For the first time in a month, all 14 Big Ten teams are playing each other this weekend. As the final month of the season arrives, the conference division title races are heating up and the spotlight continues to brighten on some of the conference’s top teams competing for a national title.
Let’s take a look at what the odds are in the Big Ten this week, presented by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Maryland at Wisconsin (-5.5)
With both teams coming off a bye, Maryland vs. Wisconsin promises to be one of the weekend’s most competitive games.
Maryland is 6-2 but has played close against two of the Big Ten’s weakest teams — Indiana and Northwestern — in its previous two games. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is expected to return this week from a sprained MCL, which should give the Terps’ offense a boost. On a chilly day in Madison, though, Maryland may lean on running back Roman Hemby to try and find its third road win of the season.
Wisconsin likely would’ve been an underdog in this game a few weeks ago but looks rejuvenated since making a coaching change. Under Jim Leonhard, the Badgers are 2-1 and are headed toward removing the interim tag from Leonhard and making him the full-time head coach, assuming things don’t go sideways late. He’ll need to get his team ready to go for an 11 a.m. local kick.
No. 2 Ohio State (-38) at Northwestern
Ohio State was tested on the road against Penn State but asserted itself late, winning, 44-31. The Buckeyes certainly don’t expect to be in close games over the next two weeks, facing off against Northwestern and Indiana. This week, a trip to Evanston to face the Wildcats should be nothing more than a formality and a chance for the Buckeyes to put up huge numbers.
Northwestern was on a bye after its game against the Terps but still looks hopeless in the Big Ten. Its final two home games are against Ohio State and Illinois — the current Big Ten division leaders — and it has to travel for two tough road games at Minnesota and Purdue. Saturday will be another step to a potential 1-11 season in front of what will, unfortunately for the Wildcats, likely be a pro-Buckeyes crowd.
Minnesota (-12) at Nebraska
Minnesota followed a convincing loss to Penn State with a dominant victory over Rutgers, shutting the Scarlet Knights and putting up 31 points behind a 159-yard, three touchdown performance by star running back Mohamed Ibrahim. Head coach P.J. Fleck’s team will have an opportunity to clinch bowl eligibility this weekend in a road game at Nebraska as a two-score favorite.
Sitting at 3-5, a bowl game isn’t likely in the cards for Nebraska this season, but it will look to finish the final month of the season with positive momentum heading into what promises to be an eventful offseason. The Cornhuskers were Illinois’ latest victim last week, only scoring nine points. They’ll need more than that to knock off the Golden Gophers.
Iowa at Purdue (-4.5)
A week removed from being embarrassed by Ohio State, Iowa put together its most productive offensive performance of the season against Northwestern, breaking the 30-point threshold for the first time. Quarterback Spencer Petras held onto his job with 220 yards through the air and took advantage of a struggling Wildcats secondary.
Purdue poses the latest challenge to Iowa, as it is coming off a bye after losing to Wisconsin on the road. The Boilermakers still have a shot at the Big Ten West title that may come down to next week’s showdown with Illinois, but can’t afford to look past the Hawkeyes. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell and company will need to be on their A game in order to come away with a win in what promises to be an exciting contest in West Lafayette.
Michigan State at No. 14 Illinois (-16.5)
Illinois and Michigan State are headed in complete opposite directions.
The Fighting Illini are riding high after a 26-9 win over Nebraska that improved their record to 7-1 and jumped them up to the No. 14 spot in the latest AP poll. In year two under head coach Bret Bielema, Illinois has quickly turned into a formidable opponent and is firmly in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten West.
The Spartans, on the other hand, continue to free fall. An already disappointing year continued with a loss to rival Michigan, and frustrations boiled over as the teams left the field, as four Michigan State players were suspended indefinitely after a physical altercation with Wolverines players in the tunnel. Head coach Mel Tucker’s team sits dead last in the Big Ten East and is desperate for a statement win, but one will be hard to come by against this year’s Illinois team that has its sights set on Indianapolis.
No. 16 Penn State (-14) at Indiana
After a tough loss to Ohio State, Penn State is looking to get back in the win column as a two-touchdown favorite on the road at Indiana. The Nittany Lions have won all but two of the programs’ 25 all-time matchups but will have to avoid a letdown after a big home game in a stadium that Indiana has, for the most part, played competitively in.
The Hoosiers had last week off, and it was much needed after a loss to Rutgers. At 1-4 in the Big Ten, it will be an uphill battle for Indiana Saturday against a superior Penn State squad. If the Hoosiers’ five-game losing streak doesn’t end against the Nittany Lions, it will almost assuredly increase in size next week at Ohio State, so head coach Tom Allen’s crew badly needs a strong performance to salvage its 2022 season.
Note: No odds are available on DraftKings Sportsbook for No. 4 Michigan at Rutgers.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.