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Cappin’ the B1G: Rutgers Football and Big Ten Week 9 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Well, I went full blown JR Smith last week, heaving up tons of picks and hoping that my 55% overall picking percentage would net me a good bit of units to get us ahead on the season. Unfortunately, my shots came up mostly airballs and now I have quite the hole to climb out of. But hey! I love a good challenge so lets move forwards and maybe my picks will become so bad that you guys can make money going opposite of them!

I often tweet picks I feel strong about throughout the week that aren’t Big Ten games. If you want to see my other picks, be sure to follow me by clicking the blue button below:

To recap Week 8:

  1. Michigan State -2 (3 units) L
  2. Wisconsin -3.5 (3 units) W
  3. Indiana/Northwestern OVER 52.5 (3 units) L
  4. Michigan -36 (3 units) L
  5. Purdue/Nebraska UNDER 61.5 (2 units) W
  6. Ohio State -19 (2 units) L
  7. Rutgers +17.5 (1 unit) W
  8. Rutgers/Minnesota UNDER 44 (1 unit) L
  9. Wisconsin/Iowa UNDER 42.5 (1 unit) W
  10. Illinois/Michigan OVER 55 (1 unit) L
  11. Michigan State/Maryland UNDER 54 (1 unit) W
  12. Ohio State/Penn State OVER 57.5 (1 unit) L

I took a unit off of my Michigan State play since I pointed out last week that the 4 unit play was contingent on Perry Hills not playing and he did. I probably would’ve made it a 2 unit play if I knew Hills was starting but I’m not gonna cheat and take away a whole two units because I was too lazy to edit the article before kickoff so I think taking 1 unit off is fair.

To recap the season:

  • Overall Record: 66-56-2 (54%)
  • Wagered Games Record: 29-36-2 (44.6%)
  • Season Units: -15 units

15 is a pretty special number for me since my birthday is April 15th. Maybe it’s a sign! The future is looking bright for my picks guys. Might want to put some sunglasses on before feasting your eyes on my Week 9 STONE COLD LOCKS! Lets go!

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Saturday October 29th, 12 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Minnesota -9
  • Total: Not released at time of publication

My preseason darling Minnesota is looking to win their third straight game and get their sixth win of the season when they travel to Champaign, Ill this weekend to take on Lovie Smith’s Fighting Illini squad. Minnesota hasn’t looked all that impressive lately and this will be an opportunity for them to try and hit their stride to take on the latter half of their schedule. Illinois is fresh off a whipping (but covering) against Michigan and they will look to bounce back at home this week.

QB Mitch Leidner is back in full swing for the Golden Gophers but he has looked downright dreadful in the passing game, throwing just one touchdown to five interceptions. Minnesota will rely heavily on stud RB Rodney Smith to carry them to victory this week. Smith has at least 100 yards in his last two games and eight touchdowns to lead the conference. Illinois is ranked toward the bottom half of the Big Ten in rushing defense, letting up an average of 238.8 yards in their last five games. Leidner shouldn’t have to do much with his arm in this one.

Illinois struggled mightily on the road last week in the Big House against Michigan where QB Jeff George Jr didn’t even complete a pass in the first half of his first career start. George could get the nod again this week with Wes Lunt and Chayce Crouch dealing with their own individual injury issues. Illinois ran for just 77 yards last week and that will be a problem against a Minnesota defense that allows just 4.86 yards per play which is good for third in the conference.

This game seems like it’s going to be a hard fought offensive struggle with Minnesota having the edge on all sides of the field. It should be an easy Minnesota victory, however Minnesota Head Coach Tracy Claeys is an absolutely awful game day coach and Lovie Smith blows him out of the water in terms of decision making. I think Minnesota wins but Illinois covers here.

  • Projected Score: Illinois 10 – Minnesota 17
  • Spread Pick: Illinois +9 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: N/A

Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday October 29th, 12 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Michigan -24.5
  • Total: 54

Well I can say for certain that at the beginning of this season I never would have thought Michigan State would be a 3 score underdog to Michigan at home but here we are. Michigan has been bullying their way through a Charmin soft part of their schedule and now they get the worst Spartans team since Mark Dantonio has running things there. Michigan State has lost five straight games and have looked like complete dog crap in all of their games. This one could get out of hand.

