B1G Bets: Best 7 Big Ten Football Picks for Week 10


Nov 3, 2023

We suffered a losing week (1-4) but are in a good position overall with a 60.4 cover rate, which is even better when focused on our B1GGER/B1GGEST bets, 77.8 percent. Heading into the final month of the Big Ten season, there are no more off weeks, which means a full seven-game slate, and we have a play in all seven.

Record: 29-19-1 overall (+14 units) | ATS: 16-11-1 | Team Totals: 12-7 | Game Totals: 1-1

Scared money, don’t make money. Let’s eat!

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B1GGEST Bets (1.5 Units):

Last Week: 0-0; Season: 4-1 (+4.5 Units)


B1GGER Bets (1 Units):

Last Week: 0-2; Season: 17-5 (+12 Units)

MICHIGAN -32.5 Purdue (consensus)

Money Line: Michigan -7000 | Purdue +2000 | Total: 52.5

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: NBC | Location: Michigan Stadium | Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan: CFP Ranking: 3 | SP+: 1 | PFF: 2

Purdue: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 82 | PFF: 73

This is a crazy line for a Big Ten game, but the Wolverines covered as an over-30-point favorite against Indiana three weeks ago. Michigan has won their previous four Big Ten games by 38, 42, 45, and 49 points. Three of those games were on the road, and two were against first-place Big Ten West opponents.

This game is a complete mismatch. Michigan leads the nation in EPA/play and success rate and is second in available yards percentage.

Led by JJ McCarthy, Michigan’s offense (40.6 PPG/first in the B1G) has been elite: No. 3 EPA/play and success rate. The Heisman candidate leads all quarterbacks with his 0.722 EPA/ATT. He is an elite playmaker who can make things happen in the pocket, off schedule, and as a runner. With weapons like Roman Wilson (90% catch rate, ten TDs) and tight end Colston Loveland (88% catch rate, four TDs), they’re No. 1 in passing success rate. The run game isn’t as dominant as last season, but still reliable (24th in rushing success rate).

They’ve shredded better defenses than Purdue’s (30 PPG/last in the B1G), who’s 85th in EPA/pass and 78th in rushing success rate. Ryan Walters likes to be aggressive but doesn’t have the corners. They’ve allowed five opponents to score over 30 points, including offenses far worse than Michigan’s.

In addition to the big play potential the Wolverines bring, they’re first in the B1G in converting third downs (56.5%), while Purdue is 13th on third downs defensively (46.3%). How are they getting their defense off the field? With touchdowns.

As good as Michigan’s offense is, the defense has been arguably better (5.9 PPG/first in the B1G). They’re ranked No. 1 in EPA/play and No. 3 in success rate. They’re No. 1 in EPA/pass and No. 3 in EPA/rush.

Interior linemen Kris Jenkins and Mason Graham control the line of scrimmage, which allows a wave of edge rushers to get into the backfield by winning one-on-one battles. Coastal Carolina transfer Josaiah Stewart has been coming on strong and has four sacks in the past four games.

I feel sorry for Purdue quarterback Hudson Card, who has been beaten up behind a leaky offensive line (18 sacks/12th in the B1G) and, as the fourth most pressured QB in the country, has often been running for his life. The Boilermakers had already been playing without right tackle Marcus Mbow, and last week, they lost left tackle Mahamane Moussa for the season.

They have no semblance of a running game (119th EPA/rush) and aren’t much better at throwing the football (91st EPA/pass), leading to a team total of 9.5 points. Ouch!

I haven’t even gotten to the special teams edge: SP+ ranks Michigan seventh and Purdue 124th in the country.

I’m sure some will insert a joke about Michigan not having Purdue’s signs. How did that work out for Michigan State? It’s no laughing matter in Ann Arbor, so if anything, the sign-stealing saga will probably motivate the Wolverines to prove themselves on every play in the final four games of the regular season.

Penn State -8.5 MARYLAND (BetMGM)

Money Line: Penn State -360 | Maryland +280 | Total: 49.5

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: FOX | Location: SECU Stadium | College Park, MD

Penn State: CFP Ranking: 11 | SP+: 10 | PFF: 10

Maryland: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 31 | PFF: 47

I still don’t love Big Game James Franklin, but this isn’t a big game. And while people are questioning his ability to win the “big game,” he crushes the medium games. Since losing his first head-to-head against Maryland (2014), Franklin has beaten the Terps in seven of eight, with the COVID game his only loss.

