Each week I will pick a winner of every Saturday football game involving a Big Ten team, then I will wrap all those picks into a parlay.
Big Ten Bets is sponsored by MyBookie and the promo code is 12OZSPORTS, which gets you a deposit bonus of up to $1,000 on your first deposit. I personally use MyBookie and entered the 12OZSPORTS promo code when I signed up, and have used "free" money on many of my bets. Today's selections, however, will be funded by my own wallet. Let's get after it.....
Western Michigan @ Michigan (-16.5)
The money line on this one is -825 towards Michigan. However, the Broncos return a lot of production and are the second-most experienced team the Wolverines will face behind only Rutgers, but come on, Michigan is the blue blood here. Will the Broncos hang around early? Yes, maybe even a whole half, but the difference between Power 5 and all the others is depth, and Michigan is deep. Cade McNamara will start at quarterback and have potentially elite running backs to work with, along with a really good line and receivers.
Take Michigan -16.5, either as a single or parlay addition
#19 Penn State @ #12 Wisconsin (-5.5)
The line is -5.5 in favor of Wisconsin, and the money line is -225 for Wisconsin. Penn State is coming off its worst season since 2004 and has to travel to hostile Wisconsin in week one. Not only that, Penn State's offensive coordinator is new, as Mike Yurcich comes from Minnesota in hopes of reviving the Nittany Lions' offense. Wisconsin has also won 25 straight home openers. Badgers QB Graham Mertz started last year with his hair on fire, before coming back to earth. Look for him to have his breakout season.
Take Wisconsin -5.5 (-110) in both single plays and parlay additions, I see this final being 34-21
Fordham @ Nebraska
This isn't available on many betting sites, and for good reason. Let's just say, if Nebraska doesn't win this by at least four touchdowns, Scott Frost better dust off that resume.
West Virginia (-3) @ Maryland
There is a lot of buzz around campus at Maryland as they start the brother of the Miami Dolphins QB, Taulia Tagovailoa. This game is more of a pick-em for me, but West Virginia holds a distinct advantage with their defensive line, which will be huge down the stretch in this one. Unless Maryland jumps out big early, I see the Mountaineers wearing down Maryland in the fourth quarter.
Take West Virginia and the money line at -145, this could be a last-second field goal, 1 point win.
#17 Indiana @ #18 Iowa (-3.5)
For me, this is by far the toughest Big Ten game to predict, since Indiana boasts a strong defense, but Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras looked really good late last season. Iowa traditionally can run the ball, and their chances of victory will no doubt be determined by how well they carry the rock against Indiana. The Hoosiers employ several exotic blitz packages behind All-American linebacker Micah McFadden, who led the conference in sacks in 2020. Oh, and Indiana blitzed almost 50% of the time in 2020. Indiana also has an aggressive secondary, and Iowa's defensive front 4 struggled last year. Personally, I think the line is simply in favor of the home team. I like Indiana in this one.
Take Indiana +3.5 (-110), unless you are feeling lucky, then take the money line at +150
Oregon State @ Purdue (-7)
Jack Plummer (no relation to Jake Plummer, former NFL QB) is under center and has elite WR David Bell at his disposal, along with Zander Horvath and King Doerue at running back. However, Oregon State is usually known as a slouch, but a deep dive into their 2-7 season last year reveals, much like Purdue, a bunch of narrow losses. This team easily could have been 7-2, and they beat their rival and PAC12 champion Oregon last year 41-38 to end the season. The Beavers feature Colorado transfer, Sam Noyer, at QB, but he does not have a lot of receiving weapons from a weak passing team last year. Oregon State's strength will be its offensive line, with all five starters back from last year. The question will be, can Purdue be much better defending the run than they were last year? The Boilermakers gave up 150 yards and 3.5 touchdowns last year on the ground. I see Purdue's offense as much better than Oregon State's, but the Beavers' ability to run will keep this one close, something along the lines of 34-31.
Take Oregon State +7 or Purdue money line -280 in a parlay
UTSA @ Illinois (-4)
Much like the Nebraska game, Illinois should either win by at least three touchdowns or cancel the rest of the season. It scares me a bit the line in this is so close, since a Big Ten team is basically playing an FCS team, but hey, let's take advantage. Illinois is coming off a 30-22 win over Nebraska and should easily cover here. The Illinois defense gave up almost 400 yards last week and a lot of it from the Nebraska QB. UTSA's senior quarterback Frank Harris has registered 2,116 passing yards, 654 rushing yards, and 24 total touchdowns in his career, so the Orange have their hands full with him. However, Illinois should have no trouble moving the ball and scoring at will. I see this as a 45-24 win for Illinois.
Take Illinois -4
~Michael Patrick Day, Irish Proud and 12oz Sports Writer