After seven weeks of college football the real conference of champions returns to turn this thing around. Thankfully for the column we had a nice 3-1 week last time out to push the overall record back into the slightest of green with a 10-9-1 mark. I will take skating by on even to this point as we get the Big Ten back.
In honor of the return of our beloved punt heavy conference today’s column will be all Big Ten focused. I’ll give my three favorites and hit the rest, and others, in the quick hitters section. If you’re looking for a betting report for Wisconsin, look here!
Penn State @ Indiana (+6.5)
On Friday, our Big Ten predictions podcast will be coming out, and let’s just say there is a LOT of love from me toward the Indiana Hoosiers. I think this is the strongest team Tom Allen has had at IU, and I think they’ve got all the pieces to make a run at the second spot of the Big Ten East if Michael Penix, Jr. can stay healthy all season long.
On the flipside you’ll hear a lot of doubt from me on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Coming into the season it appears Penn State was the top challenger for Ohio State, but I am not sure if I see that. KJ Hamler headed to the NFL, Micah Parsons opted out of the season, and now there are rumors swirling that Journey Brown may be out for the season. To me, there are a lot of holes with this team.
Additionally, this Penn State team was incredibly lucky a year ago. Four of their games we’re decided by one score, and they were a team that ranked No. 2 in average starting field position. A few bounces a different way and there is a whole different conversation around Penn State. Time to put my money where my mouth is and ride with Indiana. Maybe wait to see if you can find a 7 out there but I haven’t yet.
Rutgers (+13.5) @ Michigan State
As I wrote this I sent a message to our other writers and said “Friends, I am close to betting Rutgers... help.” Drew promptly came back and asked if I had started tailgating early, and Jake said it was a good bet...so give me the State University of New Jersey here despite how GROSS it might be.
Look, I don’t love telling you to put your hard earned money on Rutgers but for me I think this is a spot where Rutgers might actually be better and Michigan State will be worse. Sparty is in a full rebuild, and Greg Schiano has proven if any man can bring Rutgers back it’s him, and so far he has done that. He was great in the transfer portal nabbing guys like Aron Cruickshank who all look like they’ll be immediate starters. It’s gross, but I am going to take Rutgers +13.5 and hope to find a 14 somewhere.
Iowa @ Purdue (+3.5)
It appears it is the Week of the Dog here in the Big Ten, and I am going to hop on the home dog in this one as well with Purdue getting 3.5 here. There is a lot to unpack in this game for both sides that might make it a little tricky. Jeff Brohm will not be available to be on the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19. It sounds like he might be able to coach from the press box, but I am not sure?
On the other side Kirk Ferentz is dealing with a group of former players calling for his firing, and Iowa to provide financial compensation to the group for alleged racial discrimination. Off the field there is a lot going on for both, and I am sure it will have some sort of impact on.
Regardless, this should be a good one on the field. Purdue has a ton back in terms of weapons with David Bell, Rondale Moore, and incoming freshman Maliq Carr at WR. There are QB questions, but I trust Jeff Brohm has someone ready to sling it around. The biggest question will be how Purdue’s defense looks after a dreadful 2020 campaign.
For Iowa, things look good at receiver as well and in the secondary, where they’ll face a good test. However, QB Nate Stanley is gone (sadly for Badger fans) as is OT Tristan Wirfs and DE A.J. Epensea. Similar to Wisconsin, Iowa lost what many believe to be their three best players. Spencer Petras steps in at QB, and he should have weapons to work the ball to, but I think Purdue finds a little bit more on defense this year to make this game get wacky and stay within 3.5.
Nebraska @ Ohio State (-26): I don’t love the line so I wouldn’t personally bet it, but if you’re going to I wouldn’t back Nebraska. Sure they’ve been friends all off-season but tOSU needs to put up style points and we saw what happened last year.
Maryland @ Northwestern (-11): Gross. Just plain gross. Again, wouldn’t play it but if you have to I’d lay the 11 and trust the...Northwestern...offense? Should show you how bad Maryland is going to be.
Michigan (-3) @ Minnesota: I actually already made a small bet on this one as it sounded like Minnesota might have some COVID cases holding guys out. PJ Fleck is a master of gamesmanship, so proceed with caution but I kinda like the Wolverines here.
Tulsa @ South Florida, under 50: Tulsa defense is great, South Florida is real bad.
Georgia Southern (+5.5) @ Coastal Carolina: The Chantacleers are ranked! Wouldn’t now be the time for a let down?
Syracuse @ Clemson (-37): If you bet at Bovada this line is at 37. Everywhere else is at 46 so serious value if you want it.
Auburn @ Ole Miss, under 70: I took the under last week again with Ole Miss and like it again here. Auburn moves like a snail.
South Carolina (+6) @ LSU: The only reason LSU is a six point favorite is because they’re named LSU. No Myles Brennan either. Gimme the ‘Cocks.
Air Force @ SJSU, over 62: Because we all need a late night bet, take the over here. For a triple option attack, Air Force can score.