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Cappin’ the B1G: Rutgers Football and Big Ten Week 6 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Iowa v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

“That’s called a winning streak!”

For the first time this season, I’ve put together back to back winning weeks unit wise and feel more confident than ever in my big unit (he he) games. I need to be more selective and not just pick games for the sake of picking them and I think we can put together some big weeks from here on out. Last week I went 6-7-1 overall with a 3-4-1 record in wagered games but I hit some big games and ended up profiting 3 units for the week to bring us closer to even on the year. Hopefully Week 6 is kind to me and I can finally get into Profitsville.

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 5:

  1. Rutgers/Ohio State UNDER 59 (3 units) W
  2. Maryland -10 (3 units) W
  3. Iowa -13.5 (2 units) L
  4. Wisconsin +10.5 (2 units) W
  5. Minnesota +3 (2 units) PUSH
  6. Rutgers +38.5 (1 unit) L
  7. Michigan State -6.5 (1 unit) L
  8. Michigan State/Indiana OVER 52.5 (1 unit) L

To recap the season:

  • Overall record: 46-38-2
  • Wagered Games Record: 18-22-2
  • Season Units: -3 units

Time for Week 6. All aboard the money train!!!

I will lead with the Rutgers game and list the rest of the Big Ten games in the order that they will kickoff on Saturday.

Michigan Wolverines at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Saturday October 8th, 7 PM
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Michigan -27.5
  • Total: 53

Well…at least the tailgate will be fun! It’s becoming clearer every week that passes that this is going to be a major rebuilding process for Head Coach Chris Ash in Piscataway. I’m completely puzzled as to why he won’t name Tylin Oden as the starting QB but that’s his decision and I’ll respect it. Michigan comes into town with one of the best defenses in the country so it’s looking pretty grim for Rutgers to get to double digits in this one.

Michigan was finally slowed down a bit last week when Wisconsin came to town and was able to make QB Wilton Speight struggle for the first time this season as Michigan could only put 14 points on the scoreboard even though their kickers did the offense zero favors. The Wolverines missed a total of three field goals against Wisconsin so they should have gotten 20 points against a very tough Wisconsin defense and I shudder to think what they will do this week in Piscataway. Rutgers defense looked very solid for the first quarter and a half at Ohio State but then the wheels fell off and Urban Meyer set the difficulty to “Rookie” before dropping a fifty burger on his former defensive coordinator. Rutgers was already paper thin at linebacker and now Greg Jones is up in the air to play in this one after a scary injury in Ohio State so Michigan will be able to use De’Veon Smith and their stable of RB’s to run the ball at will Saturday night.

Rutgers seems to slowly be handing the keys to the offense to true freshman QB Tylin Oden but they’ve yet to fully commit, as Chris Laviano will start Saturday against Michigan. As Rutgers fans, we all know how this story ends: Laviano ends up going 2/15 passing before Oden comes in when Rutgers is already down three scores. Last week, Rutgers was only able to put up 116 total yards on offense against Ohio State and a Michigan defense comes to town that is just as talented as the Buckeyes on defense. Last week, the Wolverines held Wisconsin to their fewest total yards in a game in 20 years. Have fun trying to move the ball on them Coach Mehringer!

I don’t see how this game ends in anything other than a very comfortable Michigan win. Rutgers can’t score!!! Someone tell me how Rutgers moves the ball against this defense. The Scarlet Knights can’t even avoid going three and out to give their defense a rest. The Wolverines win in blowout fashion behind the legs of De’Veon Smith and the rest of the Michigan rushing attack. I’ll probably be at Stuff Yer Face by the end of the third ordering shots to numb the pain.

  • Projected Score: Michigan 42 – Rutgers 7
  • Spread Pick: Michigan -27.5 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 53 (1 unit)

Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Saturday October 8th, 12 PM
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Iowa -1.5
  • Total: 51

The fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes have to be in complete disbelief after they suffered their second loss of the season so early to a team that I said couldn’t score at the Bunny Ranch. The Northwestern offense that I made a joke about hung 38 points on Iowa IN IOWA! Holy hell! Minnesota suffered their first defeat of the season last week in overtime against Penn State in Happy Valley and will look to bounce back this week at home versus the Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s offense continues to be heavily run based where they utilize a two headed monster of RB’s LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley who have combined for 10 rushing touchdowns so far this season. Iowa put up 31 points last week but they finished with under 300 yards which is something that has to have Hawkeye fans very concerned. Minnesota allows 123 yards per game on the ground on the defensive side of the ball so the Hawkeyes will try and pound the ball as usual to find success against the Golden Gophers defense.

On offense, Minnesota has gone with a heavy dose of running back Rodney Smith this season to find success moving the ball downfield. Smith had 104 yards last week in Happy Valley and is averaging a hair under 5 yards per carry in 2016 to go along with five touchdowns. This is good news for the Gophers as Iowa has allowed 128.8 yards per game on the ground on defense, including 198 last week against Northwestern. Minnesota enters this game averaging 228.3 yards per game on the ground so this looks like a very good matchup for the Gophers.

