Last week ATS: 5-9 (1-8 National, 4-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 52-58 (20-36 National, 32-22 B1G)
Picks for the games outside the Big Ten this week on my radar can be found here.
Indiana v. No. 2 Michigan (-33.5) - 12:00 p.m. ET - FOX
Michigan has finally allowed double digits in a game this year. Team in crisis! Just kidding, the Wolverines are looking like the most dominant team in the country so far this season. I know they haven’t played anyone, but they are leaving no doubt in their victories. Michigan looks like they found another gear when head coach Jim Harbaugh returned to the sidelines after his suspension.
It’s going to be a long afternoon on both sides of the field for Indiana. The Hoosiers are still unsettled at quarterback, which isn’t something you want to be against the stingy defense of the Wolverines. Even though Indiana has a defense that does play hard, they’ll be up against it when they try and slow down J.J. McCarthy and Blake Corum.
There are a couple reasons I think this might be a few too many points for Michigan to be laying. Not only is Indiana coming off a bye that allowed them to work on some things, the Wolverines have a rivalry game against Michigan State next week. Michigan still wins easily, I just think it looks more like their 31-7 win over Rutgers a few weeks ago than the 52-10 win we saw from them last week against Minnesota.
Michigan 34, Indiana 7
Michigan State v. Rutgers (-4.5) - 12:00 p.m. ET - Big Ten Network
The bye week came at the perfect time for Michigan State. The Spartans have lost three games in a row, and they have had plenty to deal with after the firing of head coach Mel Tucker. Last time out Michigan State actually didn’t play that bad, leading Iowa into the fourth quarter before the Hawkeyes scored 13 points to win 26-16.
Rutgers always plays hard, they just aren’t all that good. Take last week for example. The Scarlet Knights weren’t really threatening Wisconsin, they just used a late touchdown to cover the point spread. I’m not sold on Rutgers being over a field goal favorite against a team coming off a bye that is starting to play a little better. This game feels like it could be decided by a field goal so I’ll take the points here.
Michigan State 20, Rutgers 17
Massachusetts v. No. 6 Penn State (-41.5) - 3:30 p.m. ET - Big Ten Network
UMass is one of the worst teams in college football, so it’s hard to imagine the Minutemen hanging around in this one. Penn State finds the end zone early and often before pulling their starters. Even when the second string is in, expect James Franklin to keep his foot on the gas since we have seen how much he loves covering the spread.
Penn State 54, UMass 10
Illinois v. Maryland (-13.5) - 3:30 p.m. ET - NBC
While Maryland did lose to Ohio State last week, it’s not like they looked bad in the loss. The Terrapins hung tough with the Buckeyes for most of the game. Taulia Tagovailoa is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten, so it’ll be quite a contrast to see him against Luke Altmyer, who is one of the worst quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
I know there is usually a bit of a letdown from teams after a tough game against Ohio State. We’re not going to see that this week. Last year the Terrapins responded to their loss to the Buckeyes with a couple wins to close out the season. Illinois not only just lost to Nebraska, they were dominated by the Cornhuskers. If Illinois can’t get up for a game against the Cornhuskers at home, I don’t see how they do for one at Maryland.
Maryland 41, Illinois 24
Iowa v. Wisconsin (-9.5) - 4:00 p.m. ET - FOX
Last week Iowa had one of the ugliest wins you’ll ever see. The Hawkeyes beat Purdue 20-14, but new starting quarterback Deacon Hill was just 6 of 21 passing. Luckily Iowa got 134 yards rushing from Kaleb Johnson. I know the defense of the Hawkeyes is fantastic, but how long can they carry this anemic offense?
It’s not like Wisconsin is setting the world on fire. Tanner Mordecai continues to struggle throwing the football. At least Braelon Allen is seeing more touches, as last week he carried the football 21 times for 101 yards. Things still aren’t clicking for the Badgers on offense, though. At least Wisconsin has been able to pile some wins against lesser opponents before the meat of their schedule.
As much as I like the Iowa defense, I just can’t trust their offense. Deacon Hill is going to have a tough afternoon dealing with the hostile environment he’ll see in Madison. I could see the Badgers turning the Hawkeyes over a few times and setting Mordecai and the offense up in good position, allowing them to gain a little confidence. It won’t be pretty, but I think Wisconsin wins by at least 10.
Wisconsin 24, Iowa 13
No. 3 Ohio State (-19.5) v. Purdue - 12:00 p.m. ET - Peacock
For as much complaining as myself and Buckeye Nation have done so far this year about the team, Ohio State is still undefeated. Even though they haven’t looked great, all that matters is they still have a 0 in the loss column, which is something a lot of teams can’t say. Although it would be nice to see Ryan Day’s team put together a complete game on offense. Even the blowout over Western Kentucky had a bit of a slow start to it.
Purdue feels like they should be better than 2-4 with the pieces they have. Hudson Card is a solid quarterback, Devin Mockobee and Tyrone Tracy Jr. can run the football, and the defense has some players that can make some noise. Some of the struggles can probably be attributed to having a first-year head coach. Ryan Walters will likely find his way since he is a young coach, he has just had to deal with some growing pains halfway through his first season.
Then there is the recent history in West Lafayette, where Ohio State is just 3-5 since 2000. At least this year there is no Rondale Moore on the roster to give Buckeye fans nightmares. Ohio State will likely be without Emeka Egbuka for this game after he suffered a leg injury against Maryland, but at least the injury comes at a position where the Buckeyes have loads of talent. It sounds like TreVeyon Henderson is trending in the right direction after missing last week with an injury suffered against Notre Dame.
I really do think we see a more complete performance this week from Ohio State, since Day will want his team sharp heading into next week’s showdown with Penn State. If Purdue was playing better than they have this year, I’d be a little more fearful of Ross-Ade Stadium. The Buckeye defense continues to excel, forcing Card into some mistakes that allow Ohio State to build a lead and breathe a little easier in the second half.
Ohio State 38, Purdue 14