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Big Ten Report - Week 12

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Week 11 of the Big Ten watched the home teams go 3-2 last week both straight up and against the spread. The two road teams to cash were Nebraska and Iowa, who knocked off Michigan and Purdue respectively. There was a non-conference game last week as Wisconsin defeated BYU 27-17 as a nine-point home favorite. The ‘under’ went 3-2 in the five games last week.

2013 BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team SU Conference  ATS Over/Under
Illinois 3-6 0-5 4-5 5-4
Indiana 4-5 2-3 4-5 8-1
Iowa 6-4 3-3 6-4 6-4
Michigan 6-3 2-3 4-5 5-4
Michigan State 8-1 4-0 5-3-1 3-6
Minnesota 8-2 4-2 7-3 6-4
Nebraska 7-2 4-1 5-4 4-5
Northwestern 4-5 0-5 3-6 3-6
Ohio State 9-0 5-0 6-2-1 6-3
Penn State 5-4 2-3 3-6 5-4
Purdue 1-8 0-5 2-7 4-5
Wisconsin 7-2 4-1 8-0-1 4-5


Michigan State (-6 ½, 42) at Nebraska (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET)
The winner of this matchup takes the lead as the team to represent the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship game. Mark Dantonio's squad had a much needed week off after its beatdown of in-state rival Michigan. MSU's defense held Michigan to 168 total yards (-48 rush yards), 12 first downs, and just six points. The defense has been stout all season (1st nationally in yards allowed and 3rd in points allowed), but it's the offenses improvement that has led this team to five straight victories. The Spartans have averaged 30.6 PPG over the previous five games. If Sparty can keep that pace, it'll win most of its games considering that the defense has allowed more than 17 points just once this season. RB Langford has been a big part of the Spartans' offensive surge, rushing for over 100 yards in each of the past four games (six touchdowns). He'll take aim at a Huskers defense that really tightened up last week against Michigan. The Huskers also limited Michigan to negative rush yards (-21) and only allowed 175 total yards and 13 points to the Wolves last week. The also recorded season highs in sacks (seven) and tackles for loss (15). Offensively this team has a few question marks, but RB Abdullah is not one of them. Abdullah leads the Big Ten in rushing and has recorded over 100 yards in all but one game this season. He has made it easier for whoever is playing QB. Taylor Martinez remains questionable for this matchup with nagging shoulder and foot injuries and if he can't go it'll be freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. who gets the start. Armstro ng is 5-0 as the starting QB, but is completing just 55.3% with 5 TD and 6 INT. Nebraska has beaten MSU each of the past two seasons (2-0 ATS), including a 24-3 victory in Lincoln in 2011. The Huskers haven't been a home underdog since 2009, but are 5-1 ATS in the last six games as a home 'dog of a touchdown or less. Michigan State is 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 as a Big Ten road favorite.

Ohio State (-32, 67) at Illinois (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)
The Buckeyes had the week off and watched their national championship stock improve a bit with Oregon's loss to Stanford. The Bucks don't have any games that will improve their resume to the BCS computers, but style points may come into play and they'll need to keep dominating the lesser opponents. OSU has won the last two games against Penn State and Purdue by a combined score of 119-14. QB Miller has been absolutely enfuego. He has completed 78% of his passes with 7 TD while adding 2 rushing scores the past two weeks. RB Hyde has topped 100 yards in four straight games and the defense has been suffocating. OSU is 3rd nationally in rush yards allowed, 10th in total yards allowed, and 8th in points allowed. Illinois has dropped five straight games by an average of 22 points per game and is in no state of mind to keep it close to the Buckeyes on Saturday. The Illini kept it close against Indiana last week for three quarters, but allowed 17 fourth quarter points to the Hoosiers to let the game slip away. QB Scheelhaase passed for 450 yards and the rushing attack notched 162 yards (4.8 YPC) and three scores. Unfortunately, the Illini turned the ball over on their final three possessions and the defense surrendered 650 total yards to Indiana. Illinois has now dropped 19 consecutive Big Ten Games. Ohio State is 5-0 SU & 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings with Illinois. OSU won last year at home by 30 points, but hasn't had the easiest of times visiting Champaign. The Bucks are 5-0 the last five trips, but have won those games by an average of just 9 PPG (none by more than 11 points).

