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Cappin’ the B1G: Rutgers Football and Big Ten Week 11 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Indiana v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Hey whaddya know, a winning week! It wasn’t much after a bunch of my one unit plays crapped the bed but I’m feeling really confident heading into this week. I truly feel that I’m going to have my best week yet and hit my stride entering the home stretch to finish up the regular season with a winning record heading into bowl season. The only question is whether you all have the guts to ride along with me!!! (Don’t.)

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 10:

  1. Minnesota -17 (3 units) L
  2. Rutgers +14 (2 units) W
  3. Wisconsin/Northwestern UNDER 41 (2 units) W
  4. Penn State -7.5 (2 units) W
  5. Ohio State -17 (2 units) W
  6. Indiana/Rutgers OVER 58.5 (1 unit) W
  7. Michigan State -9.5 (1 unit) L
  8. Northwestern +7 (1 unit) L
  9. Maryland +31.5 (1 unit) L
  10. Iowa/Penn State UNDER 52.5 (1 unit) L

To recap the season:

  • Overall Record: 77-69-2 (52.7%)
  • Wagered Games Record: (44.6%)
  • Season Units: -16

Alrighty. 16 seems very doable this week. Time to hit some games hard. Let’s get it.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday November 12th, 12 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Michigan State -14
  • Total: 56.5

After reaching the College Football Playoff last season, Michigan State is experiencing all time lows in program history, starting 0-6 in the Big Ten for the first time since…ever. Rutgers is also 0-6 in conference play but I expected that a little more than Michigan State’s performance thus far this season. The Scarlet Knights have played much better in the past two games, losing to Minnesota and Indiana by a combined 8 points and new QB Gio Rescigno has fans hoping for a brighter future. In this game, Michigan State may be without starting QB Tyler O’Connor due to concussion issues so we will likely see the mobile Damion Terry play in this one. Michigan State is dealing with a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball and this very well might be Rutgers best chance of snatching a Big Ten conference win this season. If RB Robert Martin is healthy, the offense should be able to put up enough points to make this a very close game and I think Rutgers has a legitimate shot at pulling off the “upset.” I’m taking the points here and feel pretty confident about it.

  • Projected Score: Rutgers 20 – Michigan State 21
  • Spread Pick: Rutgers +14 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 56.5 (1 unit)

Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Saturday November 12th, 12 PM
  • TV: ABC/ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Penn State -7.5
  • Total: 59

It pains me to say this, but Penn State has to be one of the best two loss teams in the country and I don’t think anyone wants to play them right now. Head Coach James Franklin went from hot seat to genius in a matter of weeks and they head to Indiana to take on the upset minded Hoosiers. Indiana can become bowl eligible for the second year in a row with a win this week after two straight victories over Maryland and Rutgers. This line seems a little fishy as Penn State is only a one touchdown favorite despite how amazing they’ve looked. Nittany Lions RB Saquon Barkley is looking like a dark horse Heisman candidate after rushing for 167 yards last week in a blowout win over Iowa. Look for Barkley to get a ton of carries in this one as QB Trace McSorley will look to set up the play action later in the game. Indiana QB Richard Lagow is fresh off of a 394 yard game against Rutgers last week but he is mistake prone, throwing for 13 interceptions so far this season and Penn State is off of their best defensive performance of the season against Iowa. This has all the makings of a two touchdown Penn State win but I’m going against the public here and taking the home team catching seven at home.

  • Projected Score: Penn State 28 – Indiana 24
  • Spread Pick: Indiana +7 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: Under 59 (0 units)

Northwestern Wildcats at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Saturday November 12th, 12 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Northwestern -13.5
  • Total: 59

Northwestern is in the middle of a two game losing streak against top-10 opponents which they lost by a combined 18 points. Purdue is an absolute dumpster fire right now after dropping 4 in a row and railing to rush for more than 47 yards in each of those losses. Northwestern couldn’t get RB Justin Jackson going last week against a tough Wisconsin offense but they should get back on track this week against a Purdue defense that allows 5.75 yards per carry. Look for Jackson to get over 200 yards this week to pace the Northwestern offense. Boilermakers QB David Blough has been a turnover machine this season and it’s due in large part to a complete lack of a rushing attack on offense. Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson will have a nice day against a Purdue defense that has been getting shredded through the air to go along with their inability to stop the run. I think Northwestern covers the 13.5 points easily and it’s one of my strongest picks of the week.

  • Projected Score: Northwestern 41 – Purdue 21
  • Spread Pick: Northwestern -13.5 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 59 (0 units)

Illinois Fighting Illini at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Saturday November 12th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -26.5
  • Total: 39

Wisconsin will look to stay atop the Big Ten West this weekend when they take on Lovie Smith’s Illinois Fighting Illini squad. Wisconsin has played a ton of close games recently but they should be able to have a relatively easy win this Saturday against an Illini team that is riding high after beating a hollow Michigan State team last week. Wisconsin is running the ball more successfully than they’ve been able to throw it with their two QB system and they should be able to rely on RB Corey Clement to shred the Illini defense to set up some short passes to move down the field with ease. The only way Illinois has a prayer in this game is if they play a completely perfect game with no turnovers and even then it might not be enough. Illinois will likely be rolling with incumbent starting QB Jeff George Jr in this one and he has struggled mightily this season, completing just 42.3% of his passes. Illinois only prayer in this game is to get an absolutely perfect defensive performance while taking some deep shots down the field and connecting on them. I don’t see that happening but they will make this one competitive against the spread.

