Betting the B1G (Week One): Do You Think You Can Beat Our Picks?

By Nick Polak on October 22, 2020 at 11:42 am

Welcome to our new weekly feature here at Roar Lions Roar. Each week, we will provide our picks against the spread. One of those picks will be our "B1G P1CK" which is the pick we feel most confident about each week. We'll also track our yearly stats to give you a good idea of whether or not you should trust our picks, and give you a chance to prove you're better than us, as well!

Illinois at No. 16 Wisconsin (-19.5), October 23 (8:00 pm)

Nick: As much fun as it would be, I just don't see the Illini pulling the upset two years in a row over the Badgers. Still, Wisconsin is now replacing its presumed starter, Jack Coan (out indefinitely with a foot injury), and will turn to former four-star Graham Mertz. The redshirt freshman is the highest-rated quarterback to commit to the Badgers in the modern era of recruiting, but it will still be his first start. Give me the Badgers to grab the win, but Illinois and returning quarterback-receiver tandem Brandon Peters and Josh Imatorbhebhe to keep it within two scores. Wisconsin 34, Illinois 17 (+19.5)

Flip: This line too big. The Illini aren't the pushovers they used to be and with how sloppy a lot of teams are playing this year, I'm staying away from big spreads against teams with a pulse. Wisconsin will win this game but will struggle a bit offensively as they look to break in Graham Mertz and whoever will replace Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin 21, Illinois 13 (+19.5)

Nebraska at No. 6 Ohio State (-26), October 24 (12:00 pm)

Nick: Carnage. Brutal, unrelenting carnage. I'm sure the Buckeyes will experience some bumps in the road in their opener given the number of starters they're replacing, but I don't think they allow the Huskers to hang around for much longer than the length of the first quarter. Nebraska gave Ohio State a fight the last time it visited Columbus, but Ryan Day's squad is looking to make a statement in week one. Ohio State 51 (-26), Nebraska 16

Flip: Remember how I just said I'm staying away from big spreads against teams with a pulse? Well, Nebraska isn't one of them. Taylor Martinez is great for the Huskers, but this one is going to be ugly. Give me the Buckeyes minus anything. Ohio State 45 (-26), Nebraska 7

Rutgers at Michigan State (-11.5), October 24 (12:00 pm)

Nick: Gross. The Big Ten is going to create some terrible matchups this year, but this is going to be one of the ugliest. No one is really sure what to expect from Sparty in their first non-Dantonio season since 2006, but the roster doesn't exactly scream powerhouse. On the other hand, Rutgers isn't exactly moving the needle on their end, either. I love running back Isaih Pacheco, but there's only so much he can do. However, I'm not sure I see the Spartans break away in this game simply because I have no idea what their offense is going to look like. I have the Scarlet Knights scoring a late touchdown to cover. Michigan State 27, Rutgers 16 (+11.5)

Flip: Michigan State's offense was comically bad last year, so to fix it the Spartans hired a coach who *furiously flips through notes* had a losing record at Colorado. Rutgers is still Rutgers, but Greg Schiano is too good of a coach to get blown out by this bad of a Sparty team. Give me the fighting Gary Novas outright. Rutgers 28 (+11.5), Michigan State 7

No. 9 Penn State (-6) at Indiana, October 24 (3:30 pm)

Nick: Visiting Bloomington for its first game of an already strange season is a terrifying proposition for Penn State. The Nittany Lions are returning a lot of talent, but also have some key names to replace, on top of breaking in several new coaches, including a new offensive coordinator. Doing that against the Hoosiers should be interesting to watch. I think Michael Penix is talented enough to keep Indiana in this game, but whether or not the Lions beat this spread will come down to the pass rush. I have Indiana covering. Penn State 31, Indiana 26 (+6)

Flip: I hate this game. It hasn't even been played yet and I hate it with every fiber in my body. Indiana was full-on good last year, but this is first-time offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan's first game. Penn State has veteran play-callers on both sides and is more talented. Give me the Lions to cover. Penn State 35 (-6), Indiana 21

Iowa (-3) at Purdue, October 24 (3:30 pm)

Nick: Upset time! I don't think this Purdue team, on the whole, is a good one, but Rondale Moore and David Bell might be the most fun receiver combination in the entire country. Both of these guys are dynamic playmakers who can take it to the house on any given play. Iowa's defense should once again be strong, but I'm going to pick the team with two game-breakers over the team that I'm unsure of how exactly it's going to score points in 2020. Purdue 27 (+3), Iowa 24

Flip: Does Purdue have a quarterback who's healthy? Who's to say. I love Jeff Brohm and having Rondale Moore back is huge, but Iowa is going to control the clock and I just don't think the Boilermakers have the quarterback who can take them there. Iowa 24, Purdue 21 (push)

No. 19 Michigan (-3) at No. 24 Minnesota, October 24 (7:30 pm)

Nick: Looks like it's going to be another rough start for Jim Harbaugh's squad, as I have the Gophers taking this week one clash. Minnesota loses a lot on defense, but Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman are a lethal connection and one that should be able to torment a Michigan secondary that is in rebuild mode. If the Wolverines weren't breaking in a new starting quarterback, this line would probably be flipped in the other direction, but I think Joe Milton makes one too many mistakes. Minnesota 30 (+3), Michigan 24

Flip: Admittedly, I am a Tanner Morgan Is A System Quarterback® type of guy. Don't get me wrong, this offense will be fun, but Kirk Ciarrocca is the key to making this engine run. Michigan is apparently starting a non-transfer at quarterback, but I will believe that when I see it. As much as I want to pick the Gophers, I'm going with Josh Gattis and the Wolverines to squeeze out a win here. Michigan 38 (-3), Minnesota 28

Maryland at Northwestern (-11), October 24 (7:30 pm)

Nick: If nothing else, there are two things I know to be true in this world – Maryland is always good for at least one early-season shocker, and Northwestern is allergic to scoring points. I know that the Wildcats will have a new offensive coordinator for the first time since George W. Bush's final weeks as the president, but there's no way I'm trusting this team to start scoring in bunches until I see it with my own eyes. On the other hand, the Terps might be in for a heated battle with Rutgers for last place in the Big Ten East. I think they cover, but it won't be pretty. Northwestern 20, Maryland 10 (+11)

Flip: This is the only game that matters to me. Northwestern was bad last year so, by law, they have to be good this season. I'm not convinced Maryland is going to move the ball a ton on this stingy Pat Fitzgerald defense. Northwestern 28 (-11), Maryland 13

B1g P1ck

Nick: Ohio State -26
Flip: Rutgers +11.5

Community Picks

Think you can beat us? Fill in your picks below and we'll track the RLR community picks as the season goes on.

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