Free Big Ten Football Picks: Weekly Conference Analysis with Odds and Predictions
With all the negative going on in the world today and the politics of things almost ruining the sporting world, the last 72 hours hopefully reminded you how captivating and jaw-dropping sports can be. On Sunday we were treated to not only the game of the year in the NFL - a 41-38 Seattle victory over Houston - but a few (several) hours after that, we witnessed one of the greatest (craziest) games in World Series history. But I'm not here to talk about either of those games. Instead, I want to talk about the absolute lunacy that took place in Columbus on Saturday afternoon. For starters, I wrote about it as being the Big Ten game of the year and quite possibly the game of the year across all conferences. It definitely lived up to expectations. Secondly, I wrote about how taking Penn State plus the points was the best play, but a six-point teaser involving Ohio State would also help you cash a ticket. I was spot on with both sides.
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With the win on Saturday, the Buckeyes vaulted themselves into No.3 in the AP Top 25. They are currently ranked behind Alabama (No.1) and Georgia (No.2) and ranked one spot ahead of fellow Big Ten-member Wisconsin. The loss dropped the Nittany Lions to No.7, behind Notre Dame and Clemson, and could signal the end of their College Football Playoff hopes.
Weekly Big Ten Round Up
Without going into too much detail -- I'm sure everyone reading this knows what happened - I feel like Penn State choked that game away more than Ohio State made an epic comeback. I understand that J.T. Barret played a nearly flawless game (33/39, 328 yards, four touchdowns and 95 rushing yards), but look what it took for the Buckeyes to emerge victorious. A single miscue could have derailed the entire comeback, and I would have been talking about how Penn State has a legitimate shot to go undefeated this year. But I digress. There were other games played in the Big Ten this week that you may not have known about. Michigan destroyed Rutgers 35-14, No. 5 Wisconsin took care of Illinois 24-10, Maryland beat Indiana, Iowa beat Minnesota, Nebraska upset Purdue and No.16 Michigan State dropped a triple-overtime heartbreaker to Northwestern.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 10
It's going to be tough for Week 10 to deliver the highs and lows that Week 9 brought us, but there are a few intriguing matchups on the card that should give us something entertaining to watch. To start the day, No. 7 Penn State will look to rebound against No. 24 Michigan State. The Nittany Lions are currently tabbed as 7.5-point favorites . Nobody can be certain on how PSU will respond to last weekend's heartbreaking loss, so laying a bunch of points doesn't seem like a very good idea. The rest of the card looks like this; No. 4 Wisconsin (-9) at Indiana, Illinois at Purdue (-14), Maryland (-2.5) at Rutgers, No. 3 Ohio State (-16) at Iowa, Northwestern at Nebraska (-2) and Minnesota at Michigan (-15.5).
Underdog of the Week
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Wolverines (-15.5), 41.5
Stop me if you've heard me or anyone else say this before: "the Michigan offense is a train wreck." The Wolverines are currently using their third-string quarterback in order to jumpstart an offense that has struggled to consistently put points on the board. I know that they just put up 35 points last week, but that was against Rutgers, so I wouldn't get too excited about that result. The Wolverines' quarterbacks combined for just 13 completions and 137 yards passing in that game, with the bulk of the damage coming on the ground (334 rushing yards). Against a team like Rutgers that's fine, but against a team like Minnesota that isn't a recipe for success.
The Golden Gophers come into this week's game on the heels of a crushing defeat to Iowa. They did, however, win the time of possession and turnover battles and outrushed an Iowa team who prides themselves on running the football. If they can do the same again this week, they will be in a prime position to keep within the number and help Gopher backers cash their ticket.
As a team, the Golden Gophers are allowing just 316 total yards of offense, which is incredible considering they are a 4-4 team. They are holding teams to just fewer than four yards per rush and six yards per pass. Looking at their remaining schedule, if Minnesota wants to get to a bowl game, they will likely need to take make the most of this game considering they have trips to Northwestern and Wisconsin to end the year.
The Wolverines are unofficially out of the running for a spot in the Big Ten title game, so they are playing out the string in order to get to a half-decent bowl game. I don't think that motivation is enough for a team that was one Ohio State loss away from a spot in the CFP last year.
This is far too many points to lay with the Wolverines, so give me the Gophers +15.5.
TeamsTrending Up or Down
Up. Ohio State - The Buckeyes have not faltered once since their loss to Oklahoma and have scored an average of 51 points per game. Their win last weekend against Penn State brought them right back into the CFP discussion, and it breathed life into J.T. Barrett's Heisman campaign. If the Buckeyes can run the table they will have a spot not only in the Big Ten Title game, but they will be in the Playoff picture as well.
Down. Purdue - The Boilermakers have lost three straight games by a combined 11 points. They were in a position to win two of those games, but the offense and defense took turns letting them down. They are now laying 14 points at home to Illinois, a team that's lost six straight, so anything other than a cover would be a flat-out disappointment.
Up. Wisconsin - It's hard to justify putting the Badgers in this spot considering they are undefeated (8-0). However, thanks to TCU and Penn State losing last weekend, the Badgers find themselves No.4 in the rankings and in contention for a spot in the playoff. The defense has given up just 32 points over the course of its last three games, and it's hard to find any reason to believe that dominance won't continue this week against Indiana.
Down. Indiana - The Hoosiers are on a three-game losing streak despite playing their last three opponents very tough. It looks very likely that the Hoosiers will suffer their fourth defeat at the hands of the Badgers, but after that they have two chances to break their conference goose egg with games against Illinois and Rutgers.
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