  • Projected Score: Wisconsin 28 – Illinois 6
  • Spread Pick: Illinois +26.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 39 (1 unit)

Ohio State Buckeyes at Maryland Terrapins

  • Saturday November 12th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -29
  • Total: 57.5

Ohio State looked less than stellar in their two weeks leading up to their game against Nebraska and then somebody awoke the sleeping giant when they hung 62 on the Cornhuskers. The Buckeyes are going to look to keep it rolling against a Maryland team that is reeling lately, dropping four of five and they remain one victory away from becoming bowl eligible in DJ Durkin’s inaugural season in College Park. Once again the story here for Maryland will be the availability of starting QB Perry Hills who was knocked out of the game against Michigan last week. If Hills can’t go for the Terps on Saturday, it’s going to be a long afternoon for backup QB Caleb Rowe against an Ohio State defense that looked downright deadly last week against Nebraska. Buckeyes QB JT Barrett got back into the Heisman conversation after throwing for four touchdown passes last week. Ohio State has a pair of RB’s in Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber who have to be salivating at the prospect of facing a Maryland defense that ranks 12th in the conference versus the run. 29 points is a lot to lay on the road but Maryland is far from a tough venue to play in so I think the Buckeyes make quick work of the Terps on the road.

  • Projected Score: Ohio State 45 – Maryland 10
  • Spread Pick: Ohio State -29 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 57.5 (0 units)

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Saturday November 12th, 7:30 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Nebraska -7
  • Total: 47.5

Minnesota enters this game at 7-2 and they’re looking to vault themselves up into the thick of the Big Ten West race when they visit Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers. Nebraska limps into this game fresh off of their first loss but boy was it a big one, falling 62-3 in Columbus, Ohio. Nebraska lost more than the game as their starting QB Tommy Armstrong suffered a very scary injury and had to be carted off the field in an ambulance. Huskers HC Mike Riley said he’s not sure if Armstrong will be able to go on Saturday. If Armstrong can’t play, the Huskers will likely roll with Ryker Fyfe who ended up 5 for 18 passing for 52 yards and a pick in relief duty last week. Fyfe will have an easier time this week against a Minnesota pass defense that ranks second to last in the conference. Minnesota’s star offensive player, RB Rodney Smith is a little hobbled with an ankle injury but he should be in for a big day against a Nebraska rush defense that ranks 11th in the conference, allowing 4.61 yard per carry. Look for Smith to try and carry the Golden Gophers to their 8th win of the season here and put his team right in the mix for an appearance in the conference championship game. This line of Nebraska -7 appears to indicate that Armstrong will play but even if he does, I think 7 is entirely too many points to lay to a solid team like Minnesota. I’m taking Minnesota to win outright here.

  • Projected Score: Minnesota 27 – Nebraska 24
  • Spread Pick: Minnesota +7 (4 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 47.5 (1 unit)

Michigan Wolverines at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Saturday November 12th, 8 PM
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Michigan -21.5
  • Total: 50.5

It seems as if nobody will be able to slow down the Michigan train this season as they just demolish any team that stands in their way. The Wolverines travel to play an Iowa team that is really struggling with a 5-4 record and are looking for one more victory to become bowl eligible after appearing in the Rose Bowl last season. Michigan’s offense has been very balanced and are fresh off an absolute whooping of Maryland. Michigan has the 22nd ranked rushing offense in the country and they should be able to keep it up this Saturday against a very soft Iowa front seven. Iowa ranks 111th in the country against the run which is absolutely amazingly putrid. Michigan QB Wilton Speight gets better every week and he should lead the Wovlerines to another big win this week. Iowa won’t be able to do much on offense this week because the Michigan defense is just too fast and athletic. Iowa QB CJ Beathard is a solid signal caller but he doesn’t have the weapons around him to make this a competitive game. Michigan is allowing third down conversions at a 19% rate. Good luck Hawkeyes! Little note: Iowa is 1-9-1 against the spread in their last 11 home games. Give me the Wolverines no matter what the spread is.

  • Projected Score: Michigan 45 – Iowa 10
  • Spread Pick: Michigan -21.5 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 50.5 (0 units)

Weekly picks recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Minnesota +7 (4 units)
  2. Rutgers +14 (3 units)
  3. Northwestern -13.5 (3 units)
  4. Michigan -21.5 (3 units)
  5. Ohio State -29 (2 units)
  6. Rutgers/Michigan State UNDER 56.5 (1 unit)
  7. Indiana +7 (1 unit)
  8. Wisconsin/Illinois UNDER 39 (1 unit)
  9. Minnesota/Nebraska OVER 47.5 (1 unit)

Shooters shoot.