The calendar is quickly turning in the Big Ten, and conference play on a regular basis is right around the corner. Week 3 brings another slate of non-conference games with 13 schools in action.
There are several intriguing match-ups including a handful of neutral site games that will put the conference in the spotlight. All four schools off to perfect 2-0 marks will put those undefeated seasons to the test as Ohio State, Indiana, Maryland and Penn State are in action.
Looking at the latest odds in and around the conference this weekend, here are five games to circle as the best Big Ten bets for college football betting fans.
The line: Ohio State -12.5
It’s a “neutral site” game but not really for TCU as the teams square off at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. It’s the final game of Urban Meyer’s three game suspension for the Buckeyes, who haven’t looked like they missed him on the sidelines in the opening pair of games.
TCU won last week against SMU but didn’t look great no doubt impacting the line to move toward a pair of touchdowns.
Ohio State ranks second nationally in both scoring offence (64.5 points a game) and total offense (650 yards per game). They rolled over Rutgers 52-3 last weekend.
That kind of firepower will be hard for the Horned Frogs defense to contain let alone stop. Led by QB Dwayne Haskins, look for OSU to again put a big number on the scoreboard and cover.
The line: Northwestern -21
The Wildcats spit the bit last week at home against Duke, who was a formidable opponent but a home game Northwestern needed to win to entertain making a bowl of significance.
NU put together a magnificent opening drive with an 11-play, 79-yard masterpiece but that was it and the offense went 0-13 the rest of the way.
The upside is Northwestern’s defense shut the Blue Devils out in the second half. “We have a good football team,” head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “We just didn’t play very well today.”
A visit from the Zips of Akron should be good what’s ailing Northwestern.
This team won the MAC East division a year ago at 7-7 and sophomore quarterback Kato Nelson is back and playing well. They are off to a 1-0 start in 2018 but should be overpowered by Northwestern, who will also be playing with a chip on its shoulder.
The line: Missouri -6.5
Purdue is off to a disastrous start with an 0-2 record coming into this weekend’s game against Mizzou. While the opening night loss to Northwestern might have been understandable, since many lines had that match as a toss-up, losing last week against Eastern Michigan was a shocker.
The Tigers visit West Lafayette on a hot streak off to a 2-0 start and have won their last six game. The 2018 campaign has started with wins victories over Tennessee-Martin 51-14 and Wyoming 40-13.
Purdue beat Missouri last year in Columbia and they quite possibly are playing for their season on Saturday.
The line: South Florida -10.5
Illini coach Lovie Smith returns to the sidelines of Soldier Field Saturday after spending years leading the Bears in this “neutral site” game, which is sure to be populated by thousands of U of I faithful.
The Bulls charge into the Windy City off an impressive upset over Georgia Tech last week. QB Blake Barnett threw for 207 years and a pair of touchdowns and also ran for 86 yards and a couple of TDs as well.
Illinois suffered a major hit in their win over Western Illinois last week when QB AJ Busch left the game with a leg injury. It adds up to South Florida going on the road and keeping its winning streak alive.
The line: Minnesota -12.5
These two schools haven’t met since 2011 and have gotten off to opposite starts this year. The Golden Gophers ran their record to 2-0 after an impressive 21-14 win over Fresno State a week ago. Meanwhile, Miami is winless after two weeks of play dropping a 21-0 decision to Cincinnati last time out.
Minnesota’s defense has been stout so far this year and coupled with solid performance from QB Zack Annextad the Gophers have been clicking. Key interceptions last week by the secondary against Fresno State sealed the victory.
Defense has been the good of the Red Hawks year so far, but there have been offensive struggles, as evidenced by last week’s shutout at the hands of Cincinnati. QB Gus Ragland was a mediocre 22-for-41 last week for 139 yards.
Home field and more weapons on both sides of the ball gives the nod to the Gophers.