Michigan has been putting up a lot of points lately but against some horrific defenses and that trend will continue this Saturday in East Lansing. The Wolverines have a great rushing attack to go along with a serviceable passing game. The Spartans have let up 28, 30, 24, 31, 54, and 28 points in their last six weeks and the lack of talent has shown. Michigan State is ranked dead last in the conference in terms of sacks per game so Wilton Speight should have all day to throw when they’ve used the run enough to set up the pass.

Michigan State is still unsure of who their QB will in this one but I have to think senior Tyler O’Connor will get the nod. He has completed 61 percent of his passes and thrown 11 touchdowns. The Spartans rushing attack will have a very difficult time going up against this vaunted Michigan defense and I think the only way Michigan State has a prayer here is if they take some shots deep downfield early and often. The Wolverines are ranked first in the entire country in scoring defense and total defense which is just absurd. They also allow just 13% third down conversions. This defense is scary good.

Last years game between these two teams had an ending for the ages and I’m sure Jim Harbaugh hasn’t forgotten it. Michigan State has actually covered the spread in 8 straight seasons versus the Wolverines and I think they do it again Saturday. Mark Dantonio is still one of the best coaches in the country and I’ll take him getting 24 at home no matter who the opponent is.

  • Projected Score: Michigan 38 – Michigan State 17
  • Spread Pick: Michigan State +24.5 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 54 (0 units)

Penn State Nittany Lions at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Saturday October 29th, 12 PM
  • Point Spread: Penn State -14
  • Total: 56.5

Last week Penn State drove a dagger through my heart when they somehow beat Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes at home. If there’s any solace I can take from that result, it’s that James Franklin now has his “signature win” and now he will probably be there for a little while longer. Penn State is back in the Top 25 for the first time in 5 years and excuse me while I go throw up. Can this be a let down spot on the road at Purdue?

Penn State got the win last week but it wasn’t due to their success on offense. The Nittany Lions had just 276 yards of total offense and QB Trace McSorley went 8 of 23 passing. Penn State’s offense will go as far as stud RB Saquon Barkley will take them but they have a nice and easy matchup this week against a Purdue defense than is ranked dead last in the conference, allowing 441 yards per game.

Purdue put up a hell of a fight last week on the road against Nebraska but they ultimately fell short. The Boilermakers mustered just 24 yards on 22 carries but will look to improve on the ground this week against Penn State’s Big Ten 12th ranked rushing defense. Purdue QB David Blough has been an absolute turnover machine this season and he needs to hold onto the ball for the Boilermakers to have a shot at the upset in this one.

Without looking, I don’t think I’ve taken Penn State to cover once yet this season. Since I’m down in units I’m going to switch it up and put some faith in James Franklin this week. Maybe I can jinx them into losing to Purdue in this one. Nittany Lions BIG!

  • Projected Score: Penn State 38 – Purdue 17
  • Spread Pick: Penn State -14 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 56.5 (0 units)

Maryland Terrapins at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Saturday September 29th, 3:30 PM
  • Point Spread: Indiana -5
  • Total: 51

Along with Minnesota, Maryland was my other preseason darling and they’ve made me look good so far, already matching the 5 win total they were projected to get by oddsmakers before the season started. Maryland is fresh off a home win against Michigan State and they will travel to Bloomington to take on an Indiana team that is in the midst of a losing streak.

Maryland QB Perry Hills was able to start last week against the Spartans and looked great, going 21 for 27 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. The entire Terps offense bounced back in a huge way, posting 447 yards after not being able to get much going the two weeks prior. The Maryland rushing attack looked great as both Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison both had over 100 yards and the Terps are now third in the conference in rushing yards per game. Indiana has a sneakily good defense as they were projected to be horrible on that side of the ball coming into 2016.

Indiana couldn’t get much going on offense last week in their lost against Northwestern as QB Richard Lagow threw the ball 59 times but they were only able to put up 14 points. Lagow threw for two interceptions to bring his season total to 11 and he will need to cut down on the turnovers if Indiana has bowl game aspirations. Maryland is ranked last in the conference in terms of interceptions so Lagow should have some reprieve this week. The Terps also have allowed 229 yards on the ground in three straight games so look for Indiana to utilize their rushing attack a little more in this one.

