Weekly Big Ten Football Betting Report: Expert Predictions and Analysis
College football is back, and what a first weekend it was. There were several highlight-reel catches, a few bone-crushing hits, some awful play calling, and some upsets that are just too hilarious to take seriously. Looking at you Kansas. Oh, and you too Texas. We had Nick Saban losing his mind on a reporter after his team trounced Louisville and Braylon Edwards going off on a rant about how Michigan football is terrible. He's since been suspended by the Big Ten Network, but he did bring up some valid points.
But enough about the past. As has been the case for the last couple of years, I write this weekly piece to give bettors an in-depth look at the Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten was arguably the most competitive conference from top to bottom last year and is in a good position to be one of the top conferences again this year. I will be breaking down every aspect of the upcoming Big Ten schedule and keep you in the loop with the specific team situations.
Big Ten Recap: Week 1
Another year, another disappointing Michigan performance. It would shock me if Jim Harbaugh isn't fired by the end of the season. Michigan lost 24-17 to Notre Dame, but the score indicates that it was a close game, which it was not. Michigan was completely unprepared, and their vaunted defense looked average at best. So long College Football Playoff hopes. Elsewhere around the Big Ten, the only shock result was Penn State needing overtime to take care of Appalachian State. Minnesota took care of business against New Mexico State, Northwestern got conference play off on the right foot by holding on to beat Purdue, and No. 11 Michigan State struggled against Utah State but ultimately got the job done. No. 4 Wisconsin easily beat Western Kentucky, Illinois beat Kent State, Maryland got the better of Texas once again, Ohio State trounced Oregon State, Rutgers beat Texas State, Iowa handled Northern Illinois, Indiana beat FIU and Nebraska had their game against Akron postponed.
Big Ten Rundown: Week 2
Week 2 of the college football season features all 14 Big Ten teams in action, with a lone conference game between Rutgers and No. 5 Ohio State (-35). As of writing this, all Big Ten teams check in as favorites in their respective matchups. The matchups look like this: Western Michigan at Michigan (-27.5), Duke at Northwestern (-3), Eastern Michigan at Purdue (-15), New Mexico at No. 4 Wisconsin (-35), Colorado at Nebraska (-5), Iowa State at Iowa (-3.5), Maryland (-16) at Bowling Green, Western Illinois at Illinois (off), Virginia at Indiana (-7), Fresno State at Minnesota (-2.5), No. 10 Penn State (-8.5) at Pittsburgh and No. 11 Michigan State (-7) at Arizona State.
Biggest Mismatch of Week 2
As is usually the case with nonconference play early in the season, there are some hefty point spreads on the board that involving Big Ten teams. Wisconsin is laying 35 points again, this time against New Mexico. The Badgers failed to cover the massive 36-point spread last week against Western Kentucky, so I'd be weary backing them this week. Michigan is almost four-touchdown favorites over Western Michigan, and after last week's performance you'd be better off taking the Broncos instead of the Wolverines. And lastly, the Buckeyes are five-touchdown favorites over Rutgers, and this to me looks like the biggest mismatch on the board.
The Buckeyes didn't miss a beat in the opening game, posting 77 points and winning by 46. The entire offense looked in sync, and Dwayne Haskins looked the part of a Heisman hopeful. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 313 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Mike Weber also had himself a day, carrying the ball 20 times for 186 yards and four scores. If Haskins and Weber put up similar numbers this week, Rutgers won't know what hit them. I do believe Oregon State would beat Rutgers on a neutral field, so the Beavers managing 31 points against the Buckeyes is more realistic than Rutgers getting anywhere near that mark. Lay the points with the Buckeyes and enjoy the beat down they will dish out.
Tightest Game of Week 2
With all due respect to the No. 11 Michigan State vs. Arizona State game, the game I have my eye on this weekend take place at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois, between Duke and Northwestern. As of writing this, Northwestern is three-point favorites, but I do believe the wrong team is favored in this spot.
Sure, Northwestern may have started their season off on a winning note, but Purdue played as bad as they could have played. They turned the ball over four times, which killed any momentum they could muster up. The Wildcats were also shut out in the second half, meaning the offense isn't exactly as lethal as a 31-point performance would indicate.
They will also have a tough time handling Duke's plethora of rushers and play action passes. Last week against Army, the Blue Devils ran for 184 yards and threw for 197 - talk about a balanced attack. Northwestern struggled at times last week with Purdue's quick-hit offense, something Duke is known for.
Something else Duke should be proud of is their defense. They limited the Black Knights to just 168 yards rushing, which is solid considering Army ran the ball 47 times. In a game where both teams will want to establish the run game, this could be a very low-scoring affair, and it'll likely stay well within the three-point spread. If you can grab Duke at +3.5, I would jump on that line in a heartbeat.
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