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Cappin’ the B1G: Week 8 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Indiana v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Welp, it feels like it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to get much going units wise as I had another average week, going 2-2-1 (damn you Michigan and Indiana overtime) in my wagered games and losing 2 units. I think in the later half of the year is when I’m going to start really digging in and plunking down some huge units but in the meantime I’m still letting these teams set their identities before I pounce.

To recap Week 7’s picks:

  1. Maryland +3.5 (3 units) L
  2. Michigan/Indiana UNDER 47 (2 units) PUSH
  3. Rutgers +2.5 (1 unit) W
  4. Rutgers/Illinois UNDER 48 (1 unit) L
  5. Minnesota +4 (1 unit) W

Season so far:

  • Overall Record: 62-57-1
  • Wagered Games Record: 36-30
  • Season Units: +10

Go ahead and follow me on Twitter @tjurk44 and I’ll throw out some non-Big Ten bets that I really like this weekend (I’m on Memphis +3 pretty big tonight) or just ask me an opinion on any game you’d like. On to the winners!

(NOTE: Ohio State & Nebraska are on BYE this week)

Purdue Boilermakers at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Saturday October 21st, 12 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Purdue -9.5
  • Total: 47.5

We finally got one! Rutgers found its first conference win with Chris Ash at the helm last week in Champaign, Illinois and it could be a confidence builder going forward as they welcome Jeff Brohm’s Purdue squad this Saturday. The Boilermakers are playing really well this season and 8 wins isn’t out of the question as they have a very manageable schedule the rest of the way and they play sound, fundamental football. Rutgers getting to 4 wins would be a massive accomplishment after the disastrous start to the season and this is definitely one of the more “winnable” games left on the schedule. I think the Scarlet Knights offense is going to have trouble moving the ball in this one with QB Gio Rescigno banged up and going against a Purdue defense that has allowed just 21, 3, 28, 17, and 17 points respectively in their last five games. This line looks about right and I like the under a bit.

  • Projected Score: Purdue 27 – Rutgers 17
  • Spread Pick: Purdue -9.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 47.5 (1 unit)

Maryland Terrapins at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Saturday October 21st, 12 PM EST
  • TV: FOX
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -24
  • Total: 50.5

Wisconsin is coming into this game on a runaway train as their schedule is very favorable down the stretch with a couple of cupcakes lined up to destroy. All signs are pointing to Wisconsin meeting up with either Penn State or Ohio State in the conference championship game but first they have to focus on DJ Durkin’s Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are dealing with their standard annual QB issues as they are down to their 3rd string quarterback. It’s been all downhill for Maryland after losing both of their QB’s that are able to run the ball effectively because it allows defenses to focus solely on their only real offensive threat in WR DJ Moore. The Terps are looking to become bowl eligible with 2 more wins but looking at the upcoming schedule it doesn’t look very likely for them. I just don’t see them doing well on Saturday against a Wisconsin team that seems laser focused so I’m going to give the points here.

  • Projected Score: Maryland 10 – Wisconsin 41
  • Spread Pick: Wisconsin -24 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 50.5 (0 units)

Iowa Hawkeyes at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Saturday October 21st, 12 PM EST
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Iowa -1.5
  • Total: 47

This game has all the makings of a hard fought, competitive games between two solid football teams and the point spread certainly reflects that as this feels like a coin flip. Northwestern has underachieved thus far in 2017 but they are coming off of a big road win against Maryland and they have a manageable schedule the finish out the year. Wildcats QB Clayton Thorson has pro potential but this season he is rocking a paltry 8:9 TD to INT ratio mostly due to his offensive line getting him killed. Along with almost putting their QB in a body bag, the Northwestern offensive line also has had no success trying to open up holes for stud RB Justin Jackson. Northwestern’s strength as a team lies with their run defense which should have Iowa fans concerned. Hawkeyes RB Akrum Wadley is a complete game changer but he has no depth behind him after James Butler went down with an injury. Iowa QB Nathan Stanley has been solid this season with a 15:2 TD to INT ratio and he will need to pick up a lot of first downs through the air in order for Iowa to leave here with a win. Iowa is rested off of a bye but it doesn’t mean much as Kirk Ferentz is 14-16 in his career coming off of a bye. I’m staying off this game completely as the line and total look correct to me.

