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Cappin’ the B1G: Week 2 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Washington v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Welp, I have some good news and I have some bad news guys. The good news is that my preseason win total projections got off to a great start! The bad news is I did pretty badly picking last week but it’s all good! It’s a long season and there’s plenty of time to turn things around. I have a lot of picks that I like this week and it’s time to see if I know what I’m talking about.

To recap Week 1:

  1. Ohio State/Indiana UNDER 58 (2 units) L
  2. Wyoming +11.5 (2 units) L
  3. Florida +4 (2 units) L
  4. Nevada/Northwestern OVER 60.5 (2 units) L
  5. Rutgers +27.5 (1 unit) W
  6. Indiana +21.5 (1 unit) L
  7. Texas -18.5 (1 unit) L
  8. Maryland/Texas OVER 56 (1 unit) W
  9. Bowling Green +17.5 (1 unit) L
  10. Purdue +24.5 (1 unit) W
  11. Arkansas State/Nebraska UNDER 46.5 (1 unit) L

Season so far:

Overall Record: 12-14

Wagered Games Record: 3-8

Season Units: -9

Onward and upward! Hey if I stink all season you guys can just go opposite of me and get filthy, stinking RICH! On to the picks!

(NOTE: There is no line for Towson at Maryland, due to it being a FCS v. FBS matchup)

Eastern Michigan Eagles at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

  • Saturday, September 9th 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Rutgers -5.5
  • Total: 51.5

After giving it their all against Washington last week and coming up short, the Scarlet Knights will look to get their first win of the 2017 season on Saturday when Eastern Michigan comes to town. Eastern Michigan got a decisive win last week at home against a lowly Charlotte team but they didn’t look particularly impressive, rushing for a paltry 126 yards against a 49ers defense that is known for giving up huge yardage. This week I expect the Rutgers offensive and defensive lines, which held their own against Washington’s line’s, to control this game and allow Gus Edwards and Robert Martin to eat up chunks of yardage all afternoon. Charlotte was able to average 3.9 yards per carry last week against EMU so I expect Rutgers to take full advantage of their weakness there. Utilizing the ground game will open up the play action for some throws downfield to Damon Mitchell and Janarion Grant and I think Rutgers get an easy win and cover at home for the first win of the season.

  • Projected Score: Eastern Michigan 20 – Rutgers 31
  • Spread Pick: Rutgers -5.5 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 51.5 (0 units)

Ohio Bearcats at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Friday, September 8th 8 PM EST
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Point Spread: Purdue -3.5
  • Total: 57

After giving Louisville all that they could handle last week, Jeff Brohm’s Boilermakers face a lot softer opposition on Friday night when the Ohio Bobcats come into West Layfayette. Purdue had the lead in the 4th quarter versus Louisville but couldn’t hold off Lamar Jackson enough to pull off the massive upset. If Purdue wants to have any semblance of success this season, they need to get this win against what should be their weakest opponent in the Bobcats. Purdue will continue it’s QB rotation after David Blough showed that he still hasn’t gotten over his interception woes, throwing a pick six against Louisville last week. The Purdue defense gave up 524 yards and Ohio is fresh off of a 59-0 tune up game against FCS Hampton at home. Ohio is a very tough team that will fight their tails off for 4 quarters and I think this line looks pretty correct as this will be a dog fight throughout. Ohio is 0-7 all time versus Purdue but they are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 games as a road underdog. I like the over a bit so I’m going to let my units lie there instead of on the spread. Should be a sneakily entertaining game.

  • Projected Score: Ohio 30 – Purdue 33
  • Spread Pick: Ohio +3.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 57 (1 unit)

Cincinnati Bobcats at Michigan Wolverines

  • Saturday, September 9th 12PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Michigan -34
  • Total: 49

I doubted the Wolverines and they shut me right up. Jim Harbaugh must have hung up a copy of my prediction where I said the Gators would beat them outright because Michigan played like a team possessed last Saturday, especially on the defensive side of the ball. This week they welcome a Cincinnati team that has the name recognition, but lack the talent they have seen in years past. Michigan gave away two pick-sixes last week against Florida but still managed to handily win the game. The Wolverine’s rushing attack is absolutely deadly as they ran for 215 yards against a solid Florida defense so I look for more of the same here this week. Cincinnati’s defense has registered a combined 32 sacks in the past two seasons so the Michigan QB’s should have all day to throw on the off chance they aren’t running the ball for 10 yards per carry between their stable of RB’s. Cincinnati’s only shot of scoring in this game is going to be through the air with QB Hayden Moore or some defensive and/or special teams touchdowns. The Bobcats won’t be able to run the ball much at all against the monstrous Michigan front seven. This is the first meeting between these two teams which is somewhat surprising and the line and total look just right to me. I’m staying away from this one altogether because you never know if Harbaugh will pump the brakes or go for the throat.

