B1G bets: A look at the most interesting Week 4 wagers in the Big Ten
Welcome to B1G bets.
Each week, we will take a look at the spreads, totals and any intriguing prop bets we come across for upcoming Big Ten games.
It should be noted that this is not an attempt to tell you what to do with your money. We barely know what to do with our own money. Our goal is to bring your attention to wagers which you might consider placing based on your own due diligence.
With that established, let’s take a look at what Week 4 has to offer.
Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame (at Soldier Field, Chicago)
Line: Wisconsin -5.5 (FanDuel), -6.5 (DraftKings)
Total: 45.5 (FanDuel), 45 (DraftKings)
It’s a bit surprising to see an undefeated Notre Dame team as a near-full touchdown underdog in a neutral site game against a team that has only beaten Eastern Michigan. But as anybody who has watched the Bears-Packers rivalry over the past 25 years knows, a team from Wisconsin should probably always be favored at Soldier Field.
On a less snarky note, the primary reason the line is swinging this way likely has to do with a stout Badgers defensive front facing a Notre Dame offensive line that ranks 125th nationally with 14 sacks allowed. And though we aren’t in the advice business, this one is too obvious to not pass along. If you think Wisconsin will cover, you’ll want to grab the -5.5 on FanDuel. And if you’re leaning towards the Irish, it would make sense to take them +6.5 on DraftKings. Chances are both will be around 6 by kickoff, so time is of the essence.
Of note: Wisconsin’s past 7 games in Illinois have all gone under the total. However, Illinois and Northwestern don’t typically possess Notre Dame’s offensive firepower (33 points per game), so take that into consideration.
Ohio at Northwestern
Line: Northwestern -14.5
Moneyline: Ohio +475
Again, if this were an advice column, we would say something like “How did you find yourself in this position, betting on an Ohio-Northwestern game?”
But it is not. Indeed, it is a no-judgement zone.
Interesting prop: Ohio first to score +165
The Bobcats only have 49 points through 3 games, but 26 of them have been scored before halftime. So there’s at least a reasonable shot they can get on the scoreboard first for an underdog payoff.
Of note: Northwestern has failed to cover in its past 7 September home games against teams that are not ranked in the AP Top 25. And the 0-3 Bobcats are definitely unranked.
Bowling Green at Minnesota
Line: Minnesota -31
Interesting prop: First quarter total, 10.5
The Gophers have 92 points this season, but only 7 in the first quarter. Likewise, the Minnesota defense has been stingy early, allowing only 7 points. It would be easy to see this first-quarter number going either direction.
Of note: The total has gone over in 8 straight Minnesota home games.
Rutgers at Michigan
Line: Michigan -20.5
Interesting prop: Rutgers over/under 13.5 total points
When these teams met last November, the Wolverines won a 48-42 triple-overtime thriller that was tied at 35 at the end of regulation. Given those circumstances — and the fact the Scarlet Knights have scored 61 and 45 points in wins over Temple and Delaware — 13.5 points certainly feels low.
Of note: Rutgers has covered the spread in 6 straight road games.
Kent State at Maryland
Line: Maryland -14.5
Interesting prop: First quarter total, 14.5
If you’re paying attention to the totals, this one jumps out — a full 19 points higher than any of the other afternoon games. Both teams have explosive offenses, though due to difficulty of schedule it has been difficult for Kent State to flex its muscle. The Golden Flashes were limited to 7 points at Iowa and 10 at Texas A&M after averaging a nation-high 49.8 points per game last season.
Of note: The Terps are also explosive on offense, but that has led to some inflated totals. Five of Maryland’s last 6 games have gone under the total.
Colorado State at Iowa
Line: Iowa -23.5
Interesting prop: Colorado State over/under 11.5 points
The Rams are averaging 22 points per game, but have done so against South Dakota State, Vanderbilt and Toledo. With almost remarkable consistency, Colorado State has scored 23, 21 and 22 points in its first 3 games. Thus far Iowa State is the only team to crack double digits against the Hawkeyes.
Of note: Ten of the last 11 games at Kinnick Stadium have gone under the total.
Illinois at Purdue
Line: Purdue -11
Interesting prop: First-half spread, Purdue -6.5
With a first-half spread of 6.5 points, you might expect to see a full-game line somewhere between 11.5-13 points, but that is not the case here. This makes sense as Illinois has been slightly more of a second-half team, scoring 51 of its 91 points after halftime. However, Purdue has only surrendered 21 second-half points in 3 games.
Of note: Purdue has not covered in 6 of its past 7 home games against teams from the state of Illinois.
Nebraska at Michigan State
Line: Michigan State -5
Interesting prop: Michigan State over/under 28.5 points
The Cornhuskers more than held their own defensively against Oklahoma’s explosive offense last week, holding the Sooners to 23 points. It was Oklahoma’s lowest scoring output since the 2016 season opener. The question is whether Nebraska can do such a number in consecutive weeks.
Of note: Nebraska has gone under the total in 8 straight road games.
Akron at Ohio State
Line: Ohio State -48.5
Interesting prop: First-half spread, Ohio State -30.5
With a game like this, you kind of get what you deserve if you bet on it. Anything can happen in garbage time, for good or ill. So the halftime spread might be the one you decide to play.
The Buckeyes will likely be using two quarterbacks in lieu of resting starter CJ Stroud — Jack Miller and Kyle McCord — so there’s no telling how they might come out of the gate. For what it’s worth, Ohio State’s offense has been starting games slowly under Stroud before picking up steam in the second half.
Of note: The favorite has covered the spread in Akron’s past 7 games — 5 of which saw the Zips as the underdogs.
Indiana at Western Kentucky
Line: Indiana -9
Moneyline: Western Kentucky +290
Interesting prop: Western Kentucky first to score, +120
With the total as high as it is, the books expect both teams to put points on the board. And getting better than double your money for the home team to score first certainly seems like something to consider.
Of note: The Hoosiers did not cover in their 2 most recent visits to Group of 5 schools — a 48-45 loss at Bowling Green in 2014, and a 38-28 win at Florida International in 2018 that just missed out on covering a 10.5-point spread.