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Cappin’ the B1G: Week 6 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

They say “pride comes before the fall” and although my fall wasn’t very far, I did have my first losing week since Week 1 last week. It’s a bye week for Rutgers (thank Buddha) and it’s time for me to get back to my winning ways this week as I dive into the six Big Ten games we have on tap.

For those that haven’t read my article before (tsk, tsk), I predict the outcome of each game and then I “wager” between 0-5 units based on how confident I am in the specific outcomes.

To recap Week 5:

  1. Minnesota -12.5 (3 units) L
  2. Northwestern/Wisconsin UNDER 49.5 (2 units) L
  3. Ohio State -30.5 (1 unit) W
  4. Nebraska/Illinois UNDER 46 (1 unit) W
  5. Northwestern +15.5 (1 unit) W
  6. Indiana +18.5 (1 unit) L
  7. Indiana/Penn State UNDER 63.5 (1 unit) W

Season so far:

  • Overall Record: 52-44
  • Wagered Games Record: 31-26
  • Season Units: +12 units

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

(Note: Indiana plays Charleston Southern and there is no official line for an FBS v. FCS matchup)

Penn State Nittany Lions at Northwestern Wildcats

  • Saturday October 7th, 12 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Penn State -14.5
  • Total: 53

The Nittany Lions take to the road to face off against Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats in an interleague Big Ten showdown. Penn State is fresh off of a whipping of Indiana in Happy Valley while Northwestern left it all on the field last week against Wisconsin which really kills their plans of winning the Big Ten West. Northwestern now has to run the table and have Wisconsin lose twice in order to win the West and I don’t see both of those things happening. Northwestern’s major concern is along their offensive line as they are just getting blown off the ball and it’s shown in the box score as they only put up 244 yards last week and could only muster 191 yards against Duke. Penn State has looked incredible up to this point but they have only handily beaten the likes of Akron, Pitt, Georgia State, and Indiana who aren’t exactly world-beaters. Penn State needed a last second throw from magician Trace McSorely to beat Iowa and I don’t think they should be laying more than two touchdowns on the road versus a solid Northwestern squad. Give me the points.

  • Projected Score: Penn State 28 – Northwestern 20
  • Spread Pick: Northwestern +14.5 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 53 (1 unit)

Illinois Fighting Illini at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Saturday October 7th, 12 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Iowa -18
  • Total: 44.5

Wow if anyone is having trouble sleeping just go ahead and tune into this game and you’ll get a nice three hour nap in. The line and total seem right about where they should be for this barn burner. Illinois is just a flaming pile of trash (maybe even worse than Rutgers) and Lovie Smith time in Champaign has to be drawing near as his team couldn’t even look good against Nebraska last week coming off of a bye. The only thing Illinois can hang their hats on is their defense which should be able to slow down the Iowa offense. Iowa is coming off of two games against Penn State and Michigan State that will have them a little worn down coming into this one so maybe the Illini can catch them off guard in the beginning with some trick plays to get them on the scoreboard. The Illinois QB’s have a combined 2:6 TD to Interception ratio (that’s really bad) and Iowa takes care of the football so 18 points is about right to me. I’m going to take a pass on this game altogether so that I don’t have to watch even 30 seconds of it.

  • Projected Score: Illinois 13 – Iowa 31
  • Spread Pick: Iota -18 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 44.5 (0 units)

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Saturday October 7th, 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Purdue -4
  • Total: 46.5

Two up and coming programs with talented young head coaches (wish I could say the same for my team) collide in Big Ten West action on Saturday when PJ Fleck’s Golden Gophers hit the road to take on Jeff Brohm’s Purdue Boilermakers. Minnesota is fresh off of their first loss of the season, a stunning home loss to Maryland and Purdue is 2-2 with two tough losses to Louisville and Michigan. Purdue QB David Blough will play in this game but the major concern for the Purdue offense is whether they can find some healthy RB’s to expose the soft underbelly of the Minnesota run defense after Maryland ran for 262 last week against the Gophers. Purdue’s defense is ranked dead last in the conference in terms of yards per play allowed but they have played some tough offenses and Minnesota’s QB situation doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of opposing defensive coordinators. I like the home team here as I think they’ve shown more against tougher competition and I always lean toward the battle tested team.

