It is the final week of the regular season in college football and there is a ton on the line in the Big Ten.
All 14 teams will be in action on Saturday and out of the seven games, just one has a spread that is more than one possession. Between No. 2 Ohio State (10-1) and No. 6 Michigan (10-1) clashing for the Big Ten East title and Maryland (5-6) and Rutgers (5-6) colliding for the opportunity to be bowl eligible, expect this week to be all sorts of excitement in the Big Ten.
Let’s take a look at the spreads for all the Big Ten games this Saturday. All lines are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Maryland (-1.5) at Rutgers
Maryland and Rutgers will duke it out on Saturday in one of the biggest matchups in each of the programs’ histories in recent memory. Both the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights are 5-6 overall and 2-6 in the conference. The two teams are fighting to become bowl eligible and the winner of this game would do just that. Maryland has not been to a bowl game since 2016 and Rutgers has not been to the postseason since 2014. A win in this game would be massive for both sides in terms of the program taking the next step. With Maryland being favored by just over a point, expect this game to be back and forth, much like it was last year when Rutgers came out on top by a field goal in overtime in College Park. The questions that will be answered are which program will take the next step and become bowl eligible and which will have its 2021 season end in heartbreak?
No. 2 Ohio State (-8) at No. 6 Michigan
Although this is usually the biggest game for both Ohio State and Michigan every season, this year it is even bigger. Ohio State has handled Michigan easily in recent memory, but the Wolverines are toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes in 2021. Ohio State dominated Michigan State last week, 56-7, to remain in the race for the Big Ten East title and with Michigan’s win over Maryland, the Wolverines will have a chance at the division too. Whichever program wins will win the Big Ten East, but it can also likely punch its ticket to the College Football Playoff assuming it wins the Big Ten Championship. Michigan has not covered a spread against Ohio State since 2017 and if the Buckeyes play anything as they did against the Spartans, it will be an uphill battle for the Wolverines.
No. 17 Iowa (-1.5) at Nebraska
This is one of the most storied rivalries in college football, but this season Nebraska will be without its starting quarterback Adrian Martinez after he was ruled out on Monday. On Friday afternoon, the Hawkeyes will visit the somewhat depleted Cornhuskers for the teams’ 52nd meeting all-time. Nebraska has struggled this season and Iowa is desperately fighting for the Big Ten West title. If No. 18 Wisconsin falls to Minnesota and Iowa knocks off Nebraska then the Hawkeyes will get the chance to play in the Big Ten Championship. Iowa has defeated Nebraska in six straight meetings.
Northwestern at Illinois (-6.5)
Northwestern sits dead last in the Big Ten West and Illinois fell last week, which ended its hopes of becoming bowl eligible. Both the Wildcats and Fighting Illini are searching to end the season on a high note with a win and go out with pride in 2021. Illinois has picked up some notable wins this season, including defeating Penn State in nine overtimes, which might give them the leg up in this season finale at home against an in-state Big Ten West foe.
Penn State at No. 12 Michigan State (-1)
The Nittany Lions and Spartans are both bowl-eligible already and Penn State has already locked up fourth place in the Big Ten East. The Spartans, with a win and a Michigan loss, would finish in second place in the Big Ten East. With more implications, this game could have been one of the most anticipated of the college football season, but the result does not mean much for either side. Expect it to be one of the most entertaining games in the nation this week and with the spread favoring the Spartans by one point, it will likely be a close contest.
Indiana at Purdue (-15)
Purdue is the only team in the Big Ten that is favored by more than one possession this week. The Hoosiers have struggled all season, with injuries at important positions, and are still searching for their first conference win of 2021. The Boilermakers do not have a shot to win the Big Ten West title, but they are looking to make a statement before being selected to a bowl game. Purdue has notable wins over Iowa and Michigan State and should handle their in-state rival fairly easily. Indiana will compete to avoid a winless conference slate in 2021.
No. 18 Wisconsin (-7) at Minnesota
This matchup carries the most implications for the Big Ten West standings over any other contest this week. With a win, the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers –– who have won seven games in a row –– would win the Big Ten West title. But, if Minnesota is victorious the Big Ten West title would change. Iowa would win the division with a win and a Wisconsin loss. Minnesota would win the division with a win, an Iowa loss and a Purdue win. The only way Wisconsin would still win the division if it loses this week would be with an Iowa loss and Purdue loss. The Badgers are one of the hottest teams in America, and running back Braelon Allen has been one of the most impressive players in the nation of late, but the Golden Gophers have something to play for, so the spread remains at one possession.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
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