Last week the favored Big Ten schools only covered in three games with underdogs like Ohio State, Marshall and Wisconsin managing to beat the spread. While zero people actually had confidence in Wisconsin upsetting the Cornhuskers in Nebraska, there's a reason it was pointed out that the Bugeaters are only 4-13 (now 4-14) against the spread in their last 17 (now 18) home games as a double digit favorite. Here's how the conference is doing ATS:
Ohio State: 2-3
Michigan State: 1-4
Penn State: 4-1
Yes, you read that correctly, Northwestern is currently 5-0 against the spread. Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue are other teams that might surprise a few people when it comes to covering...and then there's Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes squeaking past NIU, losing to Iowa State, only beating UNI by 10 (the line was 11.5) and then @#O)((@)$%* against Central Michigan puts them at 1-4. Michigan State was favored by 8 against Boise State, which seems a little high, -5.5 against Notre Dame and -2.5 against Ohio State. Wisconsin...well, I think we all know Wisconsin's story.
Week 6 provides an opportunity for teams like Northwestern, Purdue and Nebraska to say to the rest of us: Yes, we're really that good. It also gives Michigan State an opportunity to rebound off a tough loss to Ohio State and gives the United States of America the priviledge of watching the absolute tire fire that is Illinois vs. Nebraska. That's right kids, the Illini vs. Badgers matchup is on ESPN2 or ABC regional. Here's how that game will look:
Sigh. Well, here's the most recent lines from the Mirage and MGM Grand:
The most interesting gambling matchup of the week is undoubtedly Northwestern at Penn State. As previously noted, the Wildcats are perfect against the spread and the Nittany Lions only "loss" came against Ohio. What may define this game is the passing offense for each team. Surprisingly, Northwestern boasts one of the best rushing defenses in the nation. Not so surprising, they also boast one of the worst passing defenses giving up a ridiculous 311 passing yards per game. Penn State isn't known for throwing the long ball (just look at their QB) but if Northwestern is to bottle up the run and the Nittany Lions look to do the same, this game should go vertical. Am I saying this is going to turn into an aerial shootout? No. I'm just saying that whoever can be more successful through the air will walk away with the W.
Other notes from the B1G:
- The Illini offense is one of the worst in the nation. There are no statistics needed.
- Northwestern has exactly one win in Happy Valley and has lost 5 straight to the Nittany Lions.
- Nebraska is 0-2 ATS in Big Ten road games as an underdog.
- The Illini are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 matchups against the Wisconsin Badgers.
- In its last four home games as an underdog, Purdue is 3-1 ATS against Big Ten teams.
- The Hoosiers are averaging 34 points per game but are ranked in the bottom 20% when it comes to defense.
Enjoy week 6!