If only Rutgers were omnipresent to share all their healing powers to some of the other sick home dogs in the Big Ten this week. The blind now see, the deaf now hear, televangelist sort of life-turns without the $75 donation for a souvenir juice glass. 

Of the six conference games four have underdogs at home getting a sizable amount of points from the linemakers. Charity comes to the home and in the case of Rutgers and Illinois, last rites were administered before the season began, but in the other games it depends whether the road favorites extend a little bit of compassion to the hosts. 

Stickler’s note: All lines taken from mybookie.ag. Lines may have shifted since the column’s inception. Thank you notes are reserved exclusively for guests who brought gifts to your “No gifts, please” party?

The game: Michigan vs. Penn State -8.5 o/u 47

The play: Under

The logic: In a matter of weeks the collective excitement over Michigan’s offense and its potential to engage Ohio State in a high scoring affair went from exuberant all the way to hopeless. Spend enough time watching the Wolverines on offense and you’ll find yourself rooting for a turnover to just get it over with after the third straight pass from Shea Patterson lands at the feet of one of his receivers. 

Each week we use Michigan’s game to read into Jim Harbaugh’s future. Does a three-point loss mean he’s back at Michigan for another year? If it’s seven points or more does he flirt with the NFL? The bigger question is how do the Wolverines continue to look so lifeless on offense outside of last week against Illinois?

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In a recent offensive blip, the sort of head-on rushing attack that the Wolverines used to last weekend to amass 295 yards against the Fighting Illini will be harder to generate against a Penn State defense ranked tops nationally in rushing yards per attempt.

Michigan has the talent on defense and the attacking schemes to force a  turnover against Penn State, but the offense will settle for more field goals than touchdowns. Let’s also ride the four-week trend of Penn State games going under. 

The game: Purdue vs. Iowa -18 o/u 48

The play: Purdue

The logic: The Boilermakers go against the theme of sick home dogs, instead playing the role of a sick road dog and grabbing 18 points on the road in Iowa City. The only way Purdue looks to get close in the game is through a passing game that gained 420 yards against Maryland last week.  

Iowa’s offense leaves a lot to be desired, totaling 1 net rushing yard against Michigan and 70 total against Penn State in the last two games. Expect Iowa to effort a rushing attack out of the conference’s bylaws teams must try to establish the run. 

Taking 18 points comes from my conviction in Jeff Brohm and Purdue to throw the ball 45 times and hit on a few big plays even without Rondale Moore. 

The game: Indiana vs. Maryland +5.5 o/u 59

The play: Indiana

The logic: After Maryland’s 31 total points scored in the Terp’s last three losses can we end the charade and give Nick Saban the credit for Alabama’s offense last season? Josh Gattis and Mike Locksley are finding the hard truth to coaching up guys in non-crimson helmets. Maryland faces its closest conference competition in terms of talent level and uncertainty to the status of quarterback Josh Jackson and running back Anthony McFarland tip the advantage to the Hoosiers.

Expect Indiana to score at will against a Maryland defense that gives up over 320 passing yards per game, especially with the performance of Indiana quarterback Mike Penix Jr as of late. The redshirt freshman threw for six touchdowns and one interception in his last two conference games. With Maryland’s struggles protecting against the pass the Hoosiers are the sound play. 

Last week’s record: 2-1

Overall record: 12-8-1

Status on the card: Steady positives the last few weeks gave me the chance to dress in the heel dressing room for the set of shows in Steubenville. My car thanked the promoters since it tired of being used as a bed-bath combo, the deodorant pads being used first as a cleaning device then balled up to serve as a pillow.