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Cappin’ the B1G: Rutgers Football and Big Ten Week 12 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Rutgers v Michigan State Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

One step forward, two steps back seems to be the theme of my inaugural year of writing this weekly article so far as I can’t seem to put together consecutive winning weeks to save my life. I realize now how difficult it is to predict each and every Big Ten game every week with a good deal of accuracy despite being engulfed in it like I have been. This week I actually feel the most confident I have all year in my picks despite my poor record. The fact that I’m over .500 overall in picking each side of each game all season long has to be something to hang my hat on so for the rest of the year my goal is to finish above .500 overall and get my units close to even.

To recap Week 11:

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

To recap the season:

  • Overall Record: 81-78-3
  • Wagered Games Record: 40-51-3
  • Season Units: -19

Got pretty unlucky with Minnesota and Indiana but those are the breaks in the gambling world. Hopefully a few things go my way and we can have a huge week. Onto Week 12! Holy crap it’s already Week 12? Time flies when you’re dumping units every week!

Penn State Nittany Lions at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Saturday November 19th, 8 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Penn State -28
  • Total: 57.5

Well Rutgers fans, the suffering for this season is almost over this season but at least we get a 8 PM kickoff so we can get a good day of tailgating in for the final home game of the season! The rebuilding process hit rock bottom last week when we dropped a big fat goose egg against a Michigan State defense that couldn’t stop a nose bleed all season. In this post, I will try and keep my scarlet tinted glasses off and just predict with my head and not my heart. Penn State has been on fire recently but they were outgained by Indiana on the road last week before pulling away late for a lucky cover (I had Indiana obviously). The Nittany Lions have a trip to the Big Ten title game on the line if they win their last two games which would shake things up in a big way in terms of the College Football Playoff goes. Rutgers QB Gio Rescigno has looked above average since taking over as starter, aside from the Michigan State game last week where everyone on the team seemingly failed to get off of the plane. This is a pride game for Rutgers and they need to show up and show some signs of competitive fire in their final home game of the year. Penn State’s defense has given up 42, 49, 24, and 31 in road games this season so the hope is there for Rutgers to put some points up and keep this one competitive. Unfortunately, I can’t back Rutgers with my brain right now even with a four touchdown line but my heart says we keep it close. I’m just going to put a small play on the over and enjoy my final tailgate of the season.

  • Projected Score: Penn State 49 – Rutgers 24
  • Spread Pick: Rutgers +28 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 57.5 (2 units)

Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday November 19th, 12 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -22
  • Total: 57.5

Penn State has come along and screwed everything up for Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes team. It used to be that all Ohio State had to do to get into the playoff was beat Michigan but now the future looks murky. Michigan State is coming off their first Big Ten win of the season against our beloved Scarlet Knights and it seems like for the first time since I’ve been alive, the Spartans won’t be going bowling in 2016. The Ohio State offense appears to be clicking on all cylinders and JT Barrett has been underrated this year, leading the 2nd scoring offense in the country. Michigan State’s defense has been absolutely dreadful this season, save for last week against Rutgers and it’s hard to imagine the Buckeye’s not putting 40+ up here. Michigan State has really poor QB play but they can run the ball with a moderate amount of success. I don’t think the Spartans will be able to get their ground game going this week however against an Ohio State defense that has been rock solid all year. In their last 61 road games, Ohio State is 42-18-1 against the point spread which is just absurd. I think the Buckeyes create absolute carnage on Saturday and win this one handily.

  • Projected Score: Ohio State 42 – Michigan State 14
  • Spread Pick: Ohio State -22 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 57.5 (0 units)

Iowa Hawkeyes at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Saturday November 19th, 12 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Iowa -10
  • Total: 44.5

It seems like all Iowa needed to win at home against Michigan last week was for me to pick against them. You’re welcome Hawkeye fans! This week Iowa going to Champaign, Ill to try and keep the momentum going after last weeks huge win. Illinois limps into this one fresh off of a 45 point loss to Wisconsin where their offense couldn’t get much of anything going, including a goose egg on third down conversions. Iowa’s offense strength lies in their rushing attack as you could see last week against Michigan when RB Akrum Wadley ran the ball 23 times for 115 yards. Illinois’ rush defense is ranked near the basement of the conference so look for Wadley to have a field day Saturday. Illinois is downright lost in terms of having an offensive identity right now and they don’t even know who will start at QB this week. QB Wes Lunt was able to come back last week but he was less than average against a tough Wisconsin defense. After watching Iowa’s defense against Michigan last week, I’m not sure how Illinois can get into double digits this week on offense. This line is a little fishy but I’m falling for it hook, line, and sinker and I’m taking the under here as well.

  • Projected Score: Iowa 28 – Illinois 7
  • Spread Pick: Iowa -10 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: Under 44.5 (3 units)

Maryland Terrapins at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Saturday November 19th, 12 PM
  • TV: ESPN News
  • Point Spread: Nebraska -13
  • Total: Not available at time of publication

My very own preseason darling Maryland will look to get over 5 wins to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight week but it’s going to be a tough task in Lincoln, Nebraska when they take on the Cornhuskers. Nebraska appeared to have a stranglehold on a spot in the Big Ten title game but after suffering two losses, they’re going to need a lot of help to get back in. Nebraska is fresh off of a home win against a good Minnesota team and Nebraska needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat late after Minnesota led for much of the game. Huskers QB Tommy Armstrong looked great after a very scary injury last week at Ohio State and should look phenomenal this week against a Maryland defense that is ranked 13th in the Big Ten in total defense. Maryland doesn’t know who is starting at QB until game day as DJ Durkin takes his “game time decisions” very seriously. Even if QB Perry Hills starts on Saturday, it’s probably just going to be a matter of time until he has to come out because of another injury. Nebraska looked great last week on defense against Minnesota, allowing just 265 yards so the Terps have a very tall order ahead of them on Saturday. For some reason I feel like despite all of the things working against Maryland here, they still make it a competitive game and keep it respectable. I like the Terps to keep it within two scores.

