Doc's Fourth Down And Inches
by Doc - 9/14/2010
The most difficult part of writing this article occurs when our selection service has a rough week. That has certainly been the case for the past two weeks. Since we opened our doors in 1971, this has been our worst start to a season. Obviously turnovers are impossible to handicap and we have had our fair share of them. I rather doubt if anyone takes this more serious then myself, as being around me during a losing day or weekend can get ugly. I have learned through experience that you cannot change the past and you only have control of the future. I look for some big profits in the coming weeks and it will start this weekend.
Surveying the Big Ten it certainly looks to me that the Michigan Wolverines are back. They are coming off wins against Connecticut and Notre Dame and there is no question Coach Rodriquez has found a quarterback. QB Denard Robinson has the ability to beat you with his arm or his legs and with the Wolverines favorable schedule it would not surprise me to see them challenging for the Big Ten Title come November. All of their tough early games are at the Big House and it would not surprise me if they enter the annual meeting Ohio State (away) with zero or one loss. Back-to-back games with Michigan State and Iowa will be difficult especially since Iowa will be coming off a bye week. That being said, the Wolverines should be playing in a New Year’s Day Bowl at the very least.
The Big Ten is much stronger then in past years, especially at the top of the conference. I wanted to watch the elite teams play a couple of games before I made my prediction as to who I feel will sit atop the standings come December.
Vying for the Big Ten Championship are Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The two spoilers appear to be Michigan and Michigan State. I do not believe either of these two have enough to win the title but both will likely have a say in who wins it. That leaves out Penn State! Look for a down year from the Nittany Lions especially since they are starting a young quarterback. They just do not have the talent to win at Iowa and at Ohio State.
Each year I like to look ahead in the Big Ten Conference and find a setup that is favorable and unfavorable for each team. Here is what I have found for the 2010 Big Ten Conference season. I have ranked the teams in the order I believe that they will finish.
1) Ohio State Buckeyes
Strong Play with them: Oct. 30th at Minnesota. I expect the Buckeyes to control this game from start to finish and win it by 54 points
Strong Play against them: Nov. 20th at Iowa. Iowa is always tough to beat at home and I expect this to be the Buckeyes only loss on the season.
2) Iowa Hawkeyes
Strong play with them: Oct. 23rd vs. Wisconsin. Badgers will come into this game flat since they will host Ohio State the week prior.
Strong play against them: Nov. 13th at Northwestern. The Wildcats went into Iowa and won last year moving their head-to-head record to four wins in the last five meetings.
3) Wisconsin Badgers
Strong play with them: Oct. 9th vs. Minnesota. This is homecoming and Wisconsin will pound Minnesota by at least 28 points.
Strong play against them: Oct. 2nd at Michigan State. Wisconsin’s light non-conference schedule will catch up with them and the Spartans will win this game by 17 points.
4) Michigan Wolverines
Strong play with them: Oct. 9th vs. Michigan State. The Spartans are just another team that the Wolverines will pay back in 2010. Michigan has not lost three straight to MSU since 1967.
Strong play against them: Oct. 2nd at Indiana. This is a definite look ahead spot for Michigan with Michigan State, Iowa, and Penn State on deck. Expect them to just go through the motions.
5) Penn State Nittany Lions
Strong play with them: Nov. 27th vs. Michigan State. The Lions have won 8 straight home games against Michigan State. This may be Coach Joe Paterno’s final home game.
Strong play against them: Oct. 30th vs. Michigan. Won 46-17 in 2008 and 35-10 in 2009 against Michigan. Payback will come in 2010, as the Wolverines no longer roll over for teams.
6) Michigan State Spartans
Strong play with them: Sept. 18th vs. Notre Dame. Big revenge game for the Spartans, as they lost to the Irish in 2009 despite outgaining them by over 100 yards of offense.
Strong play against them: Oct. 9th at Michigan. The Wolverines have the horses to stop this two-year losing streak. It is possible that the Spartans could enter this game 5-0.
7) Northwestern Wildcats
Strong play with them: Oct. 9th vs. Purdue. Northwestern could be looking for their sixth straight win and expect them to go all out since they have a bye the following week. A win here is a must if they have visions of making a bowl game.
Strong play against them: Oct. 30th at Indiana. This is a big revenge game for the Hoosiers, as they led 28-3 in 2009 only to get beat 29-28. Cats could be coming off their first loss of the season against Michigan State on Oct. 23rd.
8) Purdue Boilermakers
Strong play with them: Oct. 16th vs. Minnesota. This will be homecoming for Purdue and they need to hammer someone, so why not this pasty! They will have revenge on their minds after dominating the yardage against Minnesota in 2009 but losing by double digits.
Strong Play against them: Oct. 30th at Illinois. The Boilermakers will be playing their second straight road game and this is a game Illinois will need to win. Purdue’s five game winning streak vs. Illinois will end today.
9) Illinois Fighting Illini
Strong play with them: Oct. 9th at Penn State. Points might be worth taking, as the Lions will be coming off a tough battle with Iowa the week before. I look to get close to twenty points in this game.
Strong play against them: Oct. 16th at Michigan State. The Illini will be coming off games with Ohio State and Penn State and this will be their second straight road game. This could spell the end for Coach Ron Zook as the leader of the Fighting Illini.
10) Indiana Hoosiers
Strong play with them: Sept. 25th vs. Akron. With the toughest schedule in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers need a big win and it will come against Akron.
Strong play against them: Oct. 9th at Ohio State. Hoosiers will be coming off a tough loss against Michigan. They simply do not have the firepower to stay in this game and I will be laying the wood.
11) Minnesota Golden Gophers
Strong play with them: NONE
Strong play against them: Every game starting this week. The Gophers have ten games left and if you play against them in every game I expect you to go 6-4 ATS at the very worst.
Next week my column will discuss three major reasons why it is to your advantage as a gambler to bet second half lines. We will bounce back in a major way this week starting on Thursday.
That is it for this week,
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