Week 5 of the College Football season had pretty much everything you could ever imagine. In the Big Ten alone, there was two overtime games, two blowouts and one Top-10 matchup that was very entertaining despite a 14-7 final. Michigan was able to top Wisconsin in front of 111,000 people at the Big House, but their long-time rival, Ohio State, did them one better by shutting out Rutgers 58-0. The Indiana Hoosiers were able to knock off Michigan State 24-21 in overtime, and I expect the MSU collapse to be fully complete when they lose outright to BYU this coming Saturday. In other results that don't matter much to the polls, Penn State snuck by Minnesota in OT and Maryland demolished Purdue by 43 points. From a betting perspective, favorites went 2-4-1 and the O/U had a mark of 3-3-1.
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Week 6 in the Big Ten is a down week in terms of impactful games. Yes, OSU and Michigan are in action looking to keep their playoff dreams alive, but they take on Indiana and Rutgers, respectively, which shouldn't be an issue. The Buckeyes are currently 29-point favorites, while the Wolverines are sitting at -27.5. The game I am looking forward to most is the Maryland-Penn State affair at Beaver Stadium. Maryland is a small one-point favorite, which is making people I talk to question if this is a trap game or not. I will have a play on the Terrapins this weekend as I think they are the all-around better team.
Moving forward on a weekly basis I will be breaking down the weekly Big Ten slate. I will share with you my Game of the Week, teams trending up and down, key player matchup, best value line and the top underdog to watch just to name a few. Let's get to it.
*All lines courtesy of Bovada*
Trap Game Line of the Week
Maryland Terrapins @ Penn State Nittany Lions (+1.5)
Usually when the term "trap game" is mentioned, people are referring to a game in which betting on the favorite is considered a sucker-bet. It also could mean that the line is too low, which makes people blindly play the underdog and hope that Las Vegas has some sort of influence over the outcome of the game. Everyone I've talked to so far is mentioning this particular game as one of the "Trap" lines of the week.
I call nonsense on that particular notion. I call this game the "Reverse Trap Game" of the week.
Maryland is the better team here, and they are coming into this game fresh off what was essentially a bye week. They beat Purdue 50-7 and didn't even break a sweat. This Terrapins team is another win or two away from cracking the Top-25, and I think they will get there after they handle Penn State this week and Minnesota the week after. Maryland is averaging 43.2 points per game while allowing only 14.5. They will be able to throw the ball all over this week Penn State pass defense that has been ravaged by injuries.
Penn State, on the other hand, comes into this game after a big emotional come-from-behind overtime win against Minnesota. I wouldn't necessarily call this game a letdown spot for Penn State, but they just do not match up well against the speed of Maryland. Penn State is averaging 29 points for and 31.5 points against per game. If Penn State is to win this game, they will need Saquon Barkley to have an amazing game. However, I don't see that happening. Maryland's rush defense is among the best in the Big Ten.
The way this game is trending, I wouldn't be surprised to see Maryland as an underdog by kickoff. It won't matter. Maryland wins outright.
Trending Up & Down
We are now at the point in the season where teams are what we think they are. There are no bad spots or unlucky losses. There are just teams like Michigan State and Northwestern who are terrible this year - despite being extremely good last season. And then there are the top two teams- Michigan and Ohio State - who, from an eye-test perspective, look the part of two Top-5 teams.
Up. Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in the Big Ten conference. They have impressive wins against Oregon and Northwestern (before we realized Northwestern was bad). They are on a bye-week this week after putting up a 21-point fourth quarter in a comeback win against Illinois. By the end of October, Nebraska should be 7-0 before a showdown with the No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers. That game will go a long way in determining who will come out of the West Division. The Cornhuskers are a bit banged up right now, but they should be able to manage their next two games against Indiana and Purdue and show up healthy for Week 9.
Down. Michigan State. It would be silly to put any other team in this category. The Spartans started 2-0 and even beat an annual CFP candidate in Notre Dame. (We now know ND is a fraud, but that's beside the point). MSU followed up the ND win with an embarrassing home loss to Wisconsin. If that wasn't the loss that crushed their CFP dreams, last week's loss to Indiana in overtime was it. The Spartans held the ball for eight more minutes than Indiana but managed the same amount of yardage (438-437). The defense was shoddy and the coaching decisions were questionable. That loss marked the first time since 2012 that the Spartans have lost back-to-back games. Up next for the Spartans is a nonconference game against BYU. The Spartans are a six-point favorite. Take the visitors.
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