in the Pac-12 between ranked teams on Saturday. Get picks for USC-UCLA, Utah-Oregon, and five other interesting national contests here.
(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)
Illinois v. No. 3 Michigan (-18) - 12:00 p.m. - ABC
For a while it felt like this was going to be a bigger contest than it is. Illinois started the season 7-1 and found themselves in the CFP rankings. Since then, the Fighting Illini have lost their last two games, and find themselves in a four-way tie at the top of the Big Ten West. Last week Illinois lost to Purdue, which could be a huge blow if the Boilermakers win their final two games against Northwestern and Indiana.
There’s no question that Michigan can run the ball with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. What Wolverine fans have to worry about ahead of the trip to Columbus next week is if J.J. McCarthy can make enough plays in the passing game to keep pace with C.J. Stroud. Michigan has done a great job at handling their business against weaker competitions this year, but Illinois is a little tougher test.
I don’t think Illinois is going to win this game. I do think the Fighting Illini are tough enough to stay within 18 points. Chase Brown likely won’t be at full capacity in this game, if he is even able to play. Still, Illinois has a solid defense that could cause frustrate the Wolverines just enough to keep Michigan from running away with this game.
Michigan 27, Illinois 14
Northwestern v. Purdue (-18.5) - 12:00 p.m. - FS1
Purdue knows the Big Ten West is within their grasp. After losing two straight games, the Boilermakers turned things around with a 31-24 win over Illinois last week. What’s scary about Purdue is they have found a bit of a rushing attack with Devin Mockobee. Add in the combination of quarterback Aidan O’Connell and wide receiver Charlie Jones, and it’s hard to see a bad Northwestern team keeping pace.
Purdue 38, Northwestern 10
Wisconsin (-10.5) v. Nebraska - 12:00 p.m. - ESPN
It feels like Nebraska has given up on the season. Last week the Cornhuskers couldn’t do anything in a 34-3 loss to Michigan. Nebraska has now lost four straight games, dropping their record on the season to 3-7. This will be Nebraska’s final home game of the season, and so far they have only beat North Dakota and Indiana in Lincoln.
Wisconsin has had a really rough year, sitting at 5-5 with two games left. At least the Badgers should be amped up for this game since a victory would earn them bowl eligibility. Wisconsin still has Braelon Allen, who should have a big game against a Nebraska rush defense that is giving up over 190 yards per game on the ground. It’s hard to see the Cornhuskers doing much of anything against a Wisconsin team that is better.
Wisconsin 31, Nebraska 13
Indiana v. Michigan State (-10) - 12:00 p.m. - Big Ten Network
I just saw Indiana in-person last week. The Hoosiers can’t do much of anything. Indiana has no answer at quarterback, a non-existent running game, and their best receiver was injured a few weeks ago. I know Michigan State had their issues this year, but I have more confidence in Payton Thorne and Jalen Berger to be able to put points on the board.
Michigan State 34, Indiana 14
No. 11 Penn State (-19) v. Rutgers - 3:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network
Even though they lost last week to Michigan State, Rutgers is still playing hard. Gavin Wimsett threw a couple touchdowns, and Kyle Monangai ran for 162 yards. Even though the Scarlet Knights were down 21-7 in the third quarter, they still kept fighting, which is more than what some teams in the conference can say.
I’m not dumb enough to think Rutgers can hang with Penn State, though. We’ve seen what has happened to the Scarlet Knights when they’ve played the tops team in the conference. Eventually the gap in talent shows up. Sean Clifford only has a few games in his 185 year career left. With Michigan State on the schedule next week, the Nittany Lions have a great shot at getting to nine wins.
Penn State 41, Rutgers 17
Iowa v. Minnesota (-2.5) - 4:00 p.m. - FOX
This game isn’t going to be a game for people who like points. Or really any form of excitement. The good thing is it should be over in about two hours with how much these teams love to run the football. Just look at it like a Greg Maddux complete game, except without a hint of excellence.
I should take that back since there is some excellence with Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who has 1,261 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns this year. The Golden Gophers have let me down a number of times this year, but if I side with the Hawkeyes I pretty much have to pray for a couple defensive touchdowns for Iowa to cover.
Minnesota 20, Iowa 10
No. 2 Ohio State (-27.5) v. Maryland - 3:30 p.m. - ABC
Throughout the year there has only been one game where I didn’t think the Buckeyes would cover the point spread. It was the second game of the year against Arkansas State, and it was actually the right call. Sometimes I feel like I need to be a little more critical when looking at Ohio State.
I don’t think the Buckeyes are in trouble in this game like they were in 2018, when they were pushed to the limit by Maryland in the 52-51 victory in overtime. Really though, Ohio State just has to get out of College Park without any major injuries. The Buckeyes are already dinged up at running back with Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson dealing with injuries. Luckily, Ohio State shouldn’t have a problem generating offense with C.J. Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., and the rest of the passing attack.
Ohio State has mostly been really good against the pass this year. They do have some momentary lapses, though. Taulia Tagovailoa has enough experience and talent to find Rakim Jarrett, Corey Dyches, and the rest of his targets for some positive plays. The Terrapins have struggled over the last two games, losing to Wisconsin and Penn State by a combined score of 53-10. I’m banking on a return home giving them a little more comfort on offense.
Ryan Day has had some games where it seems like he leaves the starters in a little too long. I don’t see that being the case on Saturday. This feels like a game where Ohio State gets up four or five touchdowns, pulls there starters, and Maryland pulls a few points back. There would be nothing wrong with a 21-24 point win ahead of The Game.
Ohio State 45, Maryland 21
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.