The Backdoor Cover - Big Ten Edition

By: Josh Gamble

*All lines accurate as of Friday morning*

Big Ten action has only been underway for a week and we have already seen some crazy action, most notably the ending of the Penn State/Indiana game. Indiana’s quarterback was very clearly down; however, if the Penn State back just goes down instead of scoring, we have a much different outcome, but I digress. The leading story of the week is the Nebraska/Wisconsin game being cancelled due to a virus outbreak in the Wisconsin locker room. Now let’s get into the games that are going to be played.

Minnesota (-20) @ Maryland – Over/Under 60.5

Minnesota kicked off their season against a ranked Michigan team at home under the lights. This had all the makings of a marquee Big Ten matchup. The end result was far from that. Minnesota came into this season with division championship hopes and did not look good against the Wolverines. Is this a product of Michigan being better than expected or Minnesota worse than expected? It is a little too early to make that call but I think that it is a little mixture of both. Luckily for The Golden Gophers, they are playing a team this week that is just downright bad. Maryland lost by 5 scores to an average Northwestern team and will certainly have more work cut out for them this week. The line in this game opened at 18 and has risen to 20 while the over has dropped by 2 points ahead of Friday night’s matchup. What this tells me is that people expect Minnesota to win big and that Maryland will have a hard time scoring to push this game over. I agree with both of those things. I am taking Maryland and laying the points as long as it stays below the 21 point mark.

Ohio State (-12) @ Penn State – Over/Under 64

This game was expected to be a matchup between two Goliaths. Ohio State looked like how we expected them to. Justin Fields started off his Heisman hopeful campaign by completing all but one pass. The surprising part of this game was the Buckeyes’ defense giving up 17 points to a below average Nebraska team. (Is it just me or does it seem like Adrian Martinez has been Nebraska’s quarterback for nearly a decade?) Penn State, on the other hand, looked nothing like we expected them to. From the beginning of this game, they struggled against an always average Indiana team. Credit to Indiana every year though as they always seem to play the good teams tough. If the Nittany Lions struggle even a little bit this Saturday, they are going to be in for a world of hurt. The line is this game opened at 8 and has jumped up to 12 as of Friday morning as the cash rolls in on the Buckeyes. I would expect this line to go up a little more throughout today and early tomorrow morning. The total in this game opened at 68.5 and has dropped 4 points to a manageable 64. I am seeing value in the lower number. The key to hitting the over in this game will be Penn State’s ability to score. If Nebraska can score 17 points on this defense, I would expect Penn State to get more than that. I like the Buckeyes to cover the 12 points and the over 64 in this game.

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