Wisconsin (-21 ½, 70) vs. Indiana (ESPN2, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Wisconsin won and covered its fourth straight game and has covered or pushed every line this season (8-0-1 ATS). It was perhaps the Badgers' best defensive performance of the season against a BYU offense that had been on fire. BYU managed just 370 total yards and 17 points. Stud QB Hill completed just 19-of-41 passes and rushed for just 53 yards on 17 carries. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that star LB Borland was back healthy and in the lineup. Borland was all over the field with 13 tackles and 2 sacks and this defense is a different animal with him in there. Offensively RB White tallied 194 total yards and three scores as the Badgers churned out 229 rush yards and held the ball for +13 minutes T.O.P. Wisconsin will face another stiff challenge when Indiana comes to Madison this weekend. IU snapped a three game losing streak with a 52-35 win over Illinois last week. The Hoosiers notched 650 total yards of offense behind 267 passing yards from QB Sudfeld and 215 rush yards for RB Coleman. RB Coleman is out for this game with an ankle injury. Coleman is averaging 7.3 yards per carry on 958 rush yards and he has scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season. It's desperation time for the Hoosiers as they need to win two of the final three games to become bowl eligible. It's not going to be easy with this game in Madison and next week at the Horseshoe. Wisconsin is 8-0 SU & 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings with Indiana. The Badgers have won the last two home games against IU by an average of 57.5 points per game. Wisconsin is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 home games as a favorite of 20 points or more.

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Northwestern (-3, 53) vs. Michigan (Big Ten, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The off week came at the perfect time for Northwestern. The Wildcats were off of a grueling loss to Nebraska on a Hail Mary as time expired, and coach Pat Fitzgerald listed 13 key players that would have been out if the team had played last Saturday. Northwestern should be a little healthier when Michigan comes to town this weekend. The offense has been terrible over its five-game losing streak. QB Siemian is completing less than 50% with 3 TD and 4 INT during the streak and they've failed to rush for 100 yards in three of the five games (averaging just 17 points per game over that span). Northwestern needs to win two of the final three games to become bowl eligible. This weekend Michigan comes to town on its own skein. The Wolves have dropped three of their past four games and are out of the Legends Division race. They've endured the worst two-week stretch of rushing offense for any FBS team in the past decade with a total of -69 yards. Devin Gardner has been a turnover machine this season and the offense isn't doing the defense - which is pretty good - any favors. Michigan has won seven of the last eight meetings between the two, but Northwestern has covered four of the last five including last year's overtime finish in the Big House (Michigan, 38-31). The Wolves are just 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games as a road underdog.

Penn State (-21 ½, 44 ½) vs. Purdue (Big Ten, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Penn State has alternated wins and losses every game since September 7th, so this week you can plan on another win after the Nittany Lions fell to Minnesota last week. They return home where they've won three straight to face the Boilermakers. PSU's offense was stalled on too many occasions last week as it managed just 353 yards and was 1-for-9 on third downs. Freshman QB Hackenberg played his third consecutive sub-par game (0 TD and fumbled at the 1-yard line) and he seems to be hitting a midseason freshman wall. Defensively they've improved over the last two weeks (20.5 PPG allowed) after surrendering 40+ points in three straight contests. If that defense struggles against Purdue this week, then it'll really be time to panic. The Boilers scored a touchdown for the first time since Oct. 12 and ended a 200-play drought of no plays in the opposing red zone against Iowa. But the Boilers' offense didn't do much else, gaining just 266 yards and 12 first downs. Purdue has scored just 21 points in the last four games and currently ranks 122nd in total offense, 124th in rush offense, and 122nd in points scored. Defensively the Boilers couldn't stop Iowa's ground game, which piled up 318 yards. Penn State has won six straight meetings with Purdue, including last year's matchup at Ross-Ade stadium, 34-9. Purdue is just 6-13 ATS in its last 19 games as an underdog of 20 points or more. PSU is just 3-8 ATS in the last 11 home games as a 20-point favorite or more.

Minnesota - BYE
Minnesota is the surprise of the Big Ten this season with four straight wins and an 8-2 record. David Cobb continues to spark the power run game, and the defense limited Penn State to 10 points on Saturday. The Gophers still remain two games behind Michigan State in the Legends division, but has two key games against Wisconsin and Michigan State remaining that could shift the power in their favor - with a little extra help, of course.

Iowa - BYE
After a one-year hiatus, the Hawkeyes will go bowling again this season after a businesslike performance against Purdue in which they racked up 318 rushing yards, including 165 by Jordan Canzeri. The defense limited Purdue to just 266 total yards, 12 first downs, and 14 points. The Hawkeyes now have an opportunity to turn a decent season into a good one as they are off this week before hosting struggling Michigan on Nov. 23.

  
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