Unsure of what to do after Sunday dinner when the go-getters clear plates, cups, and dishes off the oaken dinner table and you’re flanked by older family members very particular about the amount of cream and sugar in their decaf? Check out the lines. 

It’s not cordial, nor is it social, but when are family interactions measured by those barometers? The early bird eats well if it flies head-first into the numbers for games the following week. 

Prompt awareness, a pity when people need volunteers, but fulfilling on bobblehead giveaway days, pays off for the wagerer.  Two games in particular worked for those with an early eye toward the lines.

Rutgers vs. Michigan State opened with the Spartans favored by 15.5. Monday morning saw line movement to Michigan State favored by 13 after a brief spell at 12.5 before the number settled at 13.5 most recently. Good news for those of you who took Rutgers when you zoned out from Uncle Tino’s testimonial on boxers from a bygone era

Same went for Maryland vs. Northwestern. The Wildcats opened as 8-point favorites, only to see the number balloon to 11 by late Monday morning. Move early to get a number at its most desirable. If you played the opposite side you’ll have quite the heroic saga to tell when your team covers. 

Stickler’s note: All lines taken from mybookie.ag. Lines sometimes move from the pick’s inception and the “Mad About You” theme song does not run in totality before the opening credits of each episode. We accept and forge onward. 

Rutgers plus 15.5 vs. Michigan State o/u 45.5

The pick: Rutgers

The logic: Both programs enter the weekend cleansed from the stench of last season. The scrub down includes two new coaching staffs eager to rid their immediacy of all those hidden fish. A number north of 2 touchdowns seems high for a Michigan State offense that struggled mightily last season and a Rutgers program that used every imaginable pocket, basket and bag to hoard whatever it got its hands on from the transfer portal. Rutgers will sell moral victories through the year, and covering the number in the first game of the second Greg Schiano era will engender enthusiasm. 

Maryland plus 8 vs. Northwestern o/u 55

The pick: Northwestern

The logic: Maryland combined to score 142 points in its first two games of last season and totaled 161 in its final 10. Take out the glorified walk-through vs. Rutgers and the numbers are more dreary. 

Northwestern looks to bounce back after a 3-9 season with a ton of returning production on both offense and defense. Mix in a devotion to running the ball, the upgrade at quarterback with Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey, and Maryland’s inexperience in its front seven, and all signs point to Northwestern grinding toward a 2-touchdown victory.

Nebraska plus 26 vs. Ohio State o/u 67

The pick: Over

The logic: Ohio State’s defense gives me all sorts of itchiness in anticipation of the season. Seven players on defense went in the NFL Draft. Defensive Coordinator Jeff Hafley took the head coaching job at Boston College. Do not expect major regression based on the roster, but don’t be surprised if it takes a few games for the unit to find its footing, get those Gary’s up to rhythm on the kick drum. The offense will lead the team for the first part of the season; the defense will find its form but expect some growing pains with all that lost talent.  

Nebraska’s experience on the offensive line and the reunion of head coach Scott Frost and new offensive coordinator Matt Lubick to rekindle the glory of what the duo accomplished at Oregon spikes enthusiasm for the Huskers. The combination of those factors, along with the overall volatility of quarterback Adrian Martinez, he of Jarrett Guarantano-like flare ups, will lead to explosive plays for the Huskers, a short field for the Buckeyes, or more than likely, a combination of the two.

The rest of the B1G lines

Illinois plus 19.5 vs. Wisconsin o/u 51.5

Penn State minus 7 vs. Indiana o/u 58.5

Iowa minus 3.5 vs. Purdue o/u 54.5

Michigan minus 3.5 vs. Minnesota o/u 54.5