Weekly Big Ten Football Betting Report: Expert Predictions and Analysis
Are there still people out there who think Alabama is good enough to beat an NFL team? And by NFL team I mean the lower-level teams like the Browns or Bills or Raiders? If so, I understand your thought process. And I am a big fan of what Alabama has accomplished over the course of the last decade, including churning out NFL prospects at a staggering level. However, Alabama continuously beats up on inferior opponents such as Mississippi, Arkansas State and Texas A&M. Oh and up next for the Crimson Tide is a game against UL-Lafayette and then Arkansas. Tough schedule. After seeing what the Bills did to a Super Bowl contender on Sunday, I am now fully sold on the fact that Alabama would lose badly. Pro teams are filled with elite talent, and it's very hard to imagine a 10-year veteran being outclassed or outworked by an 18 or 19-year old kid. But I digress. That conversation is for another day.
I am here to talk about the Big Ten conference, and, boy, do we have a game for you to watch this Saturday. It's the "rubber match" of sorts: Ohio State vs Penn State. Winner stays undefeated and likely finds themselves in the Big Ten title game and possibly the College Football Playoff. Loser probably goes to the Rose Bowl.
Big Ten Recap: Week 4
It was a straightforward week in the Big Ten, with all nationally-ranked teams getting the job done, including No. 9 Penn State over Illinois, No. 14 Michigan over Nebraska, No. 4 Ohio State over Tulane, No. 21 Michigan State over Indiana and No. 15 Wisconsin over Iowa. Maryland bounced back and handled Minnesota with relative ease by a score of 42-13, and Rutgers was, well… Rutgers. They lost 42-13 at home to Buffalo and had more punts and penalties than first downs. The only big shock of the week came in West Lafayette as Purdue stunned No. 23 Boston College 30-13 en route to their first win of the season.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 5
Week 5 of the college football season features just five games on Saturday. The schedule kicks off at noon when Central Michigan takes on No. 21 Michigan State (-28.5) and Indiana takes on Rutgers (+17). At 3:30, Purdue travels to Nebraska (+3) looking to win back-to-back games. And then at 4:30, No. 14 Michigan travels to Evanston to take on the Northwestern Wildcats (+13.5). And lastly, at 7:30 p.m. No. 4 Ohio State travels to Beaver Stadium to tangle with the No. 9-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions (+3.5). This game not only has major Big Ten implications but could alter the entire college football landscape.
Marquee Game of the Week
No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Penn State (+3.5) 67.5
It's a rubber-match of sorts for two College Football Playoff hopefuls as the Buckeyes travel back to Happy Valley to tangle with the Nittany Lions. For those of you who don't remember, Penn State emerged victorious by a score of 24-21 the last time these two teams hooked up at Beaver Stadium, and that win essentially propelled Penn State to the Big Ten Championship where they would ultimately lose in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State extracted a bit of revenge last year, stunning the Nittany Lions at the Horseshoe by scoring 19 fourth-quarter points en route to a 39-38 victory. That win vaulted them into the Big Ten Title and a win in the Cotton Bowl.
So, what's going to happen this year? Well, only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: a new batch of players are going to leave their mark on this growing rivalry. Gone are J.T. Barrett and Saquon Barkley. Instead, it'll be up to redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins to battle it out with senior Trace McSorley.
Both teams come into this game with identical 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS records. Both teams would be considered offensive juggernauts, and to expect anything short of a ton of points would be foolish on our part. Penn State has scored 45, 51, 63, and 63 in their last four games, respectively - good for an average of 55.5 points per game, while Ohio State has essentially done the same, scoring 77, 52, 40 and 49, good for an average of 54.5 points per game.
For Penn State, they've done it on the backs of McSorley, who has become a "game manager" of sorts. He completed just 23 of his last 41 pass attempts for 389 yards and five touchdowns. He hasn't been relied upon yet apart from the first game against Appalachian State, thanks in large part due to a solid running attack, including 200 yards and three touchdowns from running back, Miles Sanders last week against Illinois. If the run game can produce similar numbers against an OSU defense that is missing Nick Bosa, McSorley should be able to flourish in the passing game.
For the Buckeyes, the majority of the production is dependent on Haskins to make plays through the air. Sure, J.K Dobbins and Mike Weber are legitimate running backs, but Haskins is the key cog and it'll be up to him move the chains and get everyone on the same page. Haskins has put up Heisman worthy numbers so far this season, completing 87 of 115 passes for 1,194 yards and 16 touchdowns. A convincing performance against Penn State would bolster his Heisman campaign and push him closer to the front running Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama.
At the end of the day, this game will be must-see TV. Two storied franchises will battle it out for the right to keep their undefeated season intact. As a neutral, I can't wait. As a fan of either team, I would be a bit worried about the defenses. And as a bettor, I would play the "over" and then get my popcorn ready.
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