Free Big Ten Football Picks: Weekly Conference Analysis with Odds and Predictions
Week 3 of the college football season provided bettors with a ton of points and a few notable upsets that has the AP Top 25 looking fairly different from how it was pre-kickoff. The afternoon started with the No. 25 UCLA Bruins getting beat by Memphis 48-45 and then ended with the No. 17 Stanford Cardinals getting upset by unranked San Diego State 17-10. No. 12 LSU was a no-show against Mississippi State, losing 37-7 in a game where they got outgained by 195 yards. And lastly, No. 18 Kansas State was held in check by Vanderbilt, managing only seven points in a 14-7 loss. The Top 5 teams in the nation all took care of business with an average margin of victory of 29 points.
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But enough about the entire college football landscape. I am writing this weekly piece to help bettors specialize in the Big Ten Conference, and I will be breaking down every aspect of the upcoming Big Ten schedule and keep you in the loop with specific team situations. The Big Ten currently has four teams inside the Top 10, which remains unchanged from last week. The only change is the order - Ohio State dropped from No. 8 to No. 10, while Michigan dropped from No. 7 to No. 8 and Wisconsin rose a spot from No. 10 to No. 9. Penn State also jumped a spot from No. 5 to No. 4.
Weekly Big Ten Round Up
The Big Ten went 9-2 straight up and 6-5 against the spread, with one game (FIU vs Indiana) cancelled. There were some impressive wins; Rutgers got their first win of the season by shutting out Morgan State 65-0. Normally this wouldn't be impressive considering Morgan State has now been shut out 10-0, 26-0 and 65-0 in three games so far, but the fact that Rutgers did it, and covered the 41-point spread, is shocking. Another impressive win was Purdue getting the job done on the road against Missouri by a score of 35-3, easily covering the five-point underdog tag. However, there were some bad performances by Big Ten teams. Illinois got beat down by No. 22 South Florida on Friday, while Nebraska got beat by Northern Illinois and Michigan struggled to get past Air Force.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 2
Big Ten Conference play gets underway this weekend with three games. The first takes place in Lincoln, Nebraska, between the hometown Cornhuskers and the visiting Rutgers Scarlett Knights. The Cornhuskers are currently -13.5-point favorites with the total sitting at 51. The other two conference games see No. 8 Michigan (-10) visiting Purdue and No. 4 Penn State (-12.5) travelling to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. The rest of the schedule looks like this: UNLV at Ohio State (-40), UCF at Maryland (-3.5), Georgia Southern at Indiana (-24) and Notre Dame at Michigan State (+5).
No. 1 Penn State. It's hard to argue against the Nittany Lions being the best team in the Big Ten. They have dominated all three opponents so far and now must go to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. The offense is hitting stride, which means Iowa won't be able to keep up. Take Penn State to cover -12.5.
No. 2 Wisconsin. The Badgers got themselves to 3-0 after a dominating performance in Provo against BYU. They are getting solid QB play from Alex Hornibrook, and the defense is allowing just 10 points per game. They kick off Big Ten play next week against Northwestern.
No. 3 Michigan. The offense has looked sluggish in each of its first three games, but the defense has looked every bit as good as advertised. Maybe a matchup with Purdue will help solve the offensive woes. But if not, Michigan could very well start 0-1 in Big Ten play.
No. 4 Ohio State. A different offensive approach against Army helped J.T. Barrett get back on track as he tossed two touchdowns and rushed for another in a lopsided win. Consistency will be key if the Buckeyes are thinking about getting themselves into the Big Ten title game. I like them this week to cover the massive number against UNLV.
No. 5 Iowa. Overcame a sluggish first half (trailed North Texas 14-10) before scoring 21 unanswered points. They did so without their cowbell, Akrum Wadley, who missed some time with an undisclosed injury.
No. 6 Maryland. The Terrapins had a bye last week but have looked nothing short of solid so far this season. They host UCF this week, and this is a game they should use to get to 3-0 before conference plays rolls around. I'd lay the3.5 with the Terps.
No. 7 Michigan State. The Spartans also had a bye last week, but now they must match up against Notre Dame in what should be a solid football game. They will need their run defense to show up in a big way in order to slow down QB Brandon Wimbush, who had four rushing TDs in last week's win against BC. I'd lay the points with the Irish in this one.
No. 8 Purdue. The Boilermakers had an outstanding win last week against Missouri and are now 2-1, with their lone loss coming to a good Louisville team. We know they can put points on the board, but their season will be defined with how well they can stop their opponents from scoring. I like them this week +10 against Michigan.
No. 9 Minnesota. The PJ Fleck era is off to a flying 3-0 start. That's the good news. The bad news is they haven't played anyone noteworthy yet and will have to deal with a high-flying Terps offense in their Big Ten opener. We will then see if the Golden Gophers are for real or not.
No. 10 Indiana. The Hoosiers had their game against FIU cancelled this week, so it's tough gauge this team after just two games. They take on Georgia Southern this week in what should be a relatively straightforward win. I'd lay the 24 in this spot. They open Big Ten play in two weeks at No. 4 Penn State.
No. 11 Northwestern. The Wildcats' one-two combo of Clayton Thorson and Justin Jackson finally produced like fans expect them to every game. Thorson threw for 370 yards and two touchdowns while Jackson rushed for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Hold your horses though, it was against Bowling Green.
No. 12 Rutgers. After hitting rock bottom in a loss to Eastern Michigan two weeks ago, the Scarlett Knights finally managed a win, albeit against Morgan State who has yet to score a point in three games this season. Freshman QB Jonathan Lewis ran for four touchdowns and threw for one, while backup Kyle Bolin also threw a TD pass.
No. 13 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers fell to 1-2 on the season after a shocking home loss to Northern Illinois. The QB play was the biggest reason they lost the game as Tanner Lee threw three INTs and had two of them returned for six points. He has now thrown seven over his first three games. I'm hesitant to lay double digits with this team this week against Rutgers, so I would pass on this contest.
No. 14 Illinois. The Illini got trounced against South Florida and must now use their bye week to regroup and get ready for conference play. They take on Nebraska in two weeks in what could be a winnable game if Nebraska fails to iron out the kinks.
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