For the first time this season, all 14 Big Ten teams will be in action against each other this coming Saturday. The conference has four teams ranked in the latest AP Top 25 and seems to be primed for another big year heading into conference play.
Let’s take a look at the spreads for week five’s Big Ten games, provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Purdue at Minnesota (-10)
Through four games, it seems as if Minnesota is the team to beat in the Big Ten West. The Golden Gophers are 4-0 and silenced many critics of their easy nonconference schedule with a 34-7 drumming of Michigan State on the road. Led by quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota jumped into the AP Top 25 this week, coming in at No. 21.
Purdue came into the 2022 season with ambitions of competing for the Big Ten West crown, but will need to improve its play soon if those dreams are to stay alive. The Boilermakers lost to Syracuse on the road and nearly dropped a home game to Florida Atlantic this past weekend, needing a late stop on a two-point conversion to come away with a victory. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell didn’t play due to an injury, and if he isn’t able to play against Minnesota, Purdue could be in serious trouble.
Michigan (-10) at Iowa
After playing one of the country’s easiest nonconference schedules, Michigan got tested in its game against Maryland. The Wolverines failed to pull away from the Terps but rode a dominant performance from running back Blake Corum to a 34-27 victory. At times, they looked unable to slow down the Terps’ offense.
That shouldn’t be too much of a worry this week, though, as the Wolverines travel to Kinnick Stadium to face Iowa. The Hawkeyes’ offense is one of, if not the worst in the conference, but their defense is one of the best in the nation. A hostile environment in Iowa City and a stout defensive front should be challenging for Michigan’s offense, led by a relatively inexperienced quarterback in J.J. McCarthy. The Wolverines are substantial favorites, but turnovers could decide this game’s outcome.
Illinois at Wisconsin (-9)
Wisconsin was simply overmatched against Ohio State on Saturday. The Badgers lost 52-21 to the far-and-away Big Ten favorites, but trailed by 45 before the Buckeyes took their foot off the gas. Wisconsin, which normally prides itself on its defense, allowed 539 total yards and forced just two punts. Now sitting at 2-2, the Badgers will have to step their game up in order to compete in the Big Ten West.
Illinois likely won’t compete for a division title, but there is reason for optimism in Champaign. Now sitting at 3-1 — and one field goal away from 4-0 — the Illini are off to their best start since 2015 and could make a push for a bowl game in year two under head coach Bret Bielema. A road trip to Madison should show what this year’s Illinois team is made of.
Northwestern at Penn State (-25)
Michigan’s unconvincing showing against Maryland has led many to believe that Penn State may be the second-best team in the Big Ten East, and potentially in the conference overall. One week after blowing out Auburn on the road, the Nittany Lions beat Central Michigan, 33-14. The Chippewas hung around for a half but couldn’t score in the final 36 minutes of the contest. At this point in the season, Penn State looks like one of the top 10 or so teams in the country.
Since beating Nebraska in week zero, Northwestern’s season has taken the exact opposite turn that Penn State’s has. The Wildcats dropped three consecutive home games to Duke, Southern Illinois — an FCS team — and most recently Miami (OH). Technically speaking, Northwestern is 1-0 and tied for first place in the Big Ten West, but its undefeated conference record will most likely be undone Saturday against the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State at Maryland (-7)
This afternoon matchup is a showdown of two fanbases with entirely opposite outlooks on the season. Maryland is feeling optimistic after a strong showing on the road against Michigan, but Michigan State might struggle for bowl eligibility one year removed from winning 11 games.
At one point in their 34-7 loss against Minnesota, the Spartans had allowed 227 yards of offense and had generated just one of their own. It was an ugly performance in East Lansing, and verified that there is legitimate reason for concern after getting blown out in back-to-back weeks. Michigan State has one of the worst pass defenses in the country, and the Terps will look to expose that Saturday.
Indiana at Nebraska (-3.5)
Indiana started the season 3-0, but was brought back to reality by Cincinnati, losing, 45-24. The Bearcats laid it on the Hoosiers, scoring 38 points in the first half behind quarterback Ben Bryant’s four touchdown passes. Indiana was expected to be among the worst teams in the Big Ten entering the season, but will have an opportunity to compete for its second conference win against a Nebraska team in flux.
The Cornhuskers were annihilated by Oklahoma after firing head coach Scott Frost and had this most recent weekend off. Now led by interim head coach Mickey Joseph, Nebraska hopes that its early bye week was an opportunity to regroup, put the whirlwind of the last few weeks behind it and focus on winning football games. As always, Memorial Stadium will be packed for Saturday night’s matchup against the Hoosiers, and the Cornhusker fans will be hoping to come away with a win.
Note: Odds are not available for Rutgers at Ohio State on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.