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Cappin’ the B1G: Week 5 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

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NCAA Football: Washington at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages...the kid is on FIRE! Since I’ve started writing this article this is definitely the hottest streak I’ve been on, as we have had three straight winnings weeks including an absolute thrashing of last weeks slate where I went 7-3 in wagered games and picked up 12 units. We have to strike while the iron is hot and although I don’t have any 4 or 5 unit plays this week, I’m still feeling confident.

For those that haven’t read my article before (SHAME!), 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 4:

1. Michigan -10 (5 units) W

2. Notre Dame -3 (4 units) W

3. Iowa +13 (2 units) W

4. Nebraska -11 (1 unit) L

5. Rutgers/Nebraska UNDER 47 (1 unit) W

6. UNLV +40.5 (1 unit) W

7. UNLV/Ohio State UNDER 65.5 (1 unit) L

8. UCF +4 (1 unit) W

9. Penn State/Iowa UNDER 52.5 (1 unit) W

10. Notre Dame/Michigan State UNDER 54.5 (1 unit) L

Season so far:

  • Overall Record: 46-40
  • Wagered Games Record: 27-23
  • Season Units: +14 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. On to the winners!

Note: Michigan and Purdue are on byes this week.

Ohio State Buckeyes at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Saturday September 30th, 7:30 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -30.5
  • Total: 54

Last week, Rutgers performed admirably on the road against a struggling Nebraska team until the team lost a lot of their momentum in the late second half. The loss of starting CB Blessaun Austin is a huge blow to the improved defensive unit and it has me greatly concerned for this game with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are on a mission to run the table and be in the discussion for the College Football Playoff at years end so they’re going to be looking for style points in Piscataway on Saturday night. Ohio State has beaten Rutgers 58-0 and 49-7 in the past two seasons and it probably won’t be much different this year even though Rutgers has improved a good deal. The Scarlet Knights have scored 14, 13, and 17 points versus FBS opponents this season and I can’t see the story being any different on Saturday night.

  • Projected Score: Ohio State 45 – Rutgers 10
  • Spread Pick: Ohio State -30.5 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: OVER 54 (0 units)

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Friday September 29th, 8 PM EST
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Point Spread: Nebraska -6
  • Total: 46

We have ourselves a little Friday Night Lights action in the Big Ten West when Nebraska hits the road to take on the Fighting Illini. Nebraska has sputtered their way to a 2-2 start and will be looking to get on a roll here in a “must win” spot before they have to take on Wisconsin and Ohio State and then end the season with Penn State and Iowa. The Illini are 2-1 and fresh off of a bye with their sights set on making some noise and energizing the program. Nebraska hasn’t been very impressive in large part due to QB Tanner Lee’s seemingly constant interception issues but on defense they have allowed just 213 and 194 yards of total offense in the last two games. Illinois has a pretty dreadful offense so this should be more of the same for a solid Nebraska defense. Illinois ranks 118th in the nation in penalty yards and they convert just 51% of their third down conversions so I expect them to be sloppy even coming off of a bye. I’m still not a believer in Lovie Smith as a college head coach. Coming off a bye and being at home I expect Illinois to keep it close but I think it’s a low scoring affair.

  • Projected Score: Nebraska 24 – Illinois 17
  • Spread Pick: Nebraska -6 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 46 (1 unit)

Northwestern Wildcats at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Saturday September 30th, 12 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -15.5
  • Total: 49.5

Wisconsin has rolled a bunch of cupcakes to an undefeated start to the season and will welcome the scrappy Wildcats of Northwestern in this Big Ten West battle. Wisconsin has outscored their opponents 130-30 to open their season 3-0 while the Wildcats are 2-1 with wins over trash opponents and a blowout loss to Duke. Both of these teams are off a bye so it should be an entertaining game in the early stages at least. The last three meetings between these two teams have been 21-7, 13-7, and 20-14 and I expect that trend to continue on Saturday. This line is way too high and I think it is the public overreacting to the worst possible Northwestern team taking the field against Duke. Northwestern isn’t going to take this game lightly and I think they will cover the spread but just barely.

  • Projected Score: Northwestern 14 – Wisconsin 28
  • Spread Pick: Northwestern +15.5 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 49.5 (2 units)

Maryland Terrapins at Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Saturday September 30th, 12 PM EST
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Point Spread: Minnesota -12.5
  • Total: 44

Poor Maryland. Another year of losing multiple starting QB’s for the season with injuries. This doesn’t bode well for my over 3.5 wins bet I put in which seemed like a virtual lock after the defeated Texas on the road. Now the Terps will roll with QB Max Bortenschlager when they go into Minnesota to take on the #1 scoring defense in the entire FBS so I expect the Gophers to be licking their chops at this matchup. Maryland still has a few offensive playmakers that can find pay dirt from anywhere on the field that can make this game a lot closer than the oddsmakers think. Minnesota doesn’t have a much better QB situation on their hands but they do boast a very nice 1-2 combination at RB that will wear the Terps defense down. I expect the Minnesota defense to force some errors by Bortenschlager that will set their offense up with great field position and they will win this game pretty handily. This might be my strongest pick of the week.

  • Projected Score: Maryland 10 – Minnesota 31
  • Spread Pick: Minnesota -12.5 (3 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 44 (0 units)

Indiana Hoosiers at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Saturday September 30th, 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Penn State -18.5
  • Total: 63.5

SO CLOSE! We were so close to seeing Penn State lose but alas they pulled it out in the end after almost collapsing into themselves in Iowa City. I want so badly to root for Saquon Barkley but I don’t have it in my heart to root for Penn State (unless I’m somehow financially invested in them winning). After surviving their scare against Iowa, Penn State is back home to take on a scrappy Indiana team. Indiana has a pretty impressive 2-1 record this season, looking good against Ohio State for a majority of the game and then beating the breaks off of Virginia and Georgia Southern. Indiana is the first team Penn State will face that can throw the ball with success so it will be interesting to see the Penn State secondary go up against the talented WR’s of the Hoosiers. The Indiana defensive front should hold Barkley in check in the early goings and keep this one within the spread when it’s all said and done.

  • Projected Score: Indiana 21 – Penn State 35
  • Spread Pick: Indiana +18.5 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 63.5 (1 unit)

Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday September 30th, 4 PM EST
  • TV: FOX
  • Point Spread: Michigan State -3
  • Total: 45

This should be a sneakily entertaining afternoon game when the Hawkeyes take on the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. Iowa is fresh off of an absolutely heartbreaking loss to Penn State at home last week but they still boast a 3-1 record and need a win here to keep within striking distance of Wisconsin. Michigan State got steamrolled by Notre Dame last week (4 unit win for yours truly) but should be confident heading into conference play with a 2-1 record. Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke has looked better than expected and if he can keep from turning the ball over, they should be able to find some success against a tough Iowa defense. The Michigan State defense has performed admirably this season, ranking 9th in the country in total defense, 6th in pass efficiency defense, and 9th in 3rd down defense. Iowa is going to have a hard time putting points on the board on Saturday for sure. This line and total looks absolutely perfect to me so I’m going to be staying away entirely. This will be the first game in two years that I don’t make a pick on. Seriously, don’t bet on this game.

  • Projected Score: Iowa 21 – Michigan State 24
  • Spread Pick: NONE
  • Total Pick: NONE

Thank you for reading and I will catch you here again next week for another steaming hot pile of winners! Get rich!