Betting the Big Ten (Week Five): Time For Northwestern and Indiana to Prove They Belong

By Nick Polak on November 20, 2020 at 11:00 am
Nov 14, 2020; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Indiana Hoosiers tight end Peyton Hendershot (86) leaps over Michigan State Spartans cornerback Shakur Brown (29) during the second quarter at Spartan Stadium.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Betting the B1G, presented by 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. Finally, be sure to enter your own picks to get started in our season-long contest to pick someone to win a free Roar Lions Roar t-shirt!

Last Week

Betting the B1G: Week Four
Game Result Spread Nick Matt
Iowa 35, Minnesota 7 Iowa (-3) Minny Minny
Nebraska 30, Penn State 23 Penn State (-3.5) PSU PSU
Indiana 24, Michigan State 0 Indiana (-7.5) IU IU
Wisconsin 49, Michigan 11 Wisconsin (-4.5) Mich Wiscy
Northwestern 27, Purdue 20 Northwestern (-3) NW NW
Illinois 23, Rutgers 20 Rutgers (-5.5) RU RU
Week 4 Total   2-4 3-3
Season Total   11-13-1 11-13-1

Ugh. Both Nick and Flip need to step it up or rethink their betting strategies. Both guys kept their faith in Penn State once more and it bit them both as the Lions couldn't take down Nebraska. The other big misses were Minnesota who was absolutely smoked by Iowa, as well as Rutgers who fell to the team we've been predicting to win all year, Illinois. With the poor week, we're back to a tie at under .500.

Week five

Purdue (-2.5) at Minnesota, November 20 (7:30 pm ET)

I don't even want to imagine what a Penn State-Minnesota game would look like in 2020. The Gopher defense is simply a disaster that doesn't look destined to turn things around anytime soon. The offense is decent enough, but it doesn't matter if they can't stop anyone. Rondale Moore still probably won't play and no one really knows why, but David Bell is a future NFL superstar. He's all Purdue really needs.

Nick: Purdue 31 (-2.5), Minnesota 20

Flip: Purdue minus the points

#9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State (-20.5), November 21 (12:00 pm ET)

Somehow, in a year in which Indiana has already played and beaten both Penn State and Michigan, they don't really have that signature win yet given how badly both of those programs have faltered. They'll get that chance on Saturday. Beating the Buckeyes is probably out of the question, but the Hoosiers still have a great chance to prove they belong.

Nick: Ohio State 41, Indiana 27 (+20.5)

Flip: Indiana plus the points

Illinois at Nebraska (-15.5), November 21 (12:00 pm ET)

Nick and Flip disagree on this one, and it's certainly an easy line to disagree on. Penn State fans watched Nebraska allow the Nittany Lions to climb back into the game with their backup quarterback a week ago, so should they really be favored by double-digits over anyone?

Nick: Nebraska 24, Illinois 17 (+15.5)

Flip: Nebraska minus the points

Iowa (-2.5) at Penn State, November 21 (3:30 pm ET)

Could this be 6-4, Part II? The signs are all there for this to be an ugly, low-scoring slugfest. The X-Factor here is what quarterback Will Levis looks like after a week's worth of starter snaps in practice (at least presumably). Penn State seemed to find the energy it had been lacking once he entered the game against Nebraska, but will it carry over against a stout Hawkeye defense?

Nick: Iowa 21, Penn State 20 (+2.5)

Flip: Penn State plus the points

#10 Wisconsin (-7.5) at #19 Northwestern, November 21 (3:30 pm ET)

The other big "Prove It" game of the weekend, as the Wildcats have ridden their hot start to a top-20 ranking. Now they have a shot to take down the perennial leader of the Big Ten West. The Badgers dispatched the Wolverines a week ago and barely broke a sweat in the process. But this Northwestern defense represents the toughest unit they've faced.

Nick: Wisconsin 27, Northwestern 20 (+7.5)

Flip: Northwestern plus the points

Michigan (-10.5) at Rutgers, November 21 (7:30 pm ET)

Who could have guessed a month ago that this would end up being a likely hotly-contested night game in New Jersey? Michigan fans are feeling pretty similar to the way Penn State fans are feeling these days with their team badly underperforming. The Scarlet Knights have been punchy so far, and though the Wolverines are favored, we could be looking at a repeat of the 2014 version of this matchup.

Nick: Rutgers 27 (+10.5), Michigan 24

Matt: Rutgers plus the points


Nick: Illinois +15.5
Flip: Purdue +2.5

Community Picks

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