Seasons Greetings

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College Football: B1G Bets! Expert Picks for Week 4 in the Big Ten

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College Football: B1G Bets! Expert Picks for Week 4 in the Big Ten

2021-09-23 16:14:24


-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum. (Image Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Here are Week 4’s B1G Bets (Last Week: 4-2: Season: 11-5):

B1GGEST BET: (Last Week: 1-0; Season: 3-0)

MICHIGAN -20 Rutgers 

We’re going back to Ann Arbor for our BIGGEST BET for the third time in four weeks this season, as we continue to ride the Wolverines while fading a Rutgers team that isn’t playing as well as the perception. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard the word “good” in reference to the Scarlet Knights. Unable to push the ball down the field, they will struggle to score against the Wolverines' strong defense. Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral ranks 107th out of 121 quarterbacks (50+ dropbacks) in passer rating per Pro Football Focus, while he’s last in the country in average depth of target. It’s a big reason why Rutgers is 105th in yards per play.

Rutgers does have a solid defense but they haven’t faced a running game or offensive line the caliber of Michigan’s. The offensive line has the Wolverines ranked third in yards before contact, while running backs Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins are two of the most effective runners in college football. Corum specifically has been spectacular so far. With Wisconsin coming up, I expect Michigan to try to build on Cade McNamara’s (8/11, 191 yards last week) success last week against a depleted cornerback room for Rutgers.

The weather might be a factor but that shouldn’t deter you. Michigan’s strength is running the ball and they could shut out Rutgers if that’s the case.

Michigan: Out for Season: WR Ronnie Bell; Out Indefinitely: OG Zak Zinter; Rutgers: Out: CB Chris Long, CB Max Melton; Questionable: CB Patrice Rene

Total: 49.5; Money Line: Michigan -1,400/Rutgers +800

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge)

Location: Ann Arbor, MI; Stadium: Michigan Stadium (109,901)

Michigan – AP Top 25: 19; Coaches Poll: 19

Rutgers – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR (48)

B1GGER BETS: (Last Week: 1-1; Season: 4-2)

Notre Dame +6.5 Wisconsin

Was Notre Dame overrated to start the season? Yup. But I believe the Badgers were as well, which has me scratching my head with this line. Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan (8.4 yards per pass, 8 TDs/2 INTs) takes on his old team and it’s unclear if Wisconsin picked the right quarterback because Graham Mertz (6.0 yards per pass, 0 TDs/2 INTs) has not played up to his recruiting ranking since a spectacular debut (opener versus last season). This figures to be a low-scoring game, which the total of 46.5 indicates…another reason to bet the underdog. The Irish will keep it close and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pull off the outright upset.

Preseason Line: Wisconsin -1.5

Wisconsin: Out Indefinitely: RB Antwan Roberts; Questionable: TE Jack Eschenbach, LB Aaron Witt, CB Deron Harrell; Probable: WR TJ Sheffield; Notre Dame: Out Indefinitely: TE Kevin Bauman; Questionable: RB Logan Diggs, RB C’Bo Flemister, OT Michael Carmody, LB Prince Kollie

Total: 45; Money Line: Wisconsin -240/ Notre Dame +195

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt)

Location: Chicago, IL; Stadium: Soldier Field (61,500)

Wisconsin – AP Top 25: 18; Coaches Poll: 15

Notre Dame – AP Top 25: 12; Coaches Poll: 10


Yup. I’m going against Michigan State again. With a 3-0 start, Sparty has vaulted into the top 25 but I believe they’re overvalued. Miami played a big part in MSU’s big road win with turnovers, costly penalties, dropped touchdowns, and empty red-zone trips. The Spartans were undervalued heading into the season (4.5 season-win total) but the market has overcorrected. The same could be said of Nebraska since their stinker opener in Week 0. After cruising over Fordham, they covered the next two games easily against Buffalo (28-3 win) and Oklahoma (16-23 loss). The defense has allowed just 33 points in the past three games while Adrian Martinez is quietly playing the best football of his career: 11.7 yards per pass. That’s per pass, not per completion. Miami showed last week you can throw on the Spartans secondary. An outright upset wouldn’t shock me.

