Big Ten football is in full swing once again this weekend with many teams completing their nonconference schedule before diving into conference play.
That includes Maryland, who wraps up its nonconference slate at home against SMU. Maryland is only favored by slightly more than a field goal against SMU’s potent offense.
Let’s take a look at the spreads for this week’s matchups, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Oklahoma at Nebraska (+11.5)
After a 1-2 start to the season and a disappointing loss to Georgia Southern last week, Nebraska made a change to its coaching staff, as head coach Scott Frost was fired after a lackluster tenure. Mickey Joseph was named interim head coach and will have a tall task to get his team to refocus for a home matchup against one of the best teams in the country in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is favored by less than two touchdowns, but it remains to be seen if Frost’s firing is a spark or a distraction for the Huskers moving forward.
Western Kentucky at Indiana (-6.5)
Indiana is already off to a better start this season than it was last season, picking up a conference win over Illinois in the first week of the season and pouncing on Idaho in week two. Now, Indiana has a home matchup against a feisty 2-0 Western Kentucky team. This game should be close throughout and the Hoosiers will have a prime chance to pick up their third win of the season before their schedule starts to heat up.
Purdue (PK) vs. Syracuse
Purdue suffered a heartbreaking loss to Penn State in week one but bounced back with a 56-0 shutout against Indiana State in week two. The Boilermakers are still expected to compete in the Big Ten West, but have a tough nonconference matchup against a Syracuse team that handily defeated Louisville in week one and dominated Uconn in week two. The game is in Syracuse and the line at even money indicates it’s a coin-flip game.
UCONN at Michigan (-46.5)
For the third consecutive week, Michigan is playing an opponent nowhere near its caliber. Last week, Michigan played Hawaii at home and was favored by more than 50 points. The Wolverines didn’t cover against Hawaii with a 56-10 win, but they have another huge spread against a struggling UCONN football program. It remains to be seen who will start at quarterback for Michigan as returning starter Cade McNamara started week one and sophomore JJ McCarthy started week two for the Wolverines.
Penn State (-3) at Auburn
For the second straight year, Penn State will play Auburn in week three of the season. Last year, the matchup was in State College and Penn State defeated Auburn. The Nittany Lions are off to a 2-0 start this season, narrowly escaping Purdue and then defeating Ohio last week. Penn State is favored by a field goal on the road in what is expected to be an exciting matchup between Big Ten and SEC foes.
Colorado at Minnesota (-27.5)
Minnesota has looked formidable in nonconference play so far this season and it finishes its out-of-league slate against an 0-2 Colorado team. Minnesota is favored by nearly four touchdowns for a reason. This is the Golden Gophers last nonconference game of the season before it jumps into Big Ten play against Michigan State next week.
New Mexico State at Wisconsin (-37.5)
New Mexico State is no match for Wisconsin and this line tells us that. Although Wisconsin often struggles to put points on the board consistently, New Mexico State is not a worthy challenger. The Badgers did suffer an upset loss last week to Washington State, so they will be hungry to take advantage of a lesser opponent that is 0-3 this season. The only thing the Aggies have going for them is that Wisconsin is in a look-ahead spot as they travel to Ohio State the following week.
Toledo at Ohio State (-31.5)
After narrowly escaping Notre Dame — who was upset by Marshall the week after — in week one, Ohio State’s offense returned to its dominant ways with a 45-12 week two victory over Arkansas State. Now, Ohio State finishes its nonconference slate with a home matchup against Toledo. The Buckeyes will have no problem taking care of Toledo, as the line indicates, in preparation for Wisconsin the following week.
SMU at Maryland (-3.5)
While Maryland has looked dominant in its opening two nonconference victories over Buffalo and Charlotte, its defense has been suspect at times. SMU is coming to College Park with a phenomenal offense for what should be a shootout on Saturday night. The over/under for this game is higher than any other Big Ten game this week, indicating two great offenses matching up against weaker defenses.
Nevada at Iowa (-23)
Iowa’s first two games of the season have not been pretty. The Hawkeyes barely defeated South Dakota State in week one, 7-3, without scoring a single touchdown and was then upset by rival Iowa State, 10-7, in week two. While Iowa has a great defense, it’s interesting they are favored by over three touchdowns this week, regardless of who the opponent is, given the Hawkeyes’ inability to score so far this season.
Michigan State (+3) at Washington
This might be the most interesting line of the weekend. The Spartans are ranked as a top-15 team, according to the AP Poll and have looked good in their 2-0 start to the season, but still travel to Washington as an underdog. The Huskies have looked dominant in their first two wins of the season and they are at home, but Michigan State — led by head coach Mel Tucker — is never an easy opponent to defeat. It will certainly be an interesting game in Washington on Saturday.
DraftKings Sportsbook does not have lines for the following matchups: Southern Illinois at Northwestern and Rutgers at Temple.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.