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We keep it rolling in house with the Big Ten, but also on the hardwood

For those of you who may not know but ahead of this season, my lovely wife gave birth to our baby boy. He’s adorable. But he’ll need money for college assuming he doesn’t grow up to be a 6’4” point god or TikTok star and it still costs a pretty penny to attend.

So it’s time to open a 529 and what better way* to invest than college football picks.

Note: there are much better ways to invest money and neither I, nor BHGP, are liable for any losses you may endure as a result of any “advice.”

The ground rules:

  • No more than 20% wagered per week
  • No more than 5% on a single bet

Last week:

  • 440 units on Ohio State -23.5 at Michigan State (net +400 units)
  • 220 units on Indiana +14 at Wisconsin (net +200 units)
  • 330 units on Nebraska/Purdue over 62.5 (net +300 units)

Bankroll: 10,788 units

Happy Friday!

So it would seem I’ve finally found my gambling groove...keeping it in the Big Ten. If only 1) I figured it out sooner and 2) there were more games than whatever is about to get played over the course of the next 8 days.

Also an unnecessarily cocky take by me because I’m only up 7.8% of the bankroll which is hardly much but 5-1 over the last two weeks of ponks is cause for celebration at this small, shady corner of the Internet.

I’m about to be self-referential, but it’s still kind of remarkable to me that this is the current playoff resume of the Big Ten’s playoff contender (assuming an OSU win in the title game)...wins over:

  • 2-4 Nebraska
  • 2-5 Penn State
  • 2-5 Rutgers
  • 6-1 Indiana
  • 2-4 Michigan State
  • (currently) 5-1 Northwestern

This just feels ... light. And to be honestly their margin of victory is not so far out of the range of, ugh, Iowa. Ohio State’s 23.4 MOV is a whole 1.4 points better than the Hawks in the last five games. Far be it from me to suggest Iowa should be in the playoff discussion but their case would be a helluva lot stronger than OSU’s at this juncture if David Bell didn’t happen and Caleb Shudak didn’t miss his only field goal attempt of the season.

Butterfly effect, but I stand by it.

Please share your Taylor Swift evermore takes in the comments: mine? I think folklore was better on the back of its high notes (“exile” is the best song BY FAR) though it ended much more weakly than last night’s release.

More Dressner in evermore which I appreciate and his presence carried it throughout the back half but I’m not sure it hits the same as folklore. Is it because evermore was a little more uplifting? I think so!

Does this mean we’re getting a The National/Taylor Swift tour when the pandemic subsides? Sign me up for that even if it’s super weird. I just need to get out.

Iowa gambling thoughts: stay tuned..... but on the hardwood tonight? Slam that over until Iowa gets held below it. They’re currently 4-0-0 on those bets, winning them by a wide margin (15.5 points). At the time of this writing UNDER 159 means ISU would have to hold Iowa to 93 points (what Iowa scored against UNC) while scoring less than 66 - only Western Illinois has scored less (58). Plus, they Cy-Hawk has been over 159 in five of the last seven years.

To the betting machine! (all lines from William Hill)

Minnesota Golden Gophers (+300) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (-10.5 | -360 | O/U 60)
Illinois Fighting Illini (+425) at Northwestern Wildcats (-14 | -550 | O/U 40.5)
Michigan State Spartans (+475) at Penn State Nittany Lions (-15.5 | -650 | O/U 46.5)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+230) at Maryland Terrapins (-7 | -270 | O/U 58)
Wisconsin Badgers (-130 | -2) at Iowa Hawkeyes (+110 | O/U 42)

So we’re approaching it a little differently this week in terms of setting up the bets. Above are all the lines at the time of this writing which is what it is. Broadly speaking there are probably three teams too many being favored by double digits when they probably shouldn’t be. So I don’t really like any of those.

The singular number which sticks out is MSU/PSU over 46.5. Five of the Spartans’ six games have gone over this while five of seven have gone over for Penn State, though they’re trending down.

Both of these teams have weirdly capable (if inconsistent) offenses and spotty defenses and the number is simply too low, in my opinion.

Pick #1: Over 46.5, 220 units to return 420

Northwestern has won just one game by more than 14 points, the season-opening showdown with Maryland in which the Terps couldn’t stop turning it over. Illinois has lost by more than 14 points just twice, against Wisconsin & Minnesota. Not sure Northwestern has an offense which can yield the requisite number of points which would require the 14 line to cover.

Pick #2: Illinois +14, 220 units to return 420

Now this is probably justifying a bet I want to make and building the logic around it... but I think Iowa comes away with the win.

First: turnovers... Iowa is +1.2 while Wisconsin is -0.5.

Second: special teams... while our Aussie King, Tory Taylor has just 2 additional yards/punt (44.6 v. 42.5) than Andy Vujvonich, I think Taylor has been hampered by concession punts in opponent territory. Plus, Charlie Jones? Ever heard of him? People forget Kyle Groeneweg fumbled a punt return the last time these two faced off in Kinnick and Charlie Jones is no Kyle Groeneweg.

Third: wildcat... it proves to be the edge as Iowa punches home a touchdown on their only red zone trip (I have a 16-14 prediction which adds three Keith Duncan field goals).

Does Iowa struggle moving the ball? Yes. Do they look a little bent in run defense? Yes. But they will have moments where they make Wisconsin’s life hell and Iowa has the best player (Daviyon Nixon).

Pick #3: Iowa +110, 300 units to return 630

And there you have it. We have just one more week of Big Ten football so let me know what you’ve thought of the column this season. I’m trying to determine if/when I can continue it throughout basketball season.

10,048 units

Outstanding bets:
Michigan State/Penn State over 46.5 (returns 420)
Illinois +14 at Northwestern (returns 420)
Iowa +110 v Wisconsin (returns 630)
Chelsea +800 to win Premier League (returns 4,005 units)