Preseason Line: Nebraska -4

Nebraska: Out for Season: RB Gabe Ervin Jr., LB Will Honas; Out Indefinitely: TE Thomas Fidone II; Questionable: WR Oliver Martin, TE Austin Allen, TE Travis Vokolek, DT Casey Rogers; Michigan State: Questionable: QB Anthony Russo, RB Elijah Collins; WR Ricky White, TE Adam Berghorst, LB Carson Casteel

Total: 52; Money Line: Michigan State -195/Nebraska +170

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET; TV: FS1 (Aaron Goldsmith, Mark Helfrich)

Location: East Lansing, MI; Stadium: Spartan Stadium (75,005)

Nebraska – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

Michigan State– AP Top 25: 20; Coaches Poll: 21


On my podcast, I talked a lot about recalibration in the Big Ten East. Indiana was one of those teams that were overrated heading into the season. A market correction is appropriate, but I think the market has overcorrected. Indiana went from being in the same tier as Penn State and ahead of Michigan to now being placed in a tier with Rutgers behind Maryland and Michigan State. Both times the public perception of the Hoosiers is wrong. So are the betting lines, as the market has overcorrected from 20.5 in the preseason to a 9-point favorite over WKU this Saturday. Indiana has played pretty well defensively and has one of the best secondaries in the Big Ten, a bad matchup for the pass-happy Hilltoppers. WKU’s defense is coming off a grueling defeat to Army (67 rushes).

Preseason Line: Indiana -20.5

Indiana: Out for Season: CB Christopher Keys; Questionable: DE James Head Jr., S Devon Matthews; WKU: Questionable: WR Dalvin Smith, TE Joshua Simon

Total: 63.5; Money Line: Indiana -360/WKU +290

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET; TV: CBSSN (Dave Ryan, Aaron Murray)

Location: Bloomington, IN; Stadium: Memorial Stadium (52,929)

Indiana – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

WKU – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

B1G BETS: (Last Week: 0-1; Season: 2-2)


Yes, Ohio is 0-3 with some bad losses, but they’ve played better than that record would indicate. The Bobcats have averaged 5.5 yards per play to 5.8 by their opponents. The Ohio offense expects to get big-play wide receiver Isiah Cox back (19.5 YPC on 57 career receptions) after he served a three-game suspension to start the 2021 season, as well as Jerome Buckner (missed last two games) who went for 102 yards on seven grabs against Syracuse in their opener. Moreover, it’s anyone’s guess who starts at QB for the ‘Cats. Hunter Johnson threw three INTs in the first half at Duke, backup Andrew Marty provided a spark but left the game with an injury and was relieved by Ryan Hilinski.

Preseason Line: Northwestern -14

Northwestern: Out for Season: RB Cam Porter, OL Zachary Franks; Questionable: QB Andrew Marty, WR Berkeley Holman, WR JJ Jefferson; Ohio: Questionable: LB Keye Thompson; Probable: WR Jerome Buckner, WR Isiah Cox

Total: 48; Money Line: Northwestern -700/Ohio +500

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: BTN (Chris Vosters, J Leman)

Location: Evanston, IL; Stadium: Ryan Field (47,130)

Northwestern – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

Ohio – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

MARYLAND -14 Kent State

The Terps didn’t cover at Illinois last week and the numbers would indicate they should have won by more but I like the fact that they faced adversity and didn’t fold. Instead, Maryland responded. Taulia Tagovailoa has done a great job of making big-time throws with no turnover-worthy plays per PFF. Against a shoddy Kent State defense, the Terps will put up however many points they want. The strength of the Golden Flashes was supposed to be the offense but they’ve struggled to play up in competition (lost 41-10 at Texas A&M and 30-7 at Iowa). Maryland’s defense won’t be the best they’ve faced so far but it’s a much-improved defense that has been very strong against the run and is developing a pass rush. The Terps may also benefit from being the third of three power-five teams that Kent State has played in September (all on the road).