This one has all the makings of an old-school Big Ten slugfest rushing attack game where whichever teams defense steps up will ultimately come out on top. Loyal readers know I’m a sucker for the Gophers this year and Iowa seems to be having a “Britney Spears in 2007” type of meltdown right now so I’ll take the home team and the points here. Total seems about right to me.

  • Projected Score: Iowa 21 – Minnesota 30
  • Spread Pick: Minnesota +1.5 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 51 (0 units)

Maryland Terrapins at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Saturday October 8th, 12 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Maryland -1
  • Total: 58

Wow. Maryland is FAVORED IN HAPPY VALLEY?!?! Who saw this coming? Maryland enters this game undefeated and are favored to leave Pennsylvania with a 5-0 record against James FrankLOLin’s Nittany Lions. I was very bullish on the Terps before the season started but even I didn’t think they would come into Penn State 4-0 AND favored to win. The times they are a changin’.

Maryland’s offense has absolutely blossomed this year under new offensive coordinator Walt Bell as they are averaging a whopping 466.3 yards per game. The Terps turned the ball over for the first time in 2016 last week when Perry Hills threw an early pick against Purdue in a game Maryland would ultimately win by 43 points. Terps RB Ty Johnson is coming off of a 204 yard rushing performance and he will be looking to repeat that against a Penn State defense that is starting Manti Te’o’s girlfriend at MLB this week. Seriously though, the Nittany Lions are giving up 216.6 yards rushing per game this season and Maryland is extremely effective running the football. Gonna be a long day for Head Douche Jimmy Franklin’s defense.

Penn State narrowly escaped with an overtime victory against Minnesota last week and needed a long FG at the gun just to get to OT. The Penn State offense still looks dreadful even after they secured their third win of the season last week. Nittany Lions RB Saquon Barkley had just 63 yards on 20 carries and QB Trace McSorley’s pop-gun arm could only muster a 19 of 40 performance behind that putrid PSU offensive line. The Terps are coming into this game with a rock solid defense that was on heavy display last week when they held Purdue to just 10 (TEN!) rushing yards and 205 yards total. Maryland also is averaging a very impressing 3.5 sacks per game so it may be a long afternoon for McSorley behind his traffic cone offensive line.

We all know who I’m going to pick here. I love Maryland. I hate Penn State. I truly believe that Maryland will win this game pretty handily considering how solid they are with their rushing attack and their ability to get to the quarterback. All of Penn State’s weaknesses as a team can be exploited by the Terps here. It’s time for back to back to back 3 unit picks. TRIPLE BARREL BABY!

  • Projected Score: Maryland 31 – Penn State 21
  • Spread Pick: Maryland -1 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 58 (1 unit)

Brigham Young University Cougars at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday October 8th, 3:30 PM
  • Point Spread: Michigan State -6
  • Total: 50

Am I reading this correctly? Michigan State is looking to avoid it’s third straight loss of the season?! Wow. So the Spartans won’t be making a return trip to the College Football Playoff this year but a Mark Dantonio team doesn’t just lie down and quit when the going gets tough. BYU enters this game after travelling roughly 900,000 miles already this season and they are looking to be the team that hands Michigan State their third straight loss for the first time since 2009. Good luck Mormon’s!

BYU is coming off of a pretty impressive performance on the ground against Toledo last week. RB Jamaal Williams carried the ball 30 times for 286 yards and five touchdowns. Holy crap. Unfortunately, BYU is forced to be pretty one dimensional on offense this season as QB Taysom Hill looks like a shell of his former self. Hill has just five touchdown passes to seven interceptions this season and looks terrified to be on the field at times. This is bad news because the Michigan State defense has been very solid against the run, allowing just 3.1 yards per carry on the season.

Michigan State QB Tyler O’Connor looked impressive last week, tossing three touchdowns against a solid Indiana defense. O’Connor will need to carry that performance over to this week against a BYU defense that has been getting absolutely throttled, including giving up 52 points last week to Toledo. I honestly think that this point in the season that Toledo has a better offense than Michigan State however so it will be interesting to see how Michigan State finds paydirt in this one. BYU has actually looked impressive in some of their games against rushing attacks so they should be able to hold their own against Sparty’s rushing attack.

I think BYU would actually have a legitimate shot to win this game if whoever made their schedule wasn’t cackling like a movie villain when they mapped out their travel plans. It’s very hard to fly around as much as BYU has already this season and stay sharp. I think this game is closer than the spread indicates it will be but I’m not very confident in it. I’ve seen everyone predicting this to be a high scoring affair but I like it to go under. Michigan State will contain the BYU rushing attack and Taysom Hill looks like crap this season. Sparty can’t toss the ball much this year either so I like a low scoring, close game.