  • Projected Score: Minnesota 20 – Purdue 27
  • Spread Pick: Purdue -4 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: OVER 46.5 (0 units)

Maryland Terrapins at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Saturday October 7th, 4 PM EST
  • TV: FOX
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -30.5
  • Total: 60.5

Maryland shocked me last week by going into Minnesota and beating the Golden Gophers but I was also very happy as I bet on them to go over 3.5 wins this year and they need just one more to get me the money. The problem is that they won’t be getting to 4 wins this week when they head to Columbus to take on THE Ohio State Buckeyes. The Terps were able to go into Minnesota and use something called a Max Bortenschlager (sounds like a vodka you find on the bottom shelf of the liquor store in a plastic bottle) at QB to lead them to a victory. The Maryland rushing attack picked up 262 yards and the defense looked phenomenal but let’s see how they look this week against an Ohio State offense that has put up at least 586 yards of offense per game except for their battle with Oklahoma. If Ohio State is able to shut down the Maryland rushing attack, which I think they will do, it’s going to be a long afternoon for the Terps. I’m not wagering on this game as I think the line and total look about right.

  • Projected Score: Maryland 13 – Ohio State 45
  • Spread Pick: Ohio State -30.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 60.5 (0 units)

Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines

  • Saturday October 7th, 7:30 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Michigan -10.5
  • Total: 40.5

Michigan will look for some revenge against the “little brother” Michigan State Spartans who shocked the world the last time these two teams met in the Big House on that blocked punt to end the game. Michigan has disposed of everyone in their wake so far by margins of 16, 22, 16, and 18 points to put them at 4-0 on the year but their toughest tests still lie ahead. Michigan State is 3-1 with their only loss coming against Notre Dame in a game that they outgained the Irish by almost 150 yards on offense. The Michigan defense has been absolutely phenomenal this year and has been the most consistent unit you can depend on when it comes to handicapping a football game. Jim Harbaugh is 15-2 at home as head coach at Michigan and he will look to avenge one of those two losses this Saturday. The weather is expected to be monsoon-like so that’s why the line and totals are so low in case you were wondering. I kind of like the under here and I’m gonna play it and I’ll stay away from picking a side against the spread.

  • Projected Score: Michigan State 13 – Michigan 23
  • Spread Pick: Michigan State +10.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 40.5 (2 units)

Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • Saturday October 7th, 8 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -11.5
  • Total: 45.5

Nebraska is flying high at 3-2 as Mike Reilly was able to buy some time with wins over Rutgers and Illinois which may not seem like much to an outsider but those two wins should instill some confidence in this team as is hosts the Wisconsin Badgers this week. Nebraska has really dialed up the defensive intensity over their last three games, allowing 213, 194, and 199 yards in each of them. Wisconsin is fresh off of an offensive performance that only saw them put up 306 yards at home against a very soft Northwestern defense so it will be interesting to see how they fare against a better defense this week. Nebraska really needs future NFL TE Troy Fumagalli to play as he is questionable after sitting out last week. This game has all the makings of one that could get very weird with Nebraska having a legit shot to win it late. I like the points here.

  • Projected Score: Nebraska 20 – Wisconsin 24
  • Spread Pick: Nebraska +11.5 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 45.5 (0 units)

Weekly recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Northwestern +14.5 (2 units)
  2. Michigan State/Michigan UNDER 40.5 (2 units)
  3. Nebraska +11.5 (2 units)
  4. Penn State/Northwestern UNDER 53 (1 unit)
  5. Purdue -4 (1 unit)

That’s all for me this week, folks. See you again next week. Thanks for reading!