  • Projected Score: Iowa 24 – Northwestern 23
  • Spread Pick: Northwestern +1.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 47 (0 units)

Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday October 21st, 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Michigan State -6.5
  • Total: 46

Michigan State comes into this game 5-1 and looks to double their win total of 3 from last season when they take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana is coming off of an emotional overtime loss against Michigan and now they have to travel to take on a Spartan’s team that is full of momentum. Michigan State is finally finding their rhythm on the ground on offense as they rushed for a whopping 245 yards last week and had an impressive 158 the week before against Michigan on the road. Spartans QB Brian Lewerke has been solid thus far with just 3 interceptions in 170 attempts so if he can get it going Michigan State might make some noise later in the season against Penn State and Ohio State. Hoosiers QB Peyton Ramsey is an offensive weapon as he is a legitimate dual threat and he will need to have a big game for Indiana to have a shot here. Indiana has been very poor in terms of turning the ball over and they need to get that under control as well if they want to leave East Lansing with a win. This feels like a big let-down spot for Indiana coming off of a heartbreaker so I’m rolling with Sparty small.

  • Projected Score: Indiana 17 – Michigan State 27
  • Spread Pick: Michigan State -6.5 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 46 (0 units)

Illinois Fighting Illini at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Saturday October 21st, 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Minnesota -14
  • Total: 45.5

This is a game you would probably have to pay me like a hundred bucks to sit through and watch. Both of these teams are spiraling downward out of control as Minnesota has lost three straight and looked putrid on offense while the defense is banged up. Illinois just lost to Rutgers which puts them on a four-game losing streak after a nice 2-0 start. Illinois QB Jeff George Jr threw for 300 yards last week and the rushing attack netted them over 200 yards versus Iowa so the potential is there for this offense but Lovie Smith will probably waste it with some horrible coaching decisions. Both of these teams absolutely must have this win here if they have any prayer of making it to a post season bowl and I think 14 points is too much for the Gophers to be laying so I’ll play the Illini small.

  • Projected Score: Illinois 17 – Minnesota 27
  • Spread Pick: Illinois +14 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 45.5 (0 units)

Michigan Wolverines at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Saturday October 21st, 7:30 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Penn State -9.5
  • Total Pick: 45

The final game on the Big Ten slate this week just so happens to be the game I’m most looking forward to watching this Saturday (along with USC/Notre Dame) as the Michigan Wolverines head into Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State. The Wolverines were able to keep a grip on their Big Ten Championship hopes when they narrowly escaped in Bloomington Indiana in their overtime win over the Hoosiers. Penn State is sitting at 6-0 and have looked absolutely dominant this season albiet against a creampuff schedule that included a miracle win in Iowa. Penn State’s offense will undoubtedly face their toughest test yet in the Michigan defense. Michigan has the #1 ranked defense in the entire country and they lead the conference in sacks per game. Penn State has the best QB/RB duo in the country in Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley which is good news for Nittany Lions fans as they have some hope of moving the ball against the brick wall Michigan defense. Michigan has had almost no semblance of a passing attack lately but on the ground their RB’s have rushed for over 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns. The running game will need to succeed in order to set the offense up with some play action down the field to their tight ends as their outside WR’s have looked dreadful getting separation from defensive backs thus far. Last year Penn State lost 49-10 in Ann Arbor in a game that ultimately kept them out of the College Football Playoff so James Franklin will definitely have revenge on his mind here. I’m not thrilled about picking this game and while I will be rooting for Michigan (I bet them to go over 9 wins this season), if I had to bet on just this game I would lay the points and take the Nittany Lions.

  • Projected Score: Michigan 17 – Penn State 28
  • Spread Pick: Penn State -9.5 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: OVER 45 (0 units)

Weekly recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Wisconsin -24 (2 units)
  2. Purdue/Rutgers UNDER 47.5 (1 unit)
  3. Michigan State -6.5 (1 unit)
  4. Illinois +14 (1 unit)
  5. Penn State -9.5 (1 unit)

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next Thursday!