  • Projected Score: BYU 17 – Michigan State 24
  • Spread Pick: Michigan State -6 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 50 (1 unit)

Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Saturday October 8th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -29
  • Total: 59

Ohio State was able to open up it’s conference schedule with a 58-0 rout of Rutgers last week and welcomes Indiana to the friendly confines of the Horseshoe this week. The Hoosier’s are 3-1 and fresh off of a home win against Michigan State. Indiana is slowly but surely turning into a good football team under Kevin Wilson.

Indiana QB Richard Lagow has made several mistakes so far this season but he has led the Hoosier’s to an impressive 3-1 record behind 9 touchdown passes as well as completing over 60% of his throws. The bad news for Lagow is that he’s facing off against the nations top defense in terms of passing efficiency so he will have his work cut out for him this week. The good news for the Hoosier’s is that they have a very balanced offensive attack and can rely on RB Devine Redding who should get 1,000 yards for the second year in a row. If Indiana can keep Ohio State on their toes with their balanced offensive attack, they can keep this game within reach.

The Ohio State offense has been like a bat out of hell so far this season, destroying anybody who stands in their way. Although they’ve played three cupcakes (Bowling Green, Tulsa, and GULP…Rutgers) they also had a very impressive showing on the road against Oklahoma. Fun fact: Ohio State is outscoring their opponents 228-37 this season so far. Buckeyes QB JT Barrett is making his case for the stiff arm trophy this season as he has 14 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions to go along with 200 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on the ground in 4 games. Ohio State also features 2 RB’s with over 7 yards per carry so far this season so a stout Indiana defense has their work cut out for them this Saturday.

In the past two seasons, Ohio State has struggled a bit against Indiana, beating them 34-27 and 42-27 so this has potential to be much closer than the experts think. If Indiana can somehow, someway win the turnover battle, we could have a very interesting game on our hands late in the second half. It’s tough not to take the points here with a balanced Indiana offensive attack and a defense that has been better than expected. I’ll go with recent history here and say the Hoosier’s keep it within four touchdowns.

  • Projected Score: Indiana 17 – Ohio State 41
  • Spread Pick: Indiana +29 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: Under 59 (0 units)

Purdue Boilermakers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Saturday October 8th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Illinois -10
  • Total: 54

So this is yet another surprise to me this year. Did anyone think Illinois would be a double digit favorite over a Big Ten opponent this year? I sure didn’t. Lovie Smith is slowly but surely rebuilding the Illinois football program and had an impressive showing against undefeated Nebraska in Lincoln last week, losing by just 15 points. Purdue is fresh off of an absolute drubbing at the hands of the Maryland Terrapins and Boilermakers Head Coach Darrell Hazell has to have one of the hottest seats in the country right now. If Purdue drops this game, Hazell might not make it to the halfway point of the season.

Purdue was looking impressive on offense to start the season, until they ran into the Maryland Terrapins. Purdue was held to a paltry ten rushing yards last week and just 205 yards total on offense. QB David Blough finished the game 18 of 41 passing and is connecting on just 56.1 percent of his passes this season. If there is a defense that Purdue can right their ship against, it’s Illinois. The Illini are allowing an average of 440.7 yards over their last three games versus FBS competition so Purdue has to be able to move the ball this week or Hazell might be as good as gone.

Illinois expects more out of their offense after scoring a combined 26 points in their last two games. Senior QB Wes Lunt was looked upon to do big things this season and he hasn’t met expectations so far. Lunt was just 13 of 22 for 133 yards against Nebraska last week and his confidence has to be rattled since he’s not getting nearly as many attempts as he thought he would. This could be the week that Lovie Smith lets Lunt loose a little bit and goes with a more balanced attack. Illinois should find success on the ground as Purdue allowed 400 yards on the ground last week against Maryland.

I don’t know who the hell is going to cover this game. I haven’t watched Illinois much at all this year and from what I’ve seen from Purdue they might be just emotionally shattered after the beating they took last week. Darrell Hazell has to know that he’s a dead man walking which can’t help matters much. I think this is going to be a very ugly game with both teams playing hot potato until Illinois eventually seals it late. The line looks pretty sharp to me but I’m comfortable laying a couple units on the under here.

  • Projected Score: Purdue 17 – Illinois 28
  • Spread Pick: Illinois -10 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 54 (2 units)

Weekly picks recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Michigan -27.5 (3 units)
  2. Minnesota +1.5 (3 units)
  3. Maryland -1 (3 units)
  4. Purdue/Illinois UNDER 54 (2 units)
  5. Michigan/Rutgers UNDER 53 (1 unit)
  6. Maryland/Penn State UNDER 58 (1 unit)
  7. BYU/Michigan State UNDER 50 (1 unit)
  8. Indiana +29 (1 unit)

So much for being selective. Hope this is a low scoring week! Thanks for reading. See youse guys next week.