Weekly Big Ten Football Betting Report: Expert Predictions and Analysis
It's Week 14 in college football, and one look at the matchups this weekend will leave even the most casual of fans salivating at all the excitement. Rivalry Week is one of the best weeks in college football, and this year is no different. Just look at this list of games; No. 4 Michigan vs No. 10 Ohio State, Auburn vs No. 1 Alabama, Oklahoma vs West Virginia, Washington vs Washington State, UCF vs South Florida, Notre Dame vs USC, South Carolina vs Clemson, Utah State vs Boise State, Troy vs Appalachian State, and Florida at Florida State, just to name a few.
The year as a whole has been incredible to date, with everything from heartbreaking losses, dramatic wins, bad beats, lucky covers, questionable coaching decisions, creative play calling and everything in between. The only thing missing is an Alabama loss, and as of right now I'm not too sure that's coming any time soon. That is one hell of a team is Tuscaloosa, and it's going to take a gargantuan effort from either Auburn, Clemson, Michigan or Georgia to knock off the Crimson Tide. As for the Big Ten, it's been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for bettors and fans alike.
Big Ten Recap: Week 13
We were a Maryland two-point conversion away from this week meaning absolutely nothing in terms of the Big Ten title game. However, Ohio State survived the Terrapins and escaped College Park with a 52-51 win. It was a wild game, and if you expect to see a similar game next week between the Buckeyes and Wolverines, then you would be disappointed. Elsewhere around the Big Ten; Northwestern handled Minnesota 24-14, Nebraska and Michigan State made our eyes bleed with a 9-6 result, Penn State got by Rutgers 20-14, Iowa shut out Illinois 63-0, Wisconsin needed triple overtime to stave off Purdue 47-44, and Michigan got by Indiana 31-20.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 14
It's been a long and winding journey, but we are now at the regular-season finale in what has been a memorable Big Ten season. All 14 teams are in action, and, as is usually the case, the biggest game on 'Rivalry Week' is No. 4 Michigan vs No. 10 Ohio State. As of writing this, the Wolverines are listed as four-point favorites and the total is set at 56.5. The importance of this game to both programs cannot be understated. For Michigan, it is a chance to finally beat their rivals and more importantly secure their spot in the Big Ten title game and likely the College Football Playoff. For Ohio State, it's a chance to beat their biggest rival and turn what could have been a shaky an unimpressive season into a possible Big Ten Championship. And for the conference as a whole, it will be cheering for Michigan to win this game, thus getting themselves in the CFP. Elsewhere around the Big Ten; Nebraska takes on Iowa (-10), Purdue (-4) travels to Indiana, Maryland travels to No. 14 Penn State (-13.5), Illinois takes on No. 22 Northwestern (-18), Minnesota travels to Wisconsin (-10) and Rutgers travels to Michigan State (-27).
Worst Situational Spots to Bet On
Maryland +13.5 vs Penn State
I've already touched on the fact that the Terrapins were a two-point conversion away from ultimately ending Ohio State's season and securing a win over a ranked team on home soil. The Terrapins played their hearts out in that game but fell short by a score of 52-51 in overtime. The Terrapins must now find a way to regroup and hit the road to take on a Penn State team that is laying under two touchdowns. This is a brutal spot for this Maryland program that had uncertainty and drama surrounding it for the entire season. The Terps have a good enough offense to keep up with the Nittany Lions, but one has to think that they wasted every trick they had in their playbook. Penn State has now won two straight and four of their last five games and has done so with their defense, holding their last two opponents to a combined 17 points.
It's going to be a tall task for this Terps team to go into Happy Valley and stay within the number this weekend.
Indiana +4 vs Purdue
Both of these teams come into this weekend's matchup sitting on five wins apiece. The winner of this game will get their sixth win and secure bowl eligibility. Unfortunately, both teams suffered heartbreaking losses last week, so it'll be interesting to see which program can bounce back and reverse their misfortunes last week.
If I was a betting man, and I am, I'd say it would be Purdue considering they have an offense that can in fact score points, whereas Indiana has lost five of their last six games and has put up 30 points just twice in that span. Purdue is the more exciting offense. And despite playing in three overtime periods last game, they will be ready for this challenge and should be able to exploit a very poor Indiana pass defense.
Best Situational Spot to Bet On
Minnesota +10 vs Wisconsin
Look, I'm going to tell it like it is. I'm not running to the window to bet Wisconsin this week. Despite how bad Minnesota may seem, they are fighting for their sixth win. And after falling short last week against a Northwestern team with nothing to play for, they get a second shot here against a Badgers team that also has very little to play for.
The Badgers are coming off a very emotional and hard-fought triple-overtime win last week at Purdue, and now they must return home and get up for a Golden Gophers squad that can in fact score points when they are on. It's a tough spot for the Badgers. And with Minnesota fighting for their bowl eligibility, I like the Golden Gophers to stay within the number here.
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