  • Projected Score: Cincinnati 7 – Michigan 42
  • Spread Pick: Michigan -34 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 49 (0 units)

Florida Atlantic Owls at Wisconsin Badgers

  • Saturday, September 9th 12 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Wisconsin -32
  • Total: 57.5

The Lane Kiffin era started with a gurgle as the Owls got their butts handed to them by Navy while Wisconsin got an early scare against Utah State before pulling away with a blowout win. This week the two teams meet in Madison and Kiffin will have upset on the brain but the Badgers should handle the Owls easily here. Last week FAU gave up 416 rushing yards against Navy and Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country at running the ball effectively. The Owls couldn’t run the ball to save their lives last week against Navy, picking up a paltry 40 yards on 24 carries and it’s going to be more of the same this week against the Wisconsin defensive front. For this game to be close at all, the Owls will need to take shots downfield to try and expose a Wisconsin secondary that still has to prove themselves. I expect this game to be similar to last week’s Badgers game where they come out a little slow and make people think FAU has a shot before they steamroll their way to a huge win. I like Wisconsin and the over here so expect an outright FAU 3-0 win.

  • Projected Score: FAU 17 – Wisconsin 55
  • Spread Pick: Wisconsin -32 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: OVER 57.5 (3 units)

Northwestern Wildcats at Duke Blue Devils

  • Saturday, September 9th 12 PM EST
  • Point Spread: Northwestern -3
  • Total: 55

It’s the Battle of the Brainiacs this Saturday when Duke hosts Northwestern in what should be a close game. Northwestern will be looking for their third win in the past three years over Duke after the Wildcats hang on to win against a good looking Nevada team last week. Duke rolled over FCS opponent NC Central and looked darn impressive doing it. Duke is a lot more experienced on offense than Nevada is and if the Wolf Pack weren’t adjusting to a new scheme they probably would have beaten Northwestern last week. Duke will be led by QB Daniel Jones who threw for two touchdowns last week and ran one in as well. Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson had a nice game last week, throwing for 352 yards and two touchdowns and adding another two touchdowns with his legs. I like the Northwestern offense just a little better in this matchup and I think the “x factor” is going to be Wildcats RB Justin Jackson who I think will have a big day. This game is going to come down to the bitter end and I think Northwestern pulls off a very close win. I feel comfortable taking Duke with the points here knowing how close I expect the game to be.

  • Projected Score: Northwestern 27 – Duke 28
  • Spread Pick: Duke +3 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 55 (0 units)

Iowa Hawkeyes @ Iowa State Cyclones

  • Saturday, September 9th 12 PM EST
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: Iowa -2.5
  • Total: 48

Bring on the hatred! It’s time for another installment of the Cy-Hawk Trophy and this one should be a great addition to the series. Iowa is fresh off of a 24-3 win against Wyoming in a game that was a lot closer than the score would indicate while Iowa State was able to keep Northern Iowa from pulling off the upset as the Cyclones won 42-24 in week one. On offense last week, Iowa looked pretty dreadful for the most part, fumbling a ton of times and not looking sharp much at all in the passing attack. Iowa QB Nathan Stanley will have to do better than his 8-15 performance from a week ago for Iowa to be successful this weekend. Iowa’s running game should be able to have a nice day as the Iowa State defense allowed 218 rushing yards per game a year ago so look for Hawkeye’s RB’s James Butler and Akrum Wadley to have big days. Iowa State has a legitimate offense led by QB Jacob Park, RB David Montgomery, and future NFL early round draft pick WR Allen Lazard. The Cyclone’s will have a tough time getting the ground game going against a tough Iowa front seven but the potential is there for some big plays downfield to Lazard here. I’m going to stay away from the spread here as I think it’s going to be way too close to call and I need to see some more out of Iowa before I put my faith in them this season. I like the under here as I was very impressed with the Hawkeyes defense last week.

  • Projected Score: Iowa 23 – Iowa State 20
  • Spread Pick: Iowa -2.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 48 (1 unit)

Pittsburgh Panthers at Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Saturday, September 9th 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Penn State -22
  • Total: 66.5

After beating Penn State just last season, Pittsburgh comes into Happy Valley and finds themselves as a whopping underdog to James Franklin’s Nittany Lions. This is a big revenge spot after Penn State dropped a very close, high scoring (I had the under!) affair last season. Penn State took care of business last week at home against Akron and they get to stay in Happy Valley to avenge last seasons loss to their bitter in-state rivals. Pittsburgh had it’s hands full last week as they narrowly escaped FCS foe Youngstown State in an overtime thriller. Penn State’s offense looked incredible last week against Akron and they will go up against a Pitt defense that gave up 21 to an FCS opponent last week. Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley will have a field day on Saturday both throwing the ball and handing it off to legitimate Heisman candidate RB Saquon Barkley. Pittsburgh’s secondary gave up 311 yards passing last week so Penn State can have their way in this one on offense. On the other side of the coin, the Pittsburgh offense looked very good behind the RB duo of Qadree Ollison and Quadree Henderson and USC transfer QB Max Browne looked efficient so I expect Pitt to put some points up of their own in this one. I expect a close, high scoring game throughout with Penn State pulling away late but not covering the 22.