  • Projected Score: Maryland 27 – Nebraska 35
  • Spread Pick: Maryland +13 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: N/A

Wisconsin Badgers at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Saturday November 19th, 12 PM
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -28
  • Total: 49

Wisconsin comes into this game just needing to beat Purdue and Minnesota to secure their spot in the Big Ten title game and with the Minnesota game being at Camp Randall, I have to think the Badgers are 75%+ to win those two games. Purdue seems like they have totally mailed it in at this point in the season while the state of their program hangs in limbo since there will an entire new coaching staff next year. Wisconsin has been downright amazing defensively this season despite playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Purdue has shown flashes of brilliance on offense this season behind the arm of QB David Blough but the Wisconsin defense will find a way to keep Blough quiet and the Boilermakers off of the scoreboard. Purdue is an absolute mess on defense and I truly believe if they had just a middle of the pack defense they would’ve had a legitimate bowl contender team this season. The defense has given up 62, 44, and 45 points in their last 3 games so look for Wisconsin to put a lot of points up while limiting the amount they give up on defense. I like Wisconsin to throttle the Boilermakers in this spot.

  • Projected Score: Wisconsin 49 – Purdue 14
  • Spread Pick: Wisconsin -28 (4 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 49 (3 units)

Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Wolverines

  • Saturday November 19th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: ESPN
  • Point Spread: Michigan -23.5
  • Total: 51.5

Michigan comes into this game needing to win to set up the conference Game of the Year next week against the Buckeyes but there’s still so many variables to be worked out after Penn State threw a wrench in the machine by beating Ohio State at home. Indiana has been the ALMOST spoiler team a couple times this season by playing consistent all year in their inability to close out games. The Hoosiers need one more win to become bowl eligible but it’s not looking good for that to happen this week. Michigan QB Wilton Speight is out and Houston transfer John O’Korn looks like he will get the starting nod and Wolverine fans hope he can have a Cardale Jones like impact for them. Indiana’s defense has been giving up a slew of points in their last 8 games so O’Korn shouldn’t have much of an issue getting Michigan into the 30’s on the scoreboard. Indiana’s offense has their work cut out for them against a Michigan defense that ranks 1st in the country in terms of yards allowed. Hoosiers QB Richard Lagow has been interception prone all season and he will need to be very careful this week against Jabrill Peppers and company who rank 3rd in the country in pass efficiency defense. I think if this game were in Bloomington, Michigan could have some issues breaking in a new QB but I think at home in the Big House, the rest of the Michigan offense steps up to help out O’Korn and Michigan rolls to a pretty comfortable cover here. Michigan’s offense puts up 35 of their own and they get a special teams or defensive touchdown for good measure.

  • Projected Score: Indiana 14 – Michigan 42
  • Spread Pick: Michigan -23.5 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: Over 51.5 (1 unit)

Northwestern Wildcats at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Saturday November 19th, 3:30 PM
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Northwestern -2
  • Total: 45.5

After losing their first two games to Western Michigan and FCS Illinois State, the fact that Northwestern is playing for bowl eligibility with two games remaining is nothing short of a miracle. Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald has to be commended for the incredible job he’s done getting the Wildcats to band together after that rough start and he will look to get that 6th win this week when they travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers. Minnesota has already exceeded their preseason win total of 6.5 and made me look like an absolute GENIUS in the process. The Golden Gophers gave away a win last week in Nebraska after they couldn’t hold onto a late game lead. Northwestern has been running the ball with a lot of success on offense but it could be difficult to get the ground game going against the 4th ranked defense in the conference this week. Wildcats QB Clayton Thorson has looked very sharp lately and he will need to have a solid game for Northwestern to pull off the road win. Minnesota’s offense is a mirror image of Northwestern’s, relying heavily on bell-cow RB Rodney Smith to give them enough production to win games and Smith has done just that so far this season. Gophers QB Mitch Leidner has been dreadful through the air lately, throwing five interceptions to zero touchdowns in his last 5 games. This game is too close to call seeing as how Northwestern seems to have the slight edge with a QB who can produce points however Minnesota is at home which should negate things a bit. I think this spread is right on the money and this ends up being a 3 point win for either team so I’m laying off. I do think there’s a good amount of points scored so I’ll take some action on the over.

  • Projected Score: Northwestern 27 – Minnesota 24
  • Spread Pick: Northwestern -2 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: Over 45.5 (1 unit)

Weekly picks recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Wisconsin -28 (4 units)
  2. Ohio State -22 (3 units)
  3. Iowa -10 (3 units)
  4. Iowa/Illinois UNDER 44.5 (3 units)
  5. Penn State/Rutgers OVER 57.5 (2 units)
  6. Maryland +13 (1 unit)
  7. Michigan -23.5 (1 unit)
  8. Indiana/Michigan OVER 51.5 (1 unit)
  9. Northwestern/Minnesota OVER 45.5 (1 unit)

Double digit unit win this week. Book it!