With just two regular season games remaining for all 14 Big Ten football teams, every single team will be in action this Saturday. There are seven Big Ten matchups, five of which feature a ranked team and likely the most anticipated matchup of the season between No. 5 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan State with first-place in the Big Ten East on the line.
Let’s take a look at the spreads for all the Big Ten games this Saturday. All lines are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 8 Michigan (-14.5) at Maryland
Maryland started the season 4-0 and sits one win away from becoming bowl eligible with No. 8 Michigan and Rutgers in its way. The Terrapins have struggled against AP Top 10 teams and have lost every game against a ranked opponent this year. After falling to Michigan State on the road, the Wolverines bounced back with a tight win at Penn State and still have the Big Ten Championship in its sights and potentially the College Football Playoff. Michigan is 8-1 all-time against the Terps and has been successful in College Park, most recently with a 38-7 victory in 2019. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has played well of late, despite some poor decision-making, but Maryland’s defense has been porous and has struggled to stop the cream of the crop in the Big Ten. The Terps are searching for that sixth win, but it may come down to the final game of the season with Rutgers and Maryland fighting for bowl eligibility.
No. 7 Michigan State at No. 5 Ohio State (-19)
This matchup is one of the most anticipated games of the entire college football season. Michigan State and Ohio State are both 9-1 overall, with aspirations of making the College Football Playoff, and first place in the Big Ten East is up for grabs. The Buckeyes and Spartans feature two very different offensive styles, but both possess a current Heisman Trophy hopeful. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III are two of the top three favorites to win the Heisman. This will be a battle, but it’ll likely come down to if Michigan State’s struggling defense, which ranks 111th in the FBS, could stop Stroud and a three-headed monster of star wide receivers in Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Rutgers at Penn State (-18)
Penn State was a top-five team in the Associated Press poll in the middle of October and has since dropped four games. The Nittany Lions might be a bit deflated after falling to then-No. 9 Michigan, 21-17, at home in a tight one last week and they’ll have to face a hungry and determined Rutgers team that is one win away from becoming bowl eligible. With just two games left, Rutgers will have a chance to become bowl eligible against Penn State and Maryland, but the Scarlet Knights have not fared well against the Nittany Lions since joining the Big Ten in 2014. Penn State is 29-2 all-time against Rutgers and the Nittany Lions have won 14 straight of their matchups. Quarterback Sean Clifford will look to lead Penn State back to victory, while quarterback Noah Vedral will look to make Rutgers bowl eligible for the first time since 2014 when it won the Quick Lane Bowl against North Carolina.
Purdue (-11.5) at Northwestern
After upsetting then-No. 3 Michigan State a couple of weeks ago, Purdue lost by four possessions to then-No. 4 Ohio State in Columbus this past week. The Boilermakers are already bowl eligible at 6-4 and possess two wins over AP top-five teams (No. 2 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan State). Jeff Brohm’s group is ranked No. 19 in the College Football Playoff Rankings and is looking to continue its season with a bowl game, while Northwestern is in the midst of a down year. The Wildcats sit dead last in the Big Ten West at 3-7 overall and 1-6 in the conference, having lost four straight. There is not much on the line for either side in Evanston this week, but Purdue will look to get its stock rising once again.
Illinois at No. 18 Iowa (-12)
No. 18 Iowa was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, but it has now surrendered first place in the Big Ten West to red-hot Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes have eight overall wins already but are striving to win the Big Ten West and play in the Big Ten Championship. It will likely have to win out to do so and hope for a Wisconsin loss, but the Hawkeyes will get a solid bowl game regardless. Illinois has four overall wins on the season and has to win out in order to become bowl eligible, so the Fighting Illini will likely put up a fight against Iowa, although the Hawkeyes have dominated at home with five wins and a lone loss. Iowa is getting back to its winning ways after a shocking loss to Purdue at home with back-to-back five-point victories over Northwestern and Minnesota and it looks to continue its success against teams lower in the Big Ten West standings.
Minnesota (-7) at Indiana
Indiana has struggled this season, mostly due to injuries at key positions, after a successful 2020. The Hoosiers have not won a conference game in 2021, while the Golden Gophers are already bowl eligible and are third in the Big Ten West. The spread states that Indiana will keep it close with Minnesota, but the Hoosiers were just blown out by Rutgers by five touchdowns this past weekend and in seven Big Ten losses this season, only two have been within one possession. Indiana has lost five conference games by at least 22 points. This is an opportunity for head coach P.J. Fleck’s group to sustain another conference win.
Nebraska at No. 19 Wisconsin (-10)
No. 19 Wisconsin is one of the hottest teams in the country right now. After losing to then-No. 8 Michigan, the Badgers have won six straight games and most of those wins have come easily. The Badgers have quietly placed themselves in a position to run away with the Big Ten West after defeating then-No. 18 Iowa by 20. The Badgers currently sit in first place in the Big Ten West with Nebraska tied for last in the division with Northwestern. This spread indicates a potential closer game than some might anticipate with how well the Badgers are playing and the game being in Madison. Quarterback Graham Mertz has really turned it on after a sluggish start to the season and running back Braelon Allen has turned into one of the most ferocious backs in the conference. Allen is the reigning Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week after going off for a career-high 173 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries against Northwestern. He’s the first Wisconsin freshman to register six 100-yard games in a season since 2001 and he’s looking to continue his success as Wisconsin pushes to keep the top spot in the Big Ten West.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
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