This guy isn’t on the everyday roster, he’s more of a special attraction. Think of how Andre the Giant used to work in the territory days of professional wrestling. He bounced from place to place, earning one large payday after another, never staying too long, building up his legend and making a permanent dent in each town’s inventory of red wine. 

Just when you think you’re close enough, have built up enough rapport to stare dead-long into the abyss of his mouth to spy that second row of teeth he was rumored to own, Andre leaves and his legend grows. The charm was not only the hulking structure who darkened a good portion of the ring when he entered. The beauty was in the brevity of it all — his length of stay, his matches, the whole experience. Here and gone.

I give you, the Overtaker. 

Rare, larger than life, sure and simple in approach, the Overtaker peruses a slate and plows ahead. He wastes no time with the nuances and normal conventions of the craft, a style that puts him at odds with the hackneyed image of the wise old gambler.

He comes around once a season, at a time when fate and desperation cross and he’s left to rescue a dying, money-hemorrhaging operation. 

Stickler’s note: All lines taken from Lines may have shifted since the column’s inception. 

Purdue vs. Minnesota +3 ¦ o/u 61.5

The play: Over

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.

21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

The Logic: PJ Fleck grates on those with no condition that warrants snake oil. So when Kirk Ferentz did a very un-Kirk Ferentz like thing last week, it triggered a warning for future games. Granted Ferentz’s move combatted Fleck’s, but there seemed to be a little too much glee in his actions. Expect fellow Big Ten coaches to follow and add on points against Fleck, who has the football equivalent of a very punchable face. 

But it’s not just the desire of others to see Fleck and his team struggle. Jeff Brohm against a Minnesota defense dead-last in points allowed is too enticing. Throw in both team’s inability to pressure and sack the quarterback, and both Tanner Morgan and Aidan O’Connell should have plenty of time to take shots downfield. 

Ohio State vs. Indiana +20.5 ¦ o/u 65

The play: Over

The Logic: What do we know about Ohio State’s defense? We know it lost a lot of NFL talent. We know the offenses they’ve seen this year amount to a lot of college football starter kits. We know they haven’t seen the sort of talent at the wide receiver position that Indiana fields.

Now let’s switch the eyehole on the Buckeyes. 

We know Justin Fields displays the sort of on-field excellence unseen from the quarterback position in the conference since, (*throws hands up in air, checks Heisman list*) Troy Smith. We know Ohio State wants to lock up the No. 1 overall seed in the College Football Playoff, and, with the recent puddles found by divisional powers Penn State and Michigan, the Buckeyes need statement wins. Statement wins mean lopsided scores, or at least the effort to make the score lopsided.

Illinois vs. Nebraska -15.5 ¦ o/u 58

The play: Over

The Logic: There’s a little more energy in the matchup with changes to the quarterback position. Brandon Peters and Adrian Martinez each led their respective teams on efficient 40-yard drives that lead to turnovers.

The switch to Isaiah Williams — and yes, Lovie Smith did not commit to a quarterback yet but if he commits to Peters he should be well, you get the point — gives the Illini some flash and substance to an offense long lacking both flash and substance.

We’ll assume Scott Frost will stick with Luke McCaffrey — he led the Huskers to their first win of 2020, after all — over Martinez for similar reasons. 

With both teams near the bottom of rushing yards allowed per game, expect both to move up and down the field with relative ease. A few big pass plays from McCaffrey, and the Overtaker leaves 3-0. 

Last week’s record: 1-2
Overall record: 5-7

Week 5’s other B1G lines

Michigan State vs. Maryland -6.5 ¦ o/u 54.5
Iowa vs. Penn State +2.5 ¦ o/u 48
Wisconsin vs. Northwestern +7.5 ¦ o/u 45
Michigan vs. Rutgers +10 ¦ o/u 55