The Big Ten season rolls along with 14 teams in action this Saturday.
After a strong start to the Big Ten betting season, we trudge along into Week 2 of the college football season as every Big Ten team clashes with non-conference opponents. Some of these breakdowns will feature deeper analysis, while a few of these will be kept short and sweet due to some lopsided affairs. Best of luck and let’s keep this thing rolling!
2022 Big Ten Record: 3-0-1
Duke at Northwestern (-10): O/U 57 (11:00am CST)
Both of these teams enter this game 1-0 in the record books, but no one can deny that Northwestern’s win was consumed and noted to a much higher degree by the college football betting public than Duke’s initial win. The Blue Devil’s in Week 1 dominated Temple 30-0, but the magnitude of this win pales in comparison to Northwestern’s win over Nebraska on national television to kick of the CFB season.
The point that I’m making is that the perception of Northwestern has been drastically inflated, and while I’m not suggesting that anyone thinks this team is a Big Ten West contender, the perception is almost certainly driving this line up. I put this game closer to Northwestern -6. That deduction should have me interested in Duke and the points, but I feel there is a stronger play to make in this matchup.
The most glaring keys in this game are the lack of defensive execution on both teams’ behalf. Despite the win, Northwestern’s defense showed serious flaws, and if not for some timely turnovers and the gift-wrapped failed onside kick, the Wildcats almost certainly would have fallen in that opening game.
2021 was a rough season for Duke, however, their issues did not lie on offense. While the running back position remains a question mark after the departure of standout Mateo Durant, the Blue Devils are appear to be in better hands at QB under Sophomore Riley Leonard. Leonard showed flashes for Duke as a Freshman in the backup role, and in his first start of 2022, threw for 328 yards on 24/30 passing, while adding 64 yards on the ground.
I expect both passing offenses to roll in this game, and could drive the pace up higher than people may be assuming. I do have Northwestern winning this contest, but I’m going to take my money over to Duke’s team total of over 23 points, and I’ll predict a 31-28 victory for the ‘Cats.
RMags’ Pick: Duke TT Over 23
Ohio at Penn State (-26.5): O/U 54 (11:00am CST)
I don’t have strong thoughts on a betting play here, so I’ll keep this one and some other potentially ugly games short and sweet. The Penn State-Purdue Week 1 game was a roller coaster unlike any other, and the Sean Clifford experience was on full display. While sometimes it can hurt you to look at past season results, in these Big Ten-MAC matchups, I actually think it can help paint a clearer picture of what to expect.
Ohio can certainly be a fun team out of the MAC this year, but to get an idea of what to expect at least offensively, you can look at last year’s results against Power 5 opponents, including a nine point outing against Syracuse, and a six point showing against a bad Northwestern defense. Now throw the 2022 Bobcats to a Penn State team in their home opener looking for a defensive bounce back, and we could be in for a rough scene on our hands.
I’m probably going to avoid this one from a gambling perspective, but I do lean towards taking Ohio’s team total under 13.5. I do feel like the game total will stay under, but Penn State has the potential to post a giant number themselves, so I’ll assume the Nittany Lion defense prevails and would lean towards Ohio’s under.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Western Illinois at Minnesota (-38.5): O/U 55.5 (11:00am CST)
There really isn’t much to see here either. Even if you live outside of Illinois and have this game offered to you, the markets and offerings for Big Ten versus mid-level FCS opponents can be slim to none. To get the script on this game, I think you can safely turn to last week’s Wisconsin-Illinois State game, in what should be a pretty similar outcome.
WIU and ISU are very similarly built and very comparable from a skill and size standpoint, and on the flip side, I don’t believe Minnesota’s defense is getting enough credit for what they can be in 2022. I think the Leathernecks will be lucky to score 10 in this one, and there really is no predicting what Minnesota will finish with. It’s a hard pass from me.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Arkansas State at Ohio State (-44.5): O/U 68.5 (11:00am CST)
If you were someone like me and expected a massive outpouring from Ohio State’s offense in Week 1, you were sorely disappointed. Credit needs to be given to Notre Dame’s defense for slowing this team down, because it may not have looked pretty, but the hype is real surrounding this Buckeye offense and it may take a cupcake game for them to really get rolling.
The total and spread here are telling you this is going to be a 56-12 final score in Ohio State’s favor and I think that would be a fair assessment for OSU’s offense. If you want to dive into this game I’m not stopping you, but personally I do not enjoy sweating out a 44-point spread of a 56.5 team total.
If I’m doing anything I’d be interested in Arkansas State’s team total under 12, but a second half coast from Ohio State, could allow a couple scores from Arkansas State. I’ll go with a firm lean towards that under 12.
RMags’ Pick: Lean Arkansas State TT Under 12
Washington State at Wisconsin (-17.5): O/U 65.5 (2:30pm CST)
With a handful of lopsided matchups on the Big Ten slate, this becomes one of the more intriguing matchups to analyze. From a gambling perspective, I fear that the lines across the board are pretty spot on, and has me hesitant to make a play. However, if you are hellbent on making a pick on this game, I do see a fairly large edge in Wisconsin’s defense, up against Washington State’s offense.
