Last week ATS: 7-5 (3-2 B1G, 4-3 National)
Season ATS: 64-72-3 (31-36-1 B1G, 33-35-2 National)
Looking for some advice outside the Big Ten? I have picks for Tennessee-Georgia, Alabama-LSU, and five other national games on Saturday.
(All lines courtesy of Draftkings Sportsbook.)
Minnesota (-16) v. Nebraska - 12:00 p.m. - ESPN2
Following a three-game losing streak, Minnesota looked like the Golden Gophers team we saw at the beginning of the season. It didn’t hurt they were taking on lowly Rutgers. Mohamed Ibrahim carried the football 36 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns. The Golden Gophers are at their best when Ibrahim and the running game is working, allowing them to control the clock and wear out the defense.
Nebraska lost their second game in a row last week, falling to Illinois 26-9. Quarterback Casey Thompson was dinged up, and his status for this week’s game is up in the air. Because of the status of Thompson not being known, as well as Minnesota finding a bit of their mojo last week, I like the Golden Gophers here. Even though 16 points seems like a lot, the Cornhuskers can’t stop the run, which is an issue you don’t want to have against Ibrahim. Minnesota wears down the Cornhuskers, sending them to their third straight loss.
Minnesota 38, Nebraska 17
Iowa v. Purdue (-3.5) - 12:00 p.m. - FS1
Even though Purdue dropped their last game to Wisconsin, the Boilermakers still have a great shot at winning the Big Ten West. Next week Purdue takes on Illinois, which makes earning a win against the Hawkeyes even more critical. The Boilermakers didn’t play last week, allowing them to recharge their batteries and make sure they are ready for what they’ll see from the Hawkeyes.
It’s a miracle that Iowa is 4-4 this year, and it all can be attributed to their defense. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, we saw against the Buckeyes that they can be beaten through the air. Even though Purdue doesn’t have the depth of Ohio State at receiver, they do have former Hawkeye Charlie Jones, who has to be eager to take on his old team.
Purdue has been vulnerable at times with their passing defense this year. The Boilermakers shouldn’t have to worry too much this week since the Hawkeyes have a lot of issues moving the ball not only through the air, but also on the ground. As long as Aidan O’Connell doesn’t make too many turnovers against the Iowa defense, the Boilermakers should be in good shape.
Purdue 27, Iowa 14
Maryland v. Wisconsin (-5) - 12:00 p.m. - Big Ten Network
Both these teams will be rested headed into action since they didn’t play last week. The Badgers are coming off a win over Purdue, while the Terrapins beat Northwestern in their last game. After missing the game against the Wildcats, it sounds like Taulia Tagovailoa will return this week at quarterback for Maryland.
The Badgers have been up-and-down since Jim Leonhard took the reins as interim head coach. Wisconsin beat Northwestern and Purdue, with a double overtime loss to Michigan State sandwiched in between. Graham Mertz threw for two touchdown in the win over the Boilermakers, while Braelon Allen ran for 113 yards. Allen is 130 yards shy of reaching 1,000 for the season.
Even though Tagovailoa is returning for this game, I don’t like the Terrapins to go into Madison and score an upset. This Wisconsin team might not quite be the same as we have seen over the years, but they still have a workhorse at running back in Allen. I just think we see a Wisconsin team this week that is closer to what we have come to expect than the Wisconsin team we have seen for a good portion of this season. Plus, I still can’t trust Maryland, who you never know what you’ll get from.
Wisconsin 31, Maryland 21
Michigan State v. No. 16 Illinois (-17) - 3:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network
After such a positive season last year, Michigan State has been pretty embarrassing this year. At least the Spartans can tell themselves that it can’t get much worse after their disgusting display following last week’s game against Michigan. I feel like what they are going through right now might bring them closer together, since it will make the coaching staff ask a lot of tough questions about the team.