Mike Locksley has played Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan 11 times since his return to Maryland in 2019, and his record is 1-10, with that lone COVID win over PSU. Of his ten losses, one was by a touchdown (when they scored a TD vs. Michigan with 45 seconds left), and the other nine were all by 13 points or more.

In PSU’s last six wins over Maryland, the average score is 44-6. The Nittany Lions have scored at least 30 points in every one of those games. They’ve also pitched two shutouts, and Maryland hasn’t scored over 14 in any defeats.

What I love is Penn State’s defense. Maryland’s offensive line was better and more experienced a season ago, and PSU’s D is improved. The Nittany Lions are No. 1 in success rate, No. 1 in passing success rate, No. 2 in EPA/play, No. 2 in EPA/pass, No. 3 in rushing success rate, and No. 5 in EPS/rush.

I thought the Terps were better than they were, but their wins have come against teams with a combined record of 11-29. We’re talking three-win FCS Towson and four teams who are 2-6! They’ve lost to 3-5 Illinois, 4-4 Northwestern, and Ohio State. It’s embarrassing. They’ve played nobody and still have three losses.

If I had more faith in Penn State’s offense, this would be a BIGGEST bet. They did air it out more than they have all season last week (maybe that reporter’s question wasn’t stupid?), which should help all aspects of their offense.


Spread: Iowa -5.5 | Money Line: Iowa -205 | Northwestern +168 | Total: 31.5

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: BTN | Location: Wrigley Field | Chicago, IL

Iowa: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 36 | PFF: 25

Northwestern: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 92 | PFF: 88

After a week off, I must get on my favorite defense to bet!

We’re talking about the No. 1 SP+ defense, ranked second in points per drive, fourth in EPA/play, and 16th in defensive success rate. They’re challenging to run against and nearly impossible to throw on.

With their physical front, the Hawkeyes will control the line of scrimmage, which allows linebackers Jay Higgins (101 tackles) and Nick Jackson (65 tackles) to run free. Hybrid Sebastian Castro (four INTs, three PDs) is all over the place, and few teams test Cooper DeJean.

In their past four B1G games, Phil Parker’s defense has allowed 11.5 PPG, and they’ve covered five of six when we’ve bet on Iowa’s defense.

Ranked 113th by SP+, 103rd in EPA/play, and 88th in success rate, Northwestern might be the worst offense the Hawkeyes have faced. It makes things even more challenging for the Wildcats because they don’t do well field position-wise, while Iowa is among the best. Punting legend Tory Taylor is a big reason why. They have elite special teams, ranked eighth by SP+.

With winds over 11 MPH, Wrigley will likely be the windiest Stadium on Saturday, playing to the UNDER.

Rather than laying points with Iowa on the road, trust their defense.

RUTGERS UNDER 12.5 (DraftKings)

Spread: Ohio State -18.5 | Money Line: Ohio State -1200 | Rutgers +680 | Total: 42.5

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: CBS | Location: SHI Stadium | Piscataway, NJ

Ohio State: CFP Ranking: 1 | SP+: 3 | PFF: 3

Rutgers: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 50 | PFF: 45

I’m here to back an Ohio State defense that has been elite this season, ranked fifth in EPA and tenth in defensive success rate.

Rutgers has put up some decent rushing numbers, but against the best defense they’ve faced, the Scarlet Knights managed just 77 rushing yards and seven points against Michigan. Against Wisconsin’s good, not great defense, they ran for 64 yards and scored 13 points. This is also a methodical offense, 112th in plays per minute.

OSU has a big-time front four, and interior linemen Tyleik Williams and Michael Hall Jr. will control the line of scrimmage. Linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers should flourish by focusing on the run. They lead a run defense that’s fifth in rushing EPA and 11th in success rate against the run. If RU is forced to throw (103rd in passing success rate), they’re in big-time trouble.

If you prefer simple counting numbers—which we’re betting—OSU has kept six of eight opponents to 12 or fewer points, including four of five in B1G games.