I think the wrong team is favored in this one. Indiana can be a tough place to play at night but I think DJ Durkin’s defense will force the Hoosier’s to make a couple of timely mistakes and the Terps use their balanced offensive attack to win this one outright.

  • Projected Score: Maryland 28 – Indiana 21
  • Spread Pick: Maryland +5 (4 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 51 (0 units)

Northwestern Wildcats at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Saturday October 29th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -26
  • Total: 53

It seems like all Ohio State needed to suffer their first loss was for me to have the utmost confidence that they would steamroll Penn State. I still think Ohio State will make a run to the College Football Playoff and they will get back on track this week against the Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern is on a nice little three game winning streak right now but they’ve got a tall order ahead of them on Saturday.

Northwestern’s offense has looked absolutely incredible ever since I wrote that they couldn’t score at the Bunny Ranch. In their past three games, they have averaged 38.7 points and two of those victories have come on the road. RB Justin Jackson has been phenomenal during the winning streak, averaging 5.1 yards per carry with three touchdowns. Ohio State’s defense did a very good job against Penn State last week, holding them to just 276 yards of total offense so you can’t fault the defense for the loss.

Ohio State outgained Penn State by almost 150 yards last week and won the time of possession battle in a big way but still couldn’t escape Happy Valley with a victory. I grabbed a milk carton at the grocery store this week and saw Ohio State RB Curtis Samuel on it after he only got two carries last week against a porous Penn State rushing defense. Look for Samuel to get much more involved this week against a surprisingly good Northwestern rush defense.

This is going to be a brutal game for Northwestern as they have to face a very pissed off Buckeyes squad coming off of a loss. JT Barrett will get back on track this week against Northwestern’s defense and will give the home fans plenty to cheer about. Ohio State’s defense will slow down Northwestern’s offensive attack and all will be right in the world when this one ends.

  • Projected Score: Northwestern 17 – Ohio State 48
  • Spread Pick: Ohio State -26 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: Over 53 (2 units)

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Saturday October 29th, 7 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -9
  • Total: 43

In one of the rare picks that I get right when I wager big units on it, Wisconsin did what I thought they would do against Iowa last week, winning against Iowa on the road by 8 points. Pretty sick that this will be the fifth time this season that Wisconsin is facing a top-10 opponent in the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Nebraska is a two score underdog to a team that they are two games ahead of in the Big Ten West. This should be fun.

To be honest, the Cornhuskers haven’t looked that impressive in most of their wins this season and I think it’s going to catch up to them this week. Nebraska barely beat Oregon at home and as we all can see now, the Ducks are a dumpster fire of a team this season. The Nebraska offense is banged up on all levels and Mike Riley will have his work cut out for him to field the best offense he can this week against a very good Wisconsin defense. The Badgers are ranked in the top-10 in the country in total defense, allowing just 300.6 yards per game this season. I think this is the game Huskers QB Tommy Armstrong completely implodes.

Wisconsin appears as if they will roll with a two QB system with Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook both getting reps this Saturday. It will be interesting to see how they are both used against a Nebraska defense that has been exposed through the air a little bit this season. Look for Wisconsin to give RB Corey Clement a heavy dose of carries in this one to take some of the pressure off of both QB’s.

This has all of the makings of a real hard fought, low scoring game. After watching the Wisconsin defense stifle the Ohio State offense at home a couple of weeks ago, I really have a hard time seeing how Nebraska is able to put up points with all of the injuries they’re dealing with on the offensive side of the ball. I think Tommy Armstrong makes a few too many mistakes and Wisconsin comes away with a win and they cover the spread but it’s very close.

  • Projected Score: Nebraska 14 – Wisconsin 24
  • Spread Pick: Wisconsin -9 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: Under 43 (1 unit)

Weekly picks recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Maryland +5 (4 units)
  2. Penn State -14 (3 units)
  3. Michigan State +24.5 (2 units)
  4. Northwestern/Ohio State OVER 53 (2 units)
  5. Illinois +9 (1 unit)
  6. Ohio State -26 (1 unit)
  7. Wisconsin -9 (1 unit)
  8. Nebraska/Wisconsin UNDER 43 (1 unit)

Time to get rich kids! 8-0 coming rig- ah screw it. I stink lately! Fade and print!