As bad as the season has been for Michigan State, this year has been that good for Illinois and Bret Bielema. The Fighting Illini are in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten West, and they have showdowns with Purdue and Michigan the next couple weeks. Chase Brown continues to be the offense for Illinois, carrying the football 32 times for 149 yards last week against Nebraska. Don’t sleep on quarterback Tommy DeVito though, as he can make plays when his number is called.
Illinois isn’t on upset alert, I’m just not liking the Fighting Illini laying this many points. Michigan State hung with Michigan last week, and even with the suspensions I think they can at least stay within shouting distance of Illinois. This feels like a 10-14 point win for the Fighting Illini.
Illinois 24, Michigan State 13
Penn State (-14) v. Indiana - 3:30 p.m. - ABC
Penn State is going to be very angry coming into this game. Not only because they lost to Ohio State last week after leading early in the fourth quarter, but also because they lost to the Hoosiers in Bloomington to open up the shortened 2020 season. The Nittany Lions showed they can hang with some of the best teams in the country, which Indiana certainly isn’t one of. Parker Washington had a breakout game against Ohio State, and should be primed for another strong game against an Indiana defense that allows nearly 260 yards through the air.
The Hoosiers have lost their last five games after a 3-0 start to the season. Even though they didn’t play last week, things have gotten even worse for Indiana since the last time they took the field, as leading receiver Cam Camper was ruled out for the rest of the season because of a knee injury. I’m just not sure how the Hoosiers keep pace against a Penn State team that wants to get the bad taste of last week out of their mouth.
Penn State 41, Indiana 17
No. 5 Michigan (-25.5) v. Rutgers - 7:30 p.m. - Big Ten Network
Honestly, I can’t see Rutgers reaching double digits in this game. It’s not going to be a 78-0 beatdown that we saw the Wolverines hang on the Scarlet Knights a number of years ago, but this game shouldn’t be competitive at all. Michigan will likely try and put as many points up as they can, since they were ranked behind Clemson in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.
Even though Rutgers does play hard under Greg Schiano and doesn’t give up, things are going to get ugly in this game for the Scarlet Knights. Maybe Rutgers gives Michigan a little bit of resistance early on, but this game shouldn’t be closer than four touchdowns by the end of the game.
Michigan 45, Rutgers 7
No. 2 Ohio State (-38) v. Northwestern - 12:00 p.m. - ABC
It looked for a few minutes last week that the Buckeyes were going to cover against Penn State. All that matters in the end though is Ohio State won, a cover would have been icing on the cake. The victory over the Nittany Lions can be attributed to J.T. Tuimoloau, who had one of the most memorable individual performances by a defensive player in college football history. Tuimoloau was involved in four Penn State turnovers, which led to 21 Ohio State points.
For as quiet of a game as C.J. Stroud had, he still finished with over 350 yards passing and a touchdown while only missing on seven of his 33 passes. Hopefully the Ohio State offensive staff dump the bubble screen in the trash since it wasn’t working against the Nittany Lions. Really, Stroud should have just kept passing the football to Marvin Harrison Jr., who caught 10 passes for 185 yards, with all 10 of his catches resulting in first downs.
Much like Michigan’s game against Rutgers this week, there is no reason this game should be close. Northwestern is dreadful, having lost seven straight games after their season-opening win over Nebraska in Ireland. Brendan Sullivan has taken over for Ryan Hilinski at quarterback, but it shouldn’t matter in this game since neither quarterback is all that good. The only concern Ohio State should have is with running backs Evan Hull and Cam Porter, who have future NFL offensive lineman Peter Skoronski blocking for them.
We have seen Ohio State jump out on opponents this year and not let off the gas. The Buckeyes have handled their business against lesser opponents, only really struggling with teams that have a little bit of a pulse. Northwestern is definitely not one of those teams. The Buckeyes make it 10 straight wins over the Wildcats with another easy win in Evanston, much like they got in 2019.
Ohio State 52, Northwestern 10
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.