This is silly.

At its core, sports gambling is a gaggle of unpredictability that hinges on a football player’s split decision to either score a touchdown or fall down short of the goal line to drain the clock and squash the Over.

Since we’re all holding on for dear life in the saddleless ride of the 2020 season, it’s comforting to make up rules. 

Gambling rules, like most everyday rules, aren’t iron-clad in their efficiency. Running with scissors is optimal if a horde of aggressive balloons floats in your immediacy. 

For instance, I refuse to bet on Will Muschamp’s team (currently South Carolina) under any circumstances. The combination of Muschamp’s cream-of-mush offense, facial gestures, and his decision at the end of Week 1’s game against Tennessee are enough to keep me away. In moments when the Gamecocks cover and win outright as underdogs, like they did against Georgia last season, I prefer to cherish the damage inflicted upon the higher-rated opposition and not dwell on lost fortunes. 

Muschamp Avoidance is just one rule, Michigan Abstention is soon to be another. The combination of coach, fanbase, and outsized expectations whittled me down to an unenthusiastic nub. Saturday marks a last stand of sorts.

The other two games? Well, they each excite me for their relative lack of excitement. 

Stickler’s note: All lines taken from Lines may have shifted since the picks were made. No, it’s not acceptable to trick or treat on November 2nd if the weather is better. Even for you. Even if you are 26. 

Michigan State vs. Iowa -7 O/U 46

The play: Under

The logic: Someone please point me in the direction of the explosiveness, better yet, spurts of explosiveness. Iowa and Phil Parker know they can bring a safety over the top to cover Ricky White. The Hawkeyes cannot engage in a shootout, it’s in Kirk Ferentz’s contract and with the current state of the program, a letter-of-the-law approach is probably best.

Iowa needs a win and when Iowa needs a win efforts do not trend toward artistic. Expect pulling linemen, passes to the flats and drives ending in 3 points considered a success.  

Michigan vs. Indiana +3 O/U 54.5  

The play: Michigan

The logic: Only once in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure did the Wolverines lose back-to-back Big Ten games. After last week’s efforts to more than double quarterback Joe Milton’s pass attempts from Week 1, I expect Michigan to commit to running the ball against an Indiana team that allowed 250 rushing yards against Penn State in its season opener even though the defense improved drastically against Rutgers last week. It typically takes Harbaugh one entire week of enduring a colossal failure to rewire the offense and get off the redundancy that doomed his team the previous week. 

I love the Indiana story, the 2-0 start, and relevance in the East, but there’s more urgency in Ann Arbor now. I’ve also been bitten by the Wolverines enough times to know this is the end of my dalliance with them if they fail to cover. Expect a Michigan win by 3 and the same ultimatum later in the season. 

Nebraska vs. Northwestern -3.5 o/u 55

The play: Under

The logic: Nothing about this game spells quick strike, or even relatively quick strike. Nebraska’s longest completion in Week 1 against Ohio State totaled 26 yards. The rushing attack generated a long run of 47 yards by Adrian Martinez. Expect the Wildcats to force Nebraska to grind out yards in slow and steady doses. Northwestern’s big plays on offense through the first two games were a rush of 37 yards and a reception of 23 yards. There is no fast-forward function to this game. Expect dueling field goals and punts and the sweaty anticipation for those from fans enraptured with field position.

Last week’s record: 0-3
Overall record: 3-3

B1G Week 3’s other lines

Maryland vs. Penn State -25 o/u 63

Minnesota vs. Illinois +7 o/u 62

Rutgers vs. Ohio State -38 o/u 64.5