Free Big Ten Football Picks: Weekly Conference Analysis with Odds and Predictions
I simply cannot remember a week in college football like we just witnessed this past weekend. Week 6 provided underdog bettors with ample opportunity to make some serious coin as seven teams inside the AP Top 25 lost outright, including four teams ranked inside the Top 10. The upsets began on unlucky Friday the 13th with the second- and eighth-ranked teams dropping conference road games. The carnage continued through Saturday as No.5 Washington couldn't muster up more than a single touchdown against Arizona State. Because of these losses, the AP Poll looks nothing like any poll we could have predicted this late in the season. Alabama remains at No. 1 with Penn State sitting right behind them. Georgia (7-0) has moved up one spot from four to three and TCU jumps into the playoff picture sitting at No. 4.
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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 three teams inside the Top 10. Penn State still leads the Big Ten's cause at No. 2 with Wisconsin checking in at No. 5 and Ohio State at No. 6.
Weekly Big Ten Round Up
With the Big Ten conference schedule in full swing, there are a few things that stood out to me this past weekend. Both Michigan and Michigan State are winning games despite getting very bad quarterback play. For example, John O'Korn threw for a grand total of 58 yards (10-of-20) in the Wolverines' 27-20 OT win. Brian Lewerke threw for 120 yards on just 9 completed passes in a 30-27 Spartans' road win against Minnesota. This trend simply cannot continue the rest of the season. Both teams also failed to cover the spread, which could be a sign for bettors moving forward. In the other games, No. 7 Wisconsin snuck by Purdue by a score of 17-9, while No. 9 Ohio State trounced Nebraska 56-14. Northwestern picked up a solid road win at Maryland 37-21, while Rutgers got its second win of the year by beating Illinois 35-24.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 8
As we approach the midway point of the college football season, the Big Ten conference is starting to take shape. We have the usual suspects like Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin competing for a spot in the Big Ten Title game, while the emergence of Michigan State could throw a wrench in many pundit' preseason predictions. Week 8 features a must-see game between the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines and the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions. As of writing this the Nittany Lions are 10-point favorites with the total set at 44.5. As I mentioned earlier, if Michigan continues to get little to no production out of the QB spot then I see no way that Michigan can hang around with Penn State's explosive offense. The other games on the card are as followed; Purdue (-8) at Rutgers, Iowa (PK) at Northwestern, Maryland at No. 5 Wisconsin (-24), Indiana at No. 18 Michigan State (-7-5) and Illinois at Minnesota (-13.5)
As the season reaches the halfway point, I figured now would be a great time to take a look at who the top Big Ten money-makers are in relation to the point spread.
Top Big Ten Teams Against the Spread
Purdue Boilermakers - 5-1 ATS - I am a big believer in what Jeff Brohm is trying to turn this program into. He has breathed life into a program that was extremely low on confidence. And despite being unable to get a signature win, his team has been in every game so far this season. They have the best ATS mark in the Big Ten and should be able to extend their record to 6-1 ATS after a game against Rutgers. Take Purdue (-8)
Penn State Nittany Lions - 4-1 ATS - This shouldn't come as a shock to you, but Penn State is a great team. They only game they have failed to cover was the nail-biter against Iowa. Other than that, they have been a money-making machine and should be able to cover the spread this weekend against an offensively-challenged Michigan team. Take Penn State (-10)
Michigan State Spartans - 4-2 ATS - The Spartans came into this year with very low expectations after going 3-9 last year, but have proved every doubter wrong. They are winning games with an old-fashioned game plan - run the football and play stout defense. They have navigated the first half of the schedule with ease, but they have Penn State and OSU on deck as the calendar flips to November.
Worst Big Ten Teams Against the Spread
Illinois Fighting Illini - 1-5 ATS - Not many experts were sold on Illinois heading into this season, but a 2-0 start had those same experts scratching their heads in disbelief. However, the Illini have now lost four straight and are likely to make it five, six or seven straight after their next few games. A trip to Minnesota is on deck this weekend, so a loss and failure to cover the spread is the likeliest outcome. Take Minnesota (-13.5)
Indiana Hoosiers - 2-3 ATS - It's been an up-and-down first half for the Hoosiers as they currently sit at 3-3 SU and 2-3 ATS. Their wins have not been impressive, beating Virginia, Georgia Southern an Charleston Southern. However, their losses have come against the three best teams in the Big Ten - Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. So, it shouldn't come as a shock to see the Hoosiers hoovering around the .500 mark. They take on Michigan State this week, which I expect to go down as a loss. Take Michigan State (-7.5)
Michigan Wolverines - 2-3 ATS - I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the Wolverines are getting terrible quarterback play and are relying too heavily on the defense to win ball games. There are only so many games in which a defense can perform at a peak level, so I expect the back half of the season to be a letdown for Wolverine fans. Up next for Big Blue is a trip to Penn State, where I don't expect them to score very many points. I see a blowout loss on the horizon. Take Penn State (-10)
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