After a few slower weeks, we're back to a full slate of games in the Big Ten this week: all 12 teams are in action. We've got a pair of games that looked like Legends Division title deciders before the season (Michigan-Michigan State, Nebraska-Northwestern), although just one of them is now (sorry, jNW). We've also got a whopper of a spread in the Ohio State game. All odds information are from ESPN's Odds aggregation page; as always, all information here is presented purely for friendly wagers and entertainment purposes.
ILLINOIS (3-4, 0-3) AT PENN STATE (4-3, 1-2) (11:00 AM CST, ESPN)
THE SPREAD: Penn State -11
THE OVER-UNDER: 56
The Leaders Division is such a turd that everyone except Ohio State and Wisconsin have losing records right now. Illinois' 3-1 start to the season has given way to an 0-3 start in conference play. But they still retain bowl aspirations, given that Purdue, Northwestern, and Indiana remain on their schedule. They could breathe a lot easier if they could pull out a win here, though. How likely is that? Well, Penn State got clubbed to death by Ohio State last week... and they're still 11-point favorites in this game. Penn State has been a bit better at home than away this year; their last home game was the 4OT thriller/derpfest against Michigan.
WISCONSIN (5-2, 3-1) AT IOWA (5-3, 2-2) (11:00 AM CST, ABC/ESPN2)
THE SPREAD: Wisconsin -9.5
THE OVER-UNDER: 48.5
Almost ten point underdogs at home? I think it's safe to say that Iowa definitely isn't "back" just yet. That said, that line seems a little high, unless you're a firm believer in the Badgers. They've handled their business against inferior teams, but other than a beatdown of Illinois in Champaign two weeks ago, their road trips have resulted in losses to Arizona State and Ohio State. Then again, those teams are likely better than Wisconsin, home or away -- and they're certainly better than Iowa. But this feels like a one-score game to me. (Alternatively, it also feels like it could be a one-score game until a late Wisconsin touchdown gives them a big lead.) The over-under is also the second-lowest of the week among B1G games, which is probably a pretty safe bet where Iowa is concerned; three of their four conference games so far have featured fewer than 48 points.
OHIO STATE (8-0, 4-0) AT PURDUE (1-6, 0-3) (11:00 AM CST, BTN)
THE SPREAD: Ohio State -32
THE OVER-UNDER: 56.5
32-point favorites! Lines like that are usually reserved for games against, like, Jacksonville State. But Purdue is verging on historically awful this year and Ohio State is riding a 20-game winning streak and fresh off an almost 50-point drubbing of Penn State. West Lafayette has been a house of horrors for Ohio State in the past -- they've lost three of their last four trips to the worst town in the Big Ten. But those were more-competent Purdue teams and less-dominant Ohio State teams. 32 points is still a BIG spread to cover, but it doesn't seem completely crazypants given these teams.
MINNESOTA (6-2, 2-2) AT INDIANA (3-4, 1-2) (2:30 PM CST, BTN)
THE SPREAD: Indiana -8
THE OVER-UNDER: 66
This is the most baffling line of the week. Minnesota, riding a two-game winning streak and fresh off their first win in sixty years (!) over Nebraska, is an almost two-score underdog to Indiana?! Yes, it's in Bloomington, but an 8-point spread suggests that Indiana would be favored even if the game was in the Twin Cities. Which... /mind asplode. Minnesota has already clinched bowl eligibility and they're coming off their biggest win in years, so perhaps Vegas is banking on a letdown for the Gophers. Maybe the safest bet here is the over-under; Indiana scores points in bunches (they haven't scored fewer than 28 points in a game all year) and their defense isn't stopping anyone (they're giving up 37.1 points/game, 113th in the nation). Barring some seriously nasty weather, it would be a surprise if this game wasn't a shootout.
MICHIGAN (6-1, 2-1) AT MICHIGAN STATE (7-1, 4-0) (2:30 PM CST, ABC)
THE SPREAD: Michigan State -5
THE OVER-UNDER: 46.5
You can always count on Michigan State to have the lowest over-under of the week; such is the promise of an elite defense and a thoroughly mediocre offense. Michigan has had two weeks to figure out how to play defense again after coming out on top in a 63-47 offensive fireworks display against Indiana. Michigan State's defense has been undeniably brilliant this season, but they also haven't played many high-powered offenses, outside of Indiana. Devin Gardner, Jeremy Gallon, Fitzgerald Touissant, and friends will be one of their tougher challenges so far. I favor Sparty to win this game, but I don't know if it will be a touchdown or more.
just NORTHWESTERN (4-4, 0-4) AT NEBRASKA (5-2, 2-1) (2:30 PM CST, BTN)
THE SPREAD: Nebraska -6
THE OVER-UNDER: 58.5
The battle of the NUs! (Well, according to them. We know better, of course.) It's a little shocking that Nebraska is only a 6-point favorite at home against a jNW team riding a 4-game losing streak in league play. But I suppose a little punishment is in order when you lose to Minnesota for the first time in 60+ years. A loss here could send Nebraska's season into full-blown meltdown mode; a win for Northwestern could... well, definitely not save their season, but at least turn stop the ship from completely sinking. I have no idea how this game plays out; there are so many different ways Nebraska could go here.
How about you? What bets do you like?