In what should have been an absolute beat down of FCS opponent Idaho last week, the Cougars won an oddly competitive matchup with a final of 24-17. New starting QB Cam Ward finished the game with 215 yards on 25/40 passing. For those doing the math at home, that is an extremely pedestrian 5.4 yards per attempt. Now, factor in that Idaho in 2021 allowed over 250 passing yards per game at the FCS level, and at the very least, you should be concerned about Cam Ward and this offense up against a very stingy Wisconsin defense.
Another advantage worth mentioning falls towards Wisconsin’s rushing offense. Washington State averaged over 160 yards per game allowed on the ground, and when this Badger offense smells blood in the rushing game, things can get ugly quick.
The more I write, the more I’m talking myself into some type of action, but the -17.5 concerns me, as that absolutely leaves the door open for a late backdoor cover. The play in my opinion to make is buying into Cam Ward struggling versus this Wisconsin defense. I’ll take a swing at, any maybe you can sense a theme today, with a team total under for Washington State.
RMags’ Pick: Washington State TT Under 15.5
Maryland (-27) at Charlotte: O/U 65.6 (2:30pm CST)
2022 marks the ninth year of Maryland’s membership within the Big Ten, and to this point they have amassed a 38-55 record, including three bowl appearances, and a program high of seven wins, met twice during that time span. Everyone is waiting for this program to finally breakout and compete with the big boys in this conference, but to this point have come up short.
Now, with Taulia Tagovailoa entering his second full season as the starting quarterback, the expectations, at minimum for the offense, are quite high among some experts. From my perspective, I truly don’t know if this is that year or not, but what I do feel strongly about in today’s case, is that the Charlotte 49ers are a very bad football team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I truly have no idea what we’ll see from Charlotte’s offense up against Maryland’s defense, as the 49ers do have some ability to score, but I feel pretty certain the Terps will roll from start to finish.
As for the gambling play, stay tuned to my Twitter as I stalk the weather report for this game. There is a decent chance this one catches some rain, and the outcome could be effected to some degree. If the rain does come down and makes it tough to throw, this Charlotte defense allowed over 200 yards per game on the ground in 2021, so one way or another, the Terrapins will cruise to victory.
RMags’ Pick: Weather dependent. If clear, Maryland TT Over 46.5. If not clear, I’ll pass.
Iowa State at Iowa (-3.5): O/U 40 (3:00pm CST)
The most anticipated game of the Big Ten slate, and one of if not the biggest non-conference rivalry that the Big Ten has to offer, comes to us from the fine state of Iowa. My thoughts are pretty cut and dry with this one from a gambling perspective.
The entire college football world is beyond aware of what Iowa did offensively last week against FCS opponent South Dakota State. A 7-3 win with zero touchdowns, had many people laughing this offense off of their screens. Despite that output, the Hawkeyes not only find themselves as -3.5 to -4 point favorites, they also can be found with a team total of 21.5. The oddsmakers are begging you to take Iowa State here.
On DraftKings, their bet tracker has Iowa State bringing in roughly 70% of bets and money on this game, but in spite of that, moved the line to Iowa State +4, making it even easier for them to cover, enticing even more people to come and take some Cyclone action.
It would not shock me if Iowa’s offense put up another rough outing, but I am personally predicting some increased success, and continued success defensively. Iowa held SDSU’s running backs to 53 yards on 21 carries last week, and against Iowa State in 2021, held Breece Hall to 69 yards, neutralizing ISU’s biggest threat en route to a 27-17 win.
Iowa has dominated this rivalry both historically, and in recent memory, holding a six game win streak, including a 4-2 record against the spread over that span. I’ll predict a 23-16 final score for the Hawkeye’s, taking care of the spread and making it a seventh straight win over the Cyclones.
RMags’ Pick: Iowa -3.5
Virginia at Illinois (-4): O/U 57.5 (3:00pm CST)
The second shortest spread on the Big Ten board features a solid matchup, with Illinois seeking some revenge following last year’s dominant performance from Virginia in a 42-14 win. In that game, Virginia jumped out to a huge lead early, forcing Illinois to rely on the arm of then starting QB, Artur Sitkowski. That recipe was not successful for the Illini in 2021, but with Tommy DeVito under center in 2022, the offense looks far more competent.
The brief breakdown of these teams’ strengths and weaknesses would be pointing out Virginia’s high powered passing attack, with Brennan Armstrong returning at QB, mixed with their less than impressive rushing defense that allowed over 200 yards per game last year. Contrast that with Illinois’ strong rushing attack led by Chase Brown, who has impressed thus far, and mix that with a porous pass defense that was exploited by a fairly weak Indiana passing attack one weak ago.
