Weekly Big Ten Football Betting Report: Expert Predictions and Analysis
The Big Ten conference is in a world of hurt this year. Not only did the conference's only playoff contender stumble last week, the conference's only Heisman hopeful fell as well. Dwayne Haskins had a performance last week that looks impressive if we go off stats alone. He threw for 470 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing a pick. However, the reality of the matter is that the Ohio State signal caller was far from his best.
It didn't help that Haskins was constantly under pressure in and outside of the pocket and failed to sustain drives on multiple occasions. I completely understand that football is the ultimate "team" sport, but it's also a "team" sport that relies very heavily on QB play. And to say Haskins didn't deliver when the Buckeyes needed it most is simply calling it how it is. It'll be interesting to see if Haskins can regroup and put the team in a position to set up what is going to be an essential "winner-take-all" game vs Michigan on Nov. 24 (barring any other loses).
Haskins still leads the FBS in passing yards and touchdowns, so all is not lost on the individual front just yet. However, it's going to take a gargantuan effort against a top-ranked Michigan defense and a major slip up from Tua Tagovailoa - something I don't see happening.
For a conference with so much history and pedigree, this year looks like a year where they are going to be shut out and could ultimately lose more bowl games than they win.
Big Ten Recap: Week 8
It seems like every year around this time of the season that a ranked team goes on the road in conference play and falls victim to an upset. This year it was No. 2 Ohio State's turn to go on the road to Purdue and get blown out by a score of 49-20. The fact that a ranked team got upset isn't surprising. The way the Buckeyes were beat is. The Boilermakers dominated the game on both sides of the ball. And with the loss, OSU fell to No.11 and is very much out of the CFP discussion. Elsewhere around the Big Ten, No. 19 Iowa shut out Maryland 23-0, No. 6 Michigan got the better of No. 24 Michigan State 21-7, Northwestern squeaked by Rutgers 18-15, No. 23 Wisconsin handled Illinois with ease, 49-20, No. 18 Penn State snuck by Indiana 33-28, and Nebraska got off the mark with a 53-28 win over Minnesota.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 9
There are just six games in the Big Ten this week, with Nebraska taking on a nonconference opponent in Bethune-Cook. There likely won't be a line on this game until close to kick off, so for betting purposes I suggest looking elsewhere. The most important game of the Big Ten schedule takes place Saturday afternoon between No. 18 Iowa and No. 17 Penn State. As of writing this, the Nittany Lions are 6.5-point favorites with the total set at 53. In the scope of the Big Ten standings, this game means more for Iowa as they are just one game back of Northwestern for top spot in the Big Ten West. The rest of the schedule looks like this; Purdue at Michigan State (-2.5), No. 20 Wisconsin at Northwestern (+6.5), and Illinois at Maryland (-18).
Key Mismatches the Could Define Week 9
Maryland Run Defense vs Illinois Rush Offense
By now, I'm sure we are all aware that both of these two teams will not contend for a spot in the Big Ten title game. However, when these two teams hook up at College Park in Maryland, one of them will inch a step closer to the six-win mark and the coveted spot of a bowl game. As of writing this, the Terps are 18-point favorites, and that has more to do with their defense than their offense. Coming into this game, the Maryland defense is allowing just 3.4 yards per rush. That's better than the likes of Notre Dame, Washington, and Alabama. That's a serious list of teams to lead. The Illini are a team that has relied on its rushing game more than most teams in the country. They rank 26th in the nation in run-play percentage, calling for run plays 60 percent of the time. If the run game isn't working against the Terps - something I can see happening - the Illini will need to go to Plan B, which is throw the ball, and that's not something they do too well. Look for Maryland to continue to shut down the run game and force Illinois into turnovers throwing the football.
Minnesota's Passing Defense vs Indiana's Passing Offense
The Minnesota Golden Gophers got off to a blistering start to the season, posting a 3-0 record before entering conference play. Unfortunately, conference play hasn't been kind to them, and they now own a record of 3-4 overall and 0-4 in conference play. However, by advanced metrics, Minnesota is supposedly ranked in the same tier as Boise State, Ohio State and USC. Teams have taken advantage of the Minnesota defense by stretching the field and taking deep shots. However, that's something Indiana doesn't do.
The Hoosiers are essentially a dink-and-dunk offense that averages around 9.5 yards per completion. The will need to find a way to stretch the field in this one as the Gopher's defense is tied for No.20 in the country in yards allowed per completion, allowing just 10.8. This metric could be the saving grace for a Gophers team that will be eager to snap a four-game losing streak and try and push closer to that six-win mark and become bowl eligible.
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