  • Projected Score: Pittsburgh 27 – Penn State 44
  • Spread Pick: Pittsburgh +22 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 66.5 (1 unit)

Indiana Hoosiers at Virginia Cavaliers

  • Saturday, September 9th 3:30 PM EST
  • Point Spread: Indiana -3
  • Total: 56.5

Indiana gave Ohio State all they could handle last week for three quarters but the wheels ended up coming off of the wagon late and the Buckeyes ran away with it. Indiana looked very impressive on both sides of the ball and showed that they have what it takes to surprise some people this season. Meanwhile at Virginia, the Cavaliers didn’t exactly ignite the fanbase with a closer than expected win over FCS opponent William & Mary last week. Virginia’s offense is going to have their hands full this week against a Hoosier’s defense that looked good against Ohio State and they will no doubt improve as the year goes on. Cavs QB Kurt Benkert looked impressive last week and he is going to have to do a lot with his arm in this one to be able to win the game against a stout Indiana secondary. The Hoosiers offense will be led by Richard Lagow who had an impressive 410 yards passing against the Ohio State defense a week ago. Lagow’s Achilles Heel has always been his propensity to turn the ball over but if he can keep it under control in this one I think Indiana wins easily in Charlottesville. I think the Indiana defense completely shuts down the Virginia offense and it’s a one sided affair.

  • Projected Score: Indiana 28 - Virginia 14
  • Spread Pick: Indiana -3 (4 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 56.5 (2 units)

Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan State Spartans

  • Saturday, September 9th 3:30 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Michigan State -7
  • Total: 50

Western Michigan went the full 12 rounds in the Los Angeles against USC last week and fell short of the huge upset and now they have to travel to East Lansing to play against the Spartans who may have gotten their groove back. Michigan State looked dominant in their 35-10 win over Bowling Green last week in a game that could set the tone for Mark Dantonio’s team for 2017. The WMU rushing attack looked fantastic against the USC defense, picking up 263 yards on the ground against the Trojans but the Spartan’s will be well coached and prepared to shut down the Bronco’s rushing attack on Saturday. Michigan State will fire up their own ground game against the WMU defense that was shredded by Ronald Jones II last week as the Trojans picked up almost 7 yards per carry against the Broncos. I like Michigan State to control the pace of the game here using their ground game and stout defense that will take Western Michigan out of their comfort zone and force them to make mistakes. Michigan State pulls away late to have another confidence building win here.

  • Projected Score: Western Michigan 17 – Michigan State 31
  • Spread Pick: Michigan State -7 (2 units)
  • Total Pick: UNDER 50 (0 units)

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Oregon Ducks

  • Saturday, September 9th 4:30 PM EST
  • TV: FOX
  • Point Spread: Oregon -13.5
  • Total: 70

Last year, the Oregon Ducks came to Lincoln with a 2-0 record and they left with a loss that ultimately cause their 2016 season to shatter into pieces. This time the Cornhuskers have to travel to Eugene in a game that will determine a lot about what these two teams could accomplish for the rest of the season. Nebraska can find some room to maneuver against an Oregon defense that looked very exploitable last week against an FCS foe. If Huskers QB Tanner Lee can take some calculated shots downfield, Nebraska can put up a ton of points in this one and make it a very interesting game. Huskers RB Tre Bryant had 192 yards last week and he will look to have a huge day in Eugene behind a stout offensive line against a shaky Oregon defensive front. Oregon looked like the Ducks from the Chip Kelly days last week when they put up points in droves en route to a huge win over Southern Utah. Ducks RB Royce Freeman had 150 yards a whopping four touchdowns but he will have his hands full against a Nebraska team that has looked promising against the run. The Huskers main problem is their pass defense as they let Arkansas State QB Justice Hansen throw for 415 yards and 3 touchdowns in Lincoln last week. I think this is going to be a very high scoring affair just as it was last year with Oregon pulling off a big program building win in front of their home crowd.

