Weekly Big Ten Football Betting Report: Expert Predictions and Analysis
If Ohio State and Penn State were to play each other for 10 weeks straight, I don't think anyone would have a problem with that or get bored of the same matchup. On Saturday, No. 4 Ohio State traveled to No. 9 Penn State and snuck away with a 27-26 win to keep their undefeated season intact and give them the inside track to the Big Ten Title game and a spot in the College Football Playoff. It was a great game, to say the least. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley set the Penn State single-game record with 461 total yards, including 175 yards rushing. However, it was not McSorley's performance that people were talking about after the game. Instead, they were talking about how Penn State head coach James Franklin called a terrible play in the dying seconds of the game that all but sealed the fate of the Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions were facing fourth-and-5 just inside Buckeyes' territory when Franklin drew up an inside run instead of passing the ball. The play ultimately lost a yard, and just like that the game was over. It's hard to imagine a scenario where you take the ball out of your record-setting QB's hands to run a draw play. But I digress.
Thanks to that result, the Big Ten currently has just one team among the AP Top 25, and that is Ohio State who checks in at No. 3. With the loss, Penn State fell from No. 9 to No. 11, while Michigan dropped from No. 14 to No. 15 and Wisconsin dropped from No. 15 to No. 16 despite winning efforts.
Big Ten Recap: Week 5
Big Ten football is back, baby. Or at least something like that. Week 5 in the Big Ten offered up little entertainment outside of the showdown between Ohio State and Penn State. It was a very good game to watch from a neutral perspective, and it had to be considering what we saw from the rest of the league. No. 21 Michigan State held on to beat Central Michigan 31-20, failing to cover the 28-point spread, Indiana failed to cover their 14-point spread despite beating Rutgers 24-17, Purdue made it two wins in a row after beating Nebraska 42-28, and No. 15 Michigan needed every single second of the game to overcome a pesky Northwestern squad, 20-17.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 6
Week 6 of the college football season features six games on the slate, with the best game taking place in Piscataway, NJ, between Illinois and Rutgers. As of writing this, the Illini are 2.5-point favorite. I used the term "best game" loosely, because the amount of ineptitude in this game will be at an all-time high. The rest of the schedule features four games with spreads higher than 10, three higher than 15, and two games higher than 20. No. 15 Michigan (-17) hosts Maryland, No. 20 Michigan State (-11.5) hosts Northwestern, Iowa (-6) travels to Minnesota, No. 3 Ohio State (-25) hosts Indiana and No. 16 Wisconsin (-21) hosts Nebraska.
Big Ten ATS Records
Best: Penn State 4-1 ATS, Iowa 3-1 ATS, Maryland 3-1 ATS, Minnesota 3-1 ATS
Penn State: The Nittany Lions are unfortunate to come away from last week's Ohio State game with a loss. They played well. And if it wasn't for a bonehead play call, the result could have been very different. From a betting perspective, the Nittany Lions are the best ATS team in the conference, posting a 4-1 record. Their lone ATS loss came in Week 1 against Appalachian State, when they need OT to put away the Mountaineers as 25-point favorites. The Nittany Lions have a bye this weekend, but beyond that, they host Michigan State on Oct.13.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes were held to zero fourth-quarter points by a Wisconsin team that was desperate to get back on track. That game was the only time this year that the Hawkeyes have failed to cover the spread, and that includes winning and covering outright against Northern Illinois, Iowa State and University of Northern Iowa. Up next for the Hawkeyes is a trip to Minnesota to tangle with a Golden Gophers team that is also 3-1 ATS so far this season.
Minnesota: As mentioned, the Golden Gophers are also 3-1 ATS this season with wins and covers coming against New Mexico State, Fresno State and Miami-Ohio. Their lone blemish happened two weeks ago at Maryland in a game where they simply did not show up ready to play. A trip to Iowa this week will mean one of those two teams will move to 4-1 ATS and get level with Penn State for most ATS wins so far this season.
Maryland: The aforementioned Terps were able to cover the spread at home against Minnesota two weeks ago. And if it wasn't for a disappointing performance against a Temple team they should have thrashed, Maryland could very easily be 4-0. Instead, they aren't, but sitting at three straight up wins means a bowl game is a very big possibility. Up next for Maryland is a trip to the Big House to take on No. 15 Michigan. The Terps are currently -18-point underdogs, so a backdoor cover is always a possibility.
Worst: Nebraska 0-4 ATS, Indiana 1-4 ATS, Michigan State 1-3 ATS.
Nebraska: Scott Frost's debut season as Nebraska coach could not have gotten off to a worse start. The team is not only 0-4 straight up, but they are burning bettor's money by not covering spreads. Unless of course you are betting against them. Nebraska has already lost and failed to cover in three home games this season, including a game to Troy - who came to Nebraska for a $1.15-million payout and walked away with a victory as well. Up next for the Cornhuskers is a date with No. 16 Wisconsin, and they currently sit as 21-point underdogs.
Indiana: The Fighting Illini were on a bye this past weekend but are still just 1-4 ATS so far this season. In their latest game, they were trashed by Penn State 63-24, failing to cover the massive 28-point spread. Their lone ATS win came against USF, whom they lost to 25-19 as 14-point dogs. In their opening two games, the Illini were favorite against Western Illinois (-7.5) and Kent State (-18) but failed to cover both of those games despite winning outright.
Michigan State: The Spartans are 3-1 SU but have covered in just one of those four games, and that cover came two weeks ago against another bad ATS team in Indiana. The Spartans covered the 6.5-point spread by winning 35-21, but that's just about the lone betting bright spot. In their other games, they squeaked by Utah State 38-31 as 24-point favorite, lost outright to Arizona State as five-point favorites, and gave up 17 fourth quarter points to Central Michigan to blow a 28-point cover.
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