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Week 1 is always the toughest to predict. Add in the COVID-shortened 2020 Big Ten season, the slew of canceled games, and the addition of super seniors since everyone has been granted an extra year of eligibility, and we have a recipe for confusion.
Week 2 should be much easier, but here’s a chance to earn a few shekels before then.
Ohio State (-13.5/-650) at Minnesota
Generally, most people don’t find value in prohibitive favorites who are laying two touchdowns. However, if there were an investment that would pay a 15% return in just a few days, crowds would be sprinting to sign up.
Ohio State -13.5 is a solid bet, but taking the -650 money line is as close to a sure thing as you’ll find in this world.
There have been talks that this is the most talented Ohio State team of the last decade (outside of the unknown element of the QB), and if that is truly the case, wagering $650 to win $100 is as easy as Taco Tuesday.
University of Texas San Antonio at Illinois (-4.5)
Sometimes all it takes is a little spark. Last Saturday against Nebraska, Illinois found the spark they have been desperately missing.
Starting off slow, they learned how to maximize their opponent’s miscues, seize control and finally finish an entire game.
Love him or hate him, Bret Bielema can coach football and inspire a team, and I’m a guy who hated playing against him while he was at Wisconsin.
Illinois might not win 10 games this season, but they now have the confidence and buy-in to win one-score games against lesser competition. Illinois wins this by a touchdown, so lay the points.
Michigan State at Northwestern (-3.5)
Last season, the Spartans had a rocky start to the Mel Tucker era with a record of 2-5. However, those two wins were against their instate rival Michigan and the Big Ten West Champions Northwestern.
Though they return much of their starting lineup this year, Sparty is breaking in a new quarterback and should still be rebuilding in Tucker’s second season. Not to mention, Tucker is only 2-5 against the spread as a road dog in his coaching career.
Northwestern is replacing as many starters as any team in the Big Ten, but after 15 years, Pat Fitzgerald has built a program that rarely bottoms out and is competitive every week.
Bottom line is that Northwestern is in a better place as a program and should be highly motivated to avenge last season’s loss. Lay the 3.5, as the Wildcats should win this one by a touchdown.