I foresee a high amount of points in this game from both offenses, but control of this one could be dictated very early. If Virginia jumps out early again, Illinois could be throwing more than they’d like to, and vice versa, if Illinois jumps out early they will have a better opportunity of controlling the game on the ground.
I’d be interested in points of any kind in this game, as I lean towards the over 57.5 game total, but I feel a bit more confident that Virginia can climb over the 26.5 team total. This one could be an electric shootout from start to finish, and I’ll go ahead and give a 41-37 win to Virginia.
RMags’ Pick: Virginia Team Total Over 26.5
Akron at Michigan State (-34.5): O/U 56 (3:00pm CST)
Moving into the weaker portion of the slate, the Spartans host an an opponent out of the MAC for a second consecutive weak, with last week seeing a 35-13 win over Western Michigan. If you watched that game you know that it was more of a roller coaster than the final score would lead you to believe. Despite a 21-3 lead at half, Michigan State, let their foot off the gas and let WMU creep up to a 21-13 deficit heading into the 4th quarter.
I expect a similar first half output from Michigan State on both sides, potentially with increased offense. Following last week’s scare, I see no reason to think Michigan State won’t step on the pedal in the second half this time to finish the dominance that should be expected early. I think the numbers are fairly spot on here with MSU’s team total all the way up at 45, so I will be sitting this one out. I’ll predict a 45-13 final.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Indiana State at Purdue (-35): O/U 51 (3:00pm CST)
I see this one as very comparable to my thoughts on the WIU-Minnesota game, with the Big Ten side dominating defensively, and the offense doing just about anything it wants to against the Missouri Valley team’s defense. We are already seeing the trends of these Big Ten-MVC games, with SDSU scoring three, Illinois State scoring zero, and if you look back to last year, you’ll see similar numbers. This Indiana State team themselves, fell to a bad Northwestern team in 2021, 24-6.
I expect a beat down from start to finish. If you have the offerings, consider a swing at ISU’s under, but it’s unlikely that the general public has that option.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Wagner at Rugers (-50.5): O/U 58 (3:00pm CST)
This is a pretty firm stay away from me, as my head tells me that Rutgers has no business being favored by 50 over anyone, but when you look at who Wagner is and what they’ve been in recent memory, it does make a bit of sense. An 0-11 team at the FCS level last year, Wagner’s lone FBS contest saw a loss to MAC’s Buffalo by a score of 69-7. I have absolutely zero interest in backing either side here, and neither should you. Save your money and run far away from Piscataway on Saturday.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Georgia Southern at Nebraska (-23): O/U 62.5 (6:30pm CST)
After an ugly upset loss to open the season against Northwestern, Nebraska turned to North Dakota for a get-right-game last week in Week 1. While they did win 38-17, this was a 24-17 game heading into the 4th quarter. All things considered, it was a fairly embarrassing effort in what should have been a blowout as near 30 point favorites.
Now turning to this meeting versus the Sun Belt’s Georgia Southern, a 3-9 team in 2021, you would expect a similar type of bounce back. Offensively I think it is safe to assume that the Cornhuskers will move the ball at will, however, the defensive struggles could keep Georgia Southern within covering range.
With than in mind, and considering that Nebraska hosts Oklahoma next week in a game that could single-handedly save Scott Frosts’ job, there’s reasonable doubt that the ‘Huskers could be looking ahead to next week.
I’m going to pass on this one altogether, and will hope that Nebraska can continue to provide circus-esque entertainment.
RMags’ Pick: Hard Pass
Hawaii at Michigan (-51.5): O/U 67 (7:00pm CST)
For those that love backing Hawaii for some late night fun every season, you may already know what the deal is here. This is going to be, and already has been, a brutal year for Hawaii. A 63-10 loss to Vandy, and a 49-17 loss to Western Kentucky precedes this trip to the Big House to face a Michigan team fresh off of a 51-7 drubbing of Colorado State.
The numbers in this game make it tough to back Michigan, considering you’ll more than likely need a 60-plus point outing to cover this spread. I’ll be keeping myself out of this one, but with Michigan hosting Maryland’s high powered offense in two weeks, it seems as though the Wolverines are looking to sharpen their swords early with their non-conference schedule. I’m passing, but I’ll go out on a limb and say they crack 60.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Idaho at Indiana (-23.5): O/U 50.5 (7:00pm CST)
There really isn’t much to see here and I really don’t recommend getting involved. Last year’s meeting between these squads saw a 56-14 demolishing by Indiana, against an Idaho team that as mentioned previously in the WSU/WISC preview, allowed 250 passing yards per game at the FCS level in 2021. With Indiana’s success against Illinois’ pass defense last week, you would expect a near similar dominance this year against the Vandals, but many that I’ve spoken to feel this 23.5 points spread is way too good to be true.
If you’re an Indiana believer and you aren’t afraid of the fishy smell on that spread, then by all means, jump right in. For myself, I’m going to leave this on the table and pass for now.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
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