Big Ten Conference play resumes with four massive conference matchups.
The chill is in the air in Big Ten country, and for my fellow football junkies and myself, the energy only grows from this moment on. To this point in 2022, our beloved Big Ten has been kind to our bankrolls if you’ve been following along with these blog releases, and this week hopes to continue the positive run.
The slate runs a little smaller than the past few weeks, as four Big Ten conference games await us on Saturday, including a huge Big Noon Kickoff at the Big House and a potential redemption spot for Michigan State, just to name a couple.
It’s time to sharpen the iron here in Week 4, because beginning next week, we will have all fourteen teams in action with seven head to head matchups. Best of luck this weekend, and thanks for following along!
2022 Big Ten Record: 8-4-1
Central Michigan at Penn State (-28): O/U 61.5 (11:00am CST)
We can get this one out of the way early, as this stands as the biggest spread difference on Saturday’s Big Ten slate. Now I fully expect the Nittany Lions to roll in this one, but I will most likely be avoiding the full game spread here.
Penn State impressed not only the Big Ten faithful last week, but turned some heads nationally with their 41-12 blowout win at Auburn. I completely anticipate this Penn State offense will play well on Saturday, but with this game being sandwiched between that Auburn game on the road, and one week before their resumption of Big Ten play, it would not shock me to see Penn State coast in the second half if they find themselves with a significant first half lead.
If I’m going anywhere, I may be interested in some first half action for Penn State, up against a Central Michigan team that allowed 58 points to Oklahoma State, and 38 to South Alabama. Considering these outputs, you would expect this to come easy for Penn State, but with my thought of a potential second half coast, I’ll lean towards Penn State -17 in the first half.
RMags’ Pick: Lean Penn State 1H -17
Maryland at Michigan (-17): O/U 64.5 (11:00am CST)
We have arrived once again for the annual “it’s time for Maryland to make their Big Ten statement” game. If you’ve been paying attention for the past decade, you probably understand where this could be heading (see 2021 Maryland “statement” game).
To be fair, I will not deny that Maryland has a ton of talent and can score points in a hurry. Their offense has been impressive through three games. What I will contest, is that as we’ve seen in previous years, this Terrapin team just does not have the size and physicality to match with the higher level teams in the Big Ten, and this week that includes Michigan. I do believe that Maryland is a better and more experienced team than they were last season, however that does not mean that they have addressed the issues that they saw when Big Ten play arrived.
In 2021 Maryland had similar expectations as they do in 2022 with their explosive offense, and solid QB play led by Taulia Tagovailoa. That team finished 3-6 in conference play with wins over Illinois, Rutgers and Indiana, the bottom feeders of the conference. In their six losses, their closest margin of defeat was a 17-point loss to Penn State. In every single one of those six games, their offense was drastically out-matched physically, and their defense was gashed in brutal fashion.
I can definitely be convinced that Maryland will have a better showing in 2022 than what I just laid out, but this just isn’t the right match for this team. Granted, it would be fair to argue that Michigan has not played anyone yet, but they undoubtedly have fired on all cylinders in the games that we have seen. Their offense should have zero issues scoring on Maryland’s defense, and while I would not be shocked if Maryland is able to score, the physicality difference that Michigan will bring will certainly be enough to distance these two teams.
I could actually foresee a total deja vu scenario where Maryland goes undefeated in non-conference play, and goes 3-6 in Big Ten play, this time beating Indiana, Northwestern and Rutgers, while getting absolutely demolished defensively by the top half of the conference.
I’ll happily take a stance on Michigan with this one, and will go with a 45-20 drubbing in the Big House.
RMags’ Pick: Michigan -17
Minnesota (-3) at Michigan State: O/U 50.5 (2:30pm CST)
If you are wondering why the Spartans, in a bounceback spot, are a home underdog on Saturday, I will be the first to tell you that it’s not so much about Michigan State garnering a lack of respect, but it’s about these Minnesota Gophers bringing in a boatload of respect for what they can do on both sides of the ball.
Despite a tough season-ending injury to Chris Autman-Bell, this Gophers team is really freaking good, and have plenty of horses to fill the void of Autman-Bell. After a poor defensive showing against Washington last week, Michigan State finds themselves at 2-1 and quickly outside of the AP Top 25. I do believe this team will still have a nice season, and should be really competitive, but against the well-rounded teams in the Big Ten, will probably face some struggles.
