We did not pick games last week because...well...uh, I was out of town. Luckily 12oz Sports did not fire me so let's get going in week 5.
(Lines According to BetUS as of 09/29/2021 @ 7:15 pm ET)
What we like:
#5 Iowa (-3) @ Maryland - The Hawkeyes and Terps are both undefeated and this game is huge for both squads. Iowa is tied with Purdue for first in the West with what is looking like a weak division this year. Maryland needs as many wins as they can get before running through the gauntlet of Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. I see the Terps controlling this game with their offense, take them and the points. Maryland leads the Big Ten in passing and is 8th in rushing, but Iowa is 12th in rushing and passing. Iowa has the better defense but they did last week as well against a far less threatening opponent.
#11 Ohio State (-15) @ Rutgers - I know Rutgers looks improved, and they are hosting this game. However, the Buckeyes are 7-0 against Rutgers with their lowest output being 49 points. The Buckeyes are also 2nd in rushing and passing compared to Rutgers' 9th in both categories. Rutgers has one hope, defense. The Buckeyes are 13th in rushing and 12th in passing in Big Ten defense. Does anyone think the Scarlet Knights can outpace the Buckeyes? Well, maybe. I'm taking the OVER at 58.5
#14 Michigan (+2) @ Wisconsin - I guess vegas oddsmakers take some stock in home-field advantage, regardless, this should be interesting. Michigan is 1st in rushing while Wisconsin is 1st in rush defense. In fact, Wisconsin has the #1 overall defense in the Big Ten. However, in a game that could be a defensive battle, Michigan converts 48.9% of their third downs which ranks 2nd behind Ohio State, while Wisconsin converts 27.7% which is dead last in the conference. Michigan also leads the average scoring (40.3-19) and defensive points against (11.8-21.3). Take Michigan and the points.
Western Kentucky @ #17 Michigan State (-11) - I know the Hilltoppers played Army and Indiana close, but Sparty had a scare last week and to me that either indicates an eye-opener or a sign of things to come. Michigan State averages 35.3 per game so they can hang points like Western, and they hold a distinct advantage in rushing average (215.5 - 81.3). It will come down to whether they can take sustainable drives to take the wind out of the sails of Western since the Spartans do get struck through the air rather easily (13th in Big Ten @ 264 yds/gm). I see State pounding the football and wearing down their opponent, so I am taking the UNDER @ 64.
Minnesota @ Purdue (-2.5) - This is the Boilers homecoming, David Bell should be back, and Minnesota just lost a game that in theory could demoralize a program (31 point favorites). Purdue is dead last in rushing in the Big Ten, hindered by the loss of Zander Horvath. However, they are 3rd in passing with their stud receiver back. Minnesota will need to pass against the 3rd ranked pass defense in the Big Ten, and Purdue also owes Minnesota for that horrible pass interference called on Purdue's TE last year. This is a revenge game, on homecoming. Boilers and lay the points.
What we don't like:
Charlotte @ Illinois (-11) - I don't think Charlotte is a team Illinois can ignore, plus they haven't won since Week 1 which includes a loss to UTSA. I am steering clear of this one.
Northwestern @ Nebraska (-12) - That is a large line for a team hanging their hat on two good losses (Michigan State by 3, Oklahoma by 7). Nebraska should win, but the line is too large, and Northwestern is one of those teams that could start clicking at any moment. I'll pass.
Indiana @ #4 Penn State (-13) - I don't see a scenario where the Lions lose here, but they beat Villanova by 21 last week. Is that good or bad? I would take Penn State straight up in a parlay (-500) but only in a parlay.
Make sure to weigh in with your picks in the comments below!
~Michael Patrick Day, Irish Proud & 12oz Sports Writer