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Gambling: College Football Week 7 Picks Against the Spread
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11 Oct 2018 01:23 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones scores touchdown against Maryland. (Image Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Here are my picks against the spread for Week 7 (Last Week: 2-0; Overall: 11-7):

MICHIGAN -8 ½ Wisconsin

I know this line might surprise some Big Ten fans, but it shouldn’t. The Michigan Wolverines are the better team. Outside of the offensive line (no small thing) and the running backs, there’s not a unit of Wisconsin’s that I would take over Michigan’s.

The Wolverines have the conference’s top total, scoring, and pass defense, as well as the second-toughest defense to run on (yards per carry). With bookends Rashan Gary (probable) and Chase Winovich, as well as a wave of interior linemen, they’re deep up front with speedy and sure tacklers attacking the line of scrimmage from the second and third levels led by MIKE Devin Bush.

In obvious passing situations, Josh Uche has been disruptive coming off the edge with end Kwity Paye shifting inside where his quickness is tough to handle. Don’t be surprised to see their pass rush force Alex Hornibrook into a mistake or two.

The Badgers typically have a defense that can match up with Michigan’s elite unit or at least come close. Not this year. They’re allowing 4.4 yards per run (11th in the B1G) and are last in the conference with their five sacks through five games. That will leave a young, inexperienced, vulnerable, and banged up secondary (7.6 yards per pass/12th in the B1G) open to giving up the big play. Not only are two corners questionable, as is their top edge rusher, but end Isaiahh Loudermilk is out and safety Scott Nelson will miss the first half.

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has been improving by the week. He has the arm to stretch the field over the top of a defense and the legs to create some magic when the pocket breaks down. If you haven’t seen him since Week 1, he’s made strides, as has the entire Michigan offense. In tight end Zach Gentry, as well as sophomore wide outs Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, the Wolverines have multiple big targets with the ability to gain yards in chunks.

The expected return of Chris Evans should help take some of the load off of Karan Higdon who may have been leaned on too heavily over the past two weeks.

The Maize & Blue have been strong as a home favorite, covering three of four in the Big House and Wisconsin has struggled against the number this season (1-4). Expect Michigan to move the ball effectively against a mediocre Wisky defense, while they stifle the Badgers in what should be a comfortable win for the Victors. Take the Wolverines now because this line keeps going up even though 60 percent of the action is on Wisconsin.

Nebraska +5 NORTHWESTERN

Some of you will think I’m nuts. How is 0-5 Nebraska only a 5-point dog to a Northwestern team that just beat Michigan State you ask? Well, MSU isn’t that good and remember, it was here that you were advised to take the ‘Cats and the points. While the Huskers defense has been bad, their offense can be explosive. Take out the Michigan game (Northwestern’s D is solid, but not at UM’s level) and in the three other games Adrian Martinez has started, the Huskers have put up 565 yards (vs. undefeated No. 19 Colorado), 582 yards (vs. Purdue), and 518 yards (at No. 15 Wisconsin). Last week, they actually averaged more yards per play than the Badgers in their loss. They are closer to being a bowl-caliber team than the record would indicate while Northwestern might be ready to exhale after pulling off the upset and snapping a three-game losing streak. I also don’t hate that the “sharps” are with me. According to pregame.com, while 64 percent of the tickets are on the ‘Cats, 83 percent of the money is on the Huskers. If you’re among those that believes Northwestern is the lock of the week and this line is too easy, that should tell you something.

OHIO STATE -29 ½ Minnesota

This is strictly a spot play. We expected a bit of letdown last week against IU after their huge win over Penn State. The Buckeyes didn’t play their best first half of football, as they were without a key defender in safety Jordan Fuller (missed the first half). They still won by 23 and that included three kneel downs to end the game deep in IU territory. Now they play an even worse team in Minnesota, a team that has allowed 90 points in two B1G games (42 to Maryland, 48 to Iowa). It’s been three weeks since OSU has allowed fewer than 26 points, so their defense will bring it this Saturday, which will spell trouble for a Minny offense that is one dimensional (3.5 yards per carry) and turnover prone (11). They scored 31 points against a good Iowa defense last week but that’s misleading because twice the Gophers started drives inside the Iowa 10-yard line. Quarterback Zack Annexstad is probable but is dealing with an ankle issue against a defense that will pressure him.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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