While they have not had a chance to showcase their team on any significant stages thus far, Minnesota has eviscerated the opponents that have come before them. Looking back to last year, had they managed to avoid a two week scuffle where they lost consecutive weeks to Illinois and Iowa, this team would have won the Big Ten West and battled Michigan in the title game. Of course, anybody can say “woulda, coulda, shoulda”, but the point is that this team was really good for the majority of the 2021 season.
This Spartan pass defense has shown serious signs of weakness, and with a well-rounded offense in Minnesota, could see troubles again. What will be interesting to see is how they plan to slow down Mohamed Ibrahim. Ibrahim returns this season after missing the majority of the 2021 campaign following an opening night injury. In three games in 2022, Ibrahim has ran for 464 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and scoring seven touchdowns. With a schedule that avoids the tough Big Ten rushing defenses until the final weeks, we actually could be talking about this man during mid-season as a potential Heisman sleeper.
Give me the Golden Gophers to roll 31-20.
RMags’ Pick: Minnesota -3
Indiana at Cincinnati (-16.5): O/U 57.5 (2:30pm CST)
There really isn’t much I can say about this game, other than I believe the lines and prices are fairly spot on. Where I do feel confident is that Cincinnati should have no troubles scoring on this Indiana defense and a Hoosier squad that should arguably be standing at 1-2. I am very interested in monitoring this game and the line movement up until game time, but for now I will be passing on this game. My heart says Cincy beat down, but something isn’t sitting right with me on this one.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Iowa (-8.5) at Rutgers: O/U 34 (6:00pm CST)
I’ve asked this a couple of times this week, but I’ll ask again. Is this a service academy game?? We’re looking at a game total of 34 with zero weather issues and greater than a touchdown spread. The Big Ten homer in me is so amped for this inevitable disaster of punts and brutal offense, but the bettor in me is still trying to pinpoint what I feel is the best option here.
My gut tells me that Iowa should cover this number, however, I refuse to back this offense on the incredibly realistic chance this game finishes 13-7, or worse. I will however, feel much more confident backing the Iowa defense with an under pick on Rutgers team total of 13.5. The Scarlet Knights enter this game 3-0, but the resume is not exactly eye popping, beating a bad Boston College team, a dismal Wagner FCS squad, and taking down Temple 16-14 as 18.5-point favorites.
Regardless of how you feel about this Iowa offense, I still believe you can show confidence in the Hawkeye defense.
RMags’ Pick: Rutgers Under 13.5 Team Total
Wisconsin at Ohio State (-19): O/U 56.5 (6:30pm CST)
In previous seasons, and most likely again in the future, this matchup has been one of the biggest of the entire Big Ten season. In 2022, that won’t quite be the case. While Wisconsin does have a very solid defense, this offense is really no match for Ohio State. With that being said, I think these betting lines are very spot on and are really tough to get in to. The last two meetings between these two teams saw 34-21 and 38-7 victories for the Buckeyes, and while those games were played back in 2019, I would not be shocked to see either of those final scores.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
FAU at Purdue (-16.5): O/U 58 (6:30pm CST)
Despite the 1-2 start, I really believe in this Boilermaker squad, and firmly believe that they will have a really successful season. In the case of this game however, Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell, is currently a game time decision to play in this game. Whether he plays or not should have no indication on the Boilermakers winning this game, but it does make the spread and totals tough to decipher.
Purdue has massive games beginning next week against Minnesota and Maryland, and O’Connell’s presence in those games matters a heck of a lot more than it does against FAU. Stay away and hope O’Connell gets back healthy for some fantastic conference matchups in October.
RMags’ Pick: Pass
Miami Ohio at Northwestern (-7.5): O/U 49.5 (6:30pm CST)
Last, but, well maybe least, we have the Northwestern Wildcats favored by more than a touchdown over a MAC opponent. After two consecutive losses to Duke and Southern Illinois, Northwestern’s increased expectation following the Nebraska win, have quickly been dashed. Despite the stumbles, the 7.5 point spread, in addition to a team total higher than 28, would lend you to believe that the Wildcats are destined for a bounceback.
Defensively, Northwestern should hold an edge in physicality, and with the performances they have laid out on the defensive side, you’d imagine that some positive trends are heading their way. Offensively, Northwestern has been fine, and I expect that to continue Saturday night. Give me a Northwestern cover to get the ship back on track heading back into conference play.
RMags’ Pick: Northwestern -7.5
Follow Riley Magnuson on Twitter @riley_magnuson1
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