Check out SportsGrid’s CFB Game Picks and CFB Player Props

B1G Bets (1/2 Unit):

Last Week: 1-2; Season: 8-13-1 (-2.5 Units)


Spread: Nebraska -3 | Money Line: Nebraska -152 | Michigan State +126 | Total: 34.5

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: FS1 | Location: Spartan Stadium | East Lansing, MI

Nebraska: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 51 | PFF: 49

Michigan State: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 74 | PFF: 89

We’ve learned over the past few weeks that Nebraska can handle broken offenses. They held Illinois to seven points, Northwestern to nine, and Purdue to 14. Michigan State’s offense is broken.

The Spartans rank 128th in EPA/play, 109th in net points/drive, and 98th in offensive success rate. They can’t get their running game going and have no clue who they want to be their quarterback.

Not good at field position, on early downs, or with third/fourth down success (114th). Unsurprisingly, they’ve scored 12 total points in the past two games.

Nebraska’s defense is solid, ranked 26th in EPA/play and 34th in success rate. They’ve been outstanding against the run, and in Quinton Newsome, Malcolm Hartzog, and Tommi Hill, they have three reliable cornerbacks. Sophomore Jimari Butler (4.5 sacks) is coming on as a pass rusher and has gotten to the QB in three straight games.

I don’t see how you take either side here. Nebraska as a road favorite is a tough sell, while MSU has probably given up on the season. Neither offense is good, so we’re backing the better D.

INDIANA UNDER 16.5 (FanDuel)

Spread: Wisconsin -9.5 | Money Line: Wisconsin -360 | Indiana +285 | Total: 45.5

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: BTN | Location: Memorial Stadium | Bloomington, IN

Wisconsin: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 27 | PFF: 43

Indiana: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 95 | PFF: 101

I believe Wisconsin found themselves with their comeback win over Illinois two weeks ago, and with a healthy Braelon Allen, I’d lay the points. But with their star running back’s status in doubt (he’s unlikely to play), it makes more sense to focus on their defensive prowess.

The Badgers have a robust and stout defense up front and four linebackers with three-plus sacks, with Darryl Peterson (4.5 sacks) leading the way. Linebacker-safety hybrid Hunter Wohler is an impact player, and Ricardo Hallman is one of the Big Ten’s top covermen. This group had nine tackles for loss, including four sacks against Ohio State last week.

The metrics back it up, as the Badgers are 12th in SP+, 17th in EPA/play, and 27th in points per drive defensively. On the flip side, Indiana’s offense is 101st in SP+, 99th in EPA/play, and 90th in success rate.

Yes, the Hoosiers scored 24 points against Penn State last week, but that was more about PSU’s hangover. The Hoosiers scored on TD passes of 69 and 90 yards, their only two pass plays of 50-plus yards all season. It’s fluky.

Wisconsin doesn’t allow many chunk plays, ranked 13th in plays of 40+ yards, 17th in plays of 30+ yards, and 22nd in plays of 20+ plus yards allowed. They’re strong on third/fourth downs (38th in success rate), a weakness of IU’s offense (130th).

Illinois UNDER 20.5 (FanDuel)

Spread: Minnesota -1.5 | Money Line: Minnesota -128 | Illinois +106 | Total: 42.5

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET; TV: BTN | Location: Huntington Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, MN

Minnesota: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 49 | PFF: 27

Illinois: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 62 | PFF: 68

I have a lean on Minnesota with such a small line at home, but it’s fishy, and I would much rather back their defense, the most consistent unit on either team.

As we said last week, this isn’t a juggernaut, but they’re a solid 40th in EPA/play, 43rd in points per drive, and ranked 18th by SP+ (a bit high, IMO). Meanwhile, the Illini offense is just 85th in EPA per play. They can rush it a little with their QB but are far too inconsistent throwing the football.

What also favors the Golden Gophers is the way they play complimentary football. They’re slow on offense, run the football (Illinois has a poor run defense), and play the field position game well, ranked 40th in net field position and 23rd defensively. Illinois does not, ranked 131st in net field position and 130th offensively.

We were on the Minnesota defense for the same reason last week, and they came through for us, holding Michigan State to 12 points. They’ve held four of the worst five offenses they’ve faced this season to 13 points or fewer, including all three home games.

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Thumbnail photo via Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

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