Maryland: Out Indefinitely: LB Fa’Najae Gotay, CB Deonte Banks; Kent State: Out: WR Isaac Vance, Questionable: WR Ja’Shaun Poke

Total: 70; Money Line: Maryland -650/Kent State +450

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: BTN (Joe Beninati, Matt McGloin)

Location: College Park, MD; Stadium: Byrd Stadium (54,000)

Maryland – AP Top 25: NR (30); Coaches Poll: (36)

Kent State – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR


Michigan -20/ Michigan State ML/Indiana -9/Purdue -11


MINNESOTA -31 Bowling Green

As Week 3’s B1GGEST BET, Minnesota’s defense really brought it against Colorado last week! They held the Buffaloes to minus-19 yards rushing and 63 total yards at a clip of 1.4 yards per play. For that, we thank you!

Minnesota: Out for Season: RB Mohamed Ibrahim; Bowling Green: No Injuries Reported

Total: 51; Money Line: Minnesota -10,000/Bowling Green +2,500

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: ESPNU (Mike Couzens, Dustin Fox)

Location: Minneapolis, MN; TFC Bank Stadium (50,805)

Minnesota – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

Bowling Green – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

IOWA -23/23.5 Colorado State

Iowa’s quarterback play continues to be below average but it continues to not matter. I want to fade the Hawkeyes but there just hasn’t been the opportunity. They pushed last week (30-7 vs. Kent State) thanks to a late score by Tyler Goodson.   

Iowa: No Injuries Reported; Colorado State: Questionable: WR Dante Wright

Total: 44.5; Money Line: Iowa -2,500/Colorado State +1,100

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: FS1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman)

Location: Iowa City, IA; Stadium: Kinnick Stadium (70,585)

Iowa – AP Top 25: 5; Coaches Poll: 6

Colorado State – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

PURDUE -11 Illinois

I was leaning Purdue, but with their best running back (Zander Horvath) and cornerback (Cory Trice) out, and their best player David Bell in concussion protocol I can’t pull the trigger.  

Preseason Line: Purdue -10

Purdue: Out for Season: TE Jack Cravaack; Out Indefinitely: RB Zander Horvath, WR Mershawn Rice, OG DJ Washington, CB Cory Trice; Questionable: WR David Bell, WR Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen; Illinois: Out for Season: LB Calvin Hart Jr.; Questionable: RB Mike Epstein, WR Marquez Beason, DE Keith Randolph Jr., DB Tailon Leitzsey; Probable: C Doug Kramer

Total: 53; Money Line: Purdue -440/Illinois +350

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: BTN (Lisa Byington, Anthony Herron)

Location: West Lafayette, IN; Stadium: Ross-Ade (57,282)

Purdue – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

Illinois – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

OHIO STATE -49 Akron

This is a did you know brought to you by Chris “The Bear” Fallica: since 1996 there have been 13 favorites of at least 49 points in an FBS vs. FBS game and the favorite is 1-12 against the spread (2-16 since 1993 ATS). Do with that what you will.

Ohio State: Out for Season: DE Tyler Friday, S Jaylen Johnson, S Josh Proctor; Out Questionable: RB Marcus Crowley, RB Miyan Williams, OG Harry Miller; Probable: QB C.J. Stroud; Akron: Out: Questionable: QB Kato Nelson

Total: 66.5; Money Line: Ohio State -360,000/Tulsa +75,000

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: BTN (Brandon Gaudin, James Laurinaitis)

Location: Columbus, OH; Stadium: Ohio Stadium (104,944)

Ohio State – AP Top 25: 10; Coaches Poll: 12

Akron – AP Top 25: NR; Coaches Poll: NR

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, Maxwell, Bednarik, and the Rotary Lombardi Awards, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:                      


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