Big Ten football picks: Michigan #16 vs. Penn State #7 & 4 more

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Zack Rhodes

October 18th, 2019

We hope you bought your tickets last week, because the Big Ten Express rolled to another perfect 5-0 week (our second in the six weeks we’ve been making the picks), which puts us at 19-14 for the season. We'll look to keep the momentum going with a slate of games highlighted by Michigan’s trip to Happy Valley. Let’s get to the picks.

#16 Michigan at #7 Penn State (-9), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

+9 (-110)
O 47 (-110)
Penn State
-9 (-110)
U 47 (-110)
In an interview on The Big Ten Network this week, Urban Meyer called a White Out in Beaver Stadium “the toughest environment in the country.” If you want to take this questionable Michigan offense led by an even more questionable quarterback in Shea Patterson, be my guest. I’m rolling with the 112,000 in white and a Penn State squad that has been dominant on defense. The Nittany Lions are hungry for revenge after they were humiliated last year in a 42-7 loss in Ann Arbor.
The Nittany Lions D has been ferocious this season. It has allowed an average of 8.2 points per game (second in FBS) and an average of 53.8 rush yards (third) and 259.7 total yards (fourth) per game. The Michigan defense may be capable of keeping it close for a while, but eventually Sean Clifford and the PSU offense will break through for a couple scores.

Down double digits in the second half, lost in a sea of white shirts, do you really trust Patterson and this broken Michigan passing game to come through for you? If so, you’re far braver than me. Penn State will continue its impressive season with a double-digit win.

Pick: Penn State -9

#4 Ohio State (-26.5) at Northwestern, Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Weird things seem to happen on Friday nights in college football, and perhaps Ohio State will come off its bye lackadaisical and unfocused against a 1-4 Northwestern squad. But the Buckeyes have done nothing but humiliate their competition so far this season, and it’s hard to imagine this offensive-challenged Wildcats team being a serious threat. Justin Fields will continue his Heisman campaign with a dominating 42-10 win.

Pick: Ohio State -26.5

#6 Wisconsin (-31) at Illinois, Saturday, noon ET, Big Ten Network

Laying 31 points on the road can be a scary proposition, but it makes more sense when you consider the Wisconsin defense has shut out four of its six opponents this season and is allowing a ridiculous average of 4.8 points per game. Whether it’s the shaky Brandon Peters or redshirt freshman Matt Robinson at quarterback for the Illini, it won’t matter. Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers will steamroll their way to another dominant win.

Pick: Wisconsin -31

Purdue at #23 Iowa (-17.5), Saturday, noon ET, ESPN2

Coming off a frustrating loss to Penn State last week, you have to believe the Hawkeyes will be in a bad mood when they take on a Purdue team that is still decimated by injuries. However, you have to be impressed with the changes Jeff Brohm made last week, as the Boilermakers picked up a much-needed win against Maryland. Iowa is a different beast, but Purdue can score just enough to cover the number.

Pick: Purdue +17.5

Indiana (-6) at Maryland, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Betting on Indiana as a road favorite has to be a lot like sky diving. You just have to jump and trust that your parachute will work and ease you down to a soft landing. The Hoosiers are 1-4 ATS in the five games they’ve been Big Ten road favorites during Tom Allen’s tenure, but I trust this IU team more than a Maryland squad that is poorly coached, is dealing with a number of key injuries and was absolutely pathetic in a blowout against Purdue.

Pick: Indiana -6

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