Games to Watch - Big Ten
August 1, 2014
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Week 1 - Saturday, Aug. 30
Northwestern (-12.5) vs. California
These two met in week one of 2013. Northwestern won by 14 as a -5.5 point favorite at Cal in a game full of fireworks. Both combined for 1,057 total yards and 74 points. The Wildcats used two interception returns for TD in the 2nd half to pull away from the Bears. Northwestern is just 10-21 ATS in its last 31 games as a favorite of 9.5 points or more.
Ohio State (-17.5) vs. Navy from Baltimore, Maryland
OSU is 2-0 the last two meetings with Navy (the last meeting was in '09). The Bucks were a double-digit favorite in both meetings but failed to cover in both, winning by just four & three points, respectively. Ohio State is 0-3 SU & ATS in its last three neutral site games. Navy is 14-7 ATS in its last 21 games as an underdog of two touchdowns or more.
Penn State (+1) vs. Central Florida from Dublin, Ireland
Penn State was a 4.5 point favorite when these two met in week one last year. UCF built a 28-10 lead in the 2nd half and a PSU rally fell short as the Knights pulled off the upset, 34-31. UCF lost its top passer & rusher on offense (both drafted by the Jaguars), but returns nine starters on a defense that ranked 29th nationally last year.
Wisconsin (+5) vs. LSU from Houston, Texas
The Badgers have won 16 straight season openers and has won 31 of the last 33 regular season non-conference games. They are also 31-10-1 ATS in its last 42 games as an underdog of seven points or more. Of their 14 losses since the beginning of 2011, UW only one of those has been by more than seven points. LSU has opened four of the last five seasons at a neutral site and they are 3-0 ATS, winning by an average of 10 PPG against three ranked teams.
Week 2 - Saturday, Sept. 6
Michigan State (+13) at Oregon
The Spartans lost by 34 points in their last trip to Eugene back in 1998. MSU is just 1-4 SU in its last five non-conference 'true' regular season road games. MSU hasn't been a double digit underdog since 2009 and is 8-5 ATS in its last 13 occasions. Oregon hasn't fared all that well at home as a heavy favorite, going 6-12-1 ATS in the last 19 games as a home favorite of 10 points or more
Michigan (+3) at Notre Dame
Michigan is 6-2 SU & ATS in the last eight meetings with the Golden Domers, but both of the losses were in South Bend. The Wolverines are just 1-6 SU & 2-5 ATS the last two years against ranked opponents - the one SU win was at home against Notre Dame last year.
Ohio State (-18) vs. Virginia Tech
This is the first meeting ever between the two schools. Ohio State is 49-9 vs. the last 58 non-conference opponents, but just 5-4 the last nine against non-conference BCS teams during the regular season. The Hokies have been a 14+ point underdog just once since 2004 and is 17-9 ATS all-time in that situation. Ohio State is just 5-10 ATS in the last 15 games as a 14+ point favorite.
Week 3 - Saturday, Sept. 13
Nebraska (-4) at Fresno State
The Huskers hosted Fresno State in 2011, winning by just 13 points as a 28-point favorite. This will be Fresno's home opener after opening the season at USC and at Utah. The Bulldogs lost QB Carr (50 TD LY) and WR's Adams and Burse (combined 231 receptions, 2,744 rec yards, and 30 TD LY) from its explosive offense. Nebraska is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 road openers and this game is the week before the Huskers host the Miami Hurricanes - so it could be a letdown situation.
Iowa (-9.5) vs. Iowa State
The last three games in this rivalry have been decided by six points or fewer. Last year Iowa led 27-7 with seven minutes remaining. ISU went on two long scoring drives to pull within six with 2:26 to play before an onside recovery by Iowa ended the comeback. Iowa State has dropped seven of the last 11 vs. the Hawkeyes, but is an impressive 12-4 ATS over the last 16 matchups.
Purdue (+21) vs. Notre Dame from Indianapolis, Indiana
This will be just the 2nd neutral site game between these two in 86 meetings. The Boilers have dropped six straight and are just 3-11 SU in the last 14 meetings with Notre Dame. Purdue has been an underdog of 21 points or more seven times since the start of 2010 and is 0-7 SU & 2-5 ATS in those games. Notre Dame is just 6-13-1 ATS in its last 20 as a 21+ point favorite.
Week 4 - Saturday, Sept. 20
Nebraska (-3) vs. Miami
The series is tied 5-5 with the last meeting coming in 2001. The Huskers are 49-4 hosting their last 53 non-conference opponents. Miami is just 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine non-conference road games as an underdog.
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