  • Projected Score: Nebraska 31 – Oregon 45
  • Spread Pick: Oregon -13.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 70 (1 unit)

Oklahoma Sooners at Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Saturday, September 9th 7:30 PM EST
  • TV: ABC
  • Point Spread: Ohio State -7
  • Total: 65

Oh boy, this should be fun. Last year, Ohio State went into Norman and beat the breaks off the Sooners en route to a 21-point win but it should be much closer this year. It’s going to be a tall order for Oklahoma to come in and leave Columbus with a win but anything is possible in college football. The Ohio State offense will utilize their incredible rushing attack against an Oklahoma defense that still has a lot of question marks. Ohio State true freshman RB PK Dobbins looked phenomenal last week and the Buckeyes will also get RB Mike Weber back here for a deadly 1-2 combination in the backfield to go along with QB JT Barrett. Oklahoma’s defense allowed 29 points per game last season so it’s hard to imagine Ohio State not hanging up at least 30 here at home. Oklahoma’s offense is going to have their hands full against a stacked Ohio State defensive line led by DL Nick Bosa but the Sooners should be able to find a good deal of success through the air after Indiana put 420 passing yards up on the Ohio State defense last week. In my opinion, this one is going to come down to coaching and Ohio State has a massive edge in that department and I believe that will ultimately lead to the Sooners downfall. Should be a very entertaining game with Ohio State pulling away late.

  • Projected Score: Oklahoma 28 – Ohio State 38
  • Spread Pick: Ohio State -7 (1 unit)
  • Total Pick: OVER 65 (0 units)

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Saturday, September 9th 8 PM EST
  • TV: BTN
  • Point Spread: Western Kentucky -7.5
  • Total: 53

That isn’t a typo. Western Kentucky really is more than a touchdown favorite in Champaign on Saturday. Gulp. Western Kentucky looked impressive last week on offense, as they usually do, led by QB Mike White who now has 10 touchdown passes in his last four games dating back to last season. The Illinois defensive line and secondary are going to have their hands full against the Hilltoppers on Saturday after struggling mightily against Ball State just last week. Western Kentucky is a much more complete football team than Ball State is so it’s going to take a tremendous effort from Illinois here to get their first win of the year. Illinois needs to get better on offense and I think that they will behind a solid ground attack led by RB Kendrick Foster and WR Mikey Dudek. Illini QB Chayce Crouch will have to make some big plays down field to keep up with the WKU scoring attack. All in all, I think the Illinois defense is just too big of a weakness right now and it’s going to ultimately lead to their downfall in this game as well as their season. The spread looks about right to me and I think WKU wins it in a high scoring affair.

  • Projected Score: Western Kentucky 31 – Illinois 27
  • Spread Pick: Illinois +7.5 (0 units)
  • Total Pick: OVER 53 (1 unit)

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Oregon State Beavers

  • Saturday, September 9th 10 PM EST
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Point Spread: Oregon State -2
  • Total: 51.5

Minnesota needed a lot of time to get acclimated to new head coach PJ Fleck last week against Buffalo where they eventually pulled away with a narrow victory. Oregon State got smoked by Colorado State in Week Zero and had to hold on for dear life to beat FCS Portland State last week. This is going to be an ugly game folks. The big issue with the Gophers last week was their offensive line not being able to get much push in the ground game and they suffered mightily in pass protection as well. Minnesota still doesn’t know who their main QB is and having a shaky offensive line isn’t going to help much with that issue. Minnesota should be able to find some success against an Oregon State defense that has looked downright dreadful this year, allowing 45 points per game and 520 yards per game. On offense, Oregon State has been able to put up points behind QB Jake Luton but they will face by far the best defense of the season so far in the Minnesota stop unit. I expect Minnesota to get enough stops in this one to let their offense find a groove against a Charmin soft Beavers defense and PJ Fleck will leave Corvallis 2-0.

  • Projected Score: Minnesota 24 – Oregon State 21
  • Spread Pick: Minnesota +2 (2 units)
  • Total: UNDER 51.5 (1 unit)

Weekly picks recap in order of units wagered:

  1. Indiana -3 (4 units)
  2. Florida Atlantic/Wisconsin OVER 57.5 (3 units)
  3. Rutgers -5.5 (2 units)
  4. Duke +3 (2 units)
  5. Pittsburgh +22 (2 units)
  6. Indiana/Virginia UNDER 56.5 (2 units)
  7. Michigan State -7 (2 units)
  8. Minnesota +2 (2 units)
  9. Ohio/Purdue OVER 57 (1 unit)
  10. Wisconsin -32 (1 unit)
  11. Iowa/Iowa State UNDER 48 (1 unit)
  12. Pittsburgh/Penn State OVER 66.5 (1 unit)
  13. Nebraska/Oregon OVER 70 (1 unit)
  14. Ohio State -7 (1 unit)
  15. Western Kentucky/Illinois OVER 53 (1 unit)
  16. Minnesota/Oregon State UNDER 51.5 (1 unit)

Lots of picks. Time to sink or swim! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next week.