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The Gambler: October 26 in Big Ten Betting

As always, these are for friendly wagers and entertainment purposes only.

Can Hackenberg HACK the Horseshoe?  GET IT?  I'll get my coat.
Can Hackenberg HACK the Horseshoe? GET IT? I'll get my coat.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was a week of absurdly big spreads in B1G play -- the smallest favorite was Michigan and they were still almost 10-point favorites (-9.5) -- so of course the underdogs did well, covering in three of five games (and one of the favorites, Michigan, only covered thanks to a late TD) and winning outright in one (LOL jNW). What's on tap for this week? It's another fairly quiet week, with four B1G teams having byes this week.

NEBRASKA (5-1, 2-0) AT MINNESOTA (5-2, 1-2) (11:00 AM CST, ESPN)

THE SPREAD: Nebraska -10.5

Nebraska's also listed at -10 and -11; I split the difference and went with -10.5. Regardless, after some early season struggles, Nebraska seems to be settling in as a Big Ten contender (at least in the Legends division); they smoked Illinois and Purdue before enjoying a bye last week. Minnesota is fresh off their first B1G win of the season, that aforementioned upset win over Northwestern in Evanston, and needs just one win to reach bowl eligibility. I think they're too offensively limited to actually Nebraska and a spread around 10 points seems like one that the Cornhuskers can cover, too. But I really like the under: the forecast is cold and I don't expect Minnesota to score many points. Nebraska isn't scoring 40+ points all by themselves, either.

just NORTHWESTERN (4-3, 0-3) AT IOWA (4-3, 1-2) (11:00 AM CST, BTN)


Before the season, very few people would have expected Iowa to be favored over Northwestern when this game came around, but... surprise! Iowa's a little better than most people anticipated and Northwestern's definitely worse than most people expected, leading us to the present situation. Iowa could (and should) definitely cover if jNW plays as poorly as they did against Minnesota last week, but we all know that's not going to happen, right? Especially if Kain Colter is back on the field, as expected. Given the recent history of this series, the safe bet is probably with Northwestern +4, but... ugh. Let's just stay away from this one altogether, hmm?

MICHIGAN STATE (6-1, 3-0) AT ILLINOIS (3-3, 0-2) (2:30 PM CST, ABC/ESPN2)

THE SPREAD: Michigan State -10

Last week's 28-point spread in favor of Michigan State looked awfully big, even with Purdue looking historically inept to this point in the season. And, sure enough, there's a reason you don't bet on a 28-point favorite that's as offensively limited as MSU. The spread is down a much more manageable 10 points week, although the opposition is the occasionally-competent Illinois. Mind you, that occasional competence primarily came in non-conference play; they've been trucked by both Wisconsin and Nebraska in league play so far. Still, the most enticing bet here -- as it is with any MSU game -- is probably the under. This has the feel of another ugly, low-scoring MSU win.

PENN STATE (4-2, 1-1) AT OHIO STATE (7-0, 3-0) (7:00 PM CST, ABC)

THE SPREAD: Ohio State -14.5

So far Ohio State's margins of victory in three B1G wins: 7, 10, and 10. That was just enough to cover against Northwestern, but well short of the margin they needed to cover against Iowa. (I don't believe they covered against Wisconsin, either.) Ohio State will play some B1G opponents they should be able to blow out with ease eventually (Purdue and Illinois are still on the schedule, after all), but they're not having much luck dominating opponents that display more than fleeting moments of competence. So I like Penn State and the points here. The over is also tempting, given the defensive fralities we've seen from Ohio State the last three games and Bill O'Brien's general offensive acumen; you have to think he's spent the last two weeks picking apart the film on OSU and finding a few things that should work.

But what about you? What bets do you like? (NOTE: I'm not going to list all the options in the poll; it just gets too unwieldy. If I left off your favorite bet of the week, hit up the comments!)