Big Ten Football: Picks Against the Spread (ATS) for Nov. 20-21

Even though both teams are undefeated, Ohio State is a heavy favorite against Indiana

Unfortunately, the Big Ten has now seen a few games nixed due to COVID-19 issues, but Wisconsin was finally able to return to the field, much to the chagrin of Michigan.

 

As for this week's schedule, the most anticipated game is a top-10 matchup between undefeated Indiana and Ohio State, whose game last week against Maryland was canceled. Can the Hoosiers shock the world or will the Buckeyes show why they are the class of the Big Ten?

 

Nebraska and Illinois will go head-to-head with both teams getting an opportunity to make it two wins in a row. The thus-far disappointing performance of Minnesota’s offense aims to rebound as a home underdog against Purdue. And finally, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan get a chance to their fortunes when they face Rutgers.

 

Note: All times are ET and all games are on Saturday, Nov. 21 unless otherwise noted. The Michigan State-Maryland game was initially included when this article was originally published Wednesday morning but has since been removed following its cancellation due to the Terrapins' COVID-19 issues.

 

Purdue (-3) at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m. (Fri.)

If we've learned anything over the past few weeks, it's that the Golden Gophers' offense has horrifically under-performed and their defense can't be trusted. Despite having one of the nation's worst rushing attacks, the Boilermakers have a top-25 passing offense.

 

It's only a matter of time until Minnesota gifts Purdue the opportunity to score and the Gophers have proven themselves generous. Purdue 31, Minnesota 27

 

Ohio State (-20.5) vs. Indiana, 12 p.m.

If anyone's going to give the Buckeyes a legitimate challenge, it's the Hoosiers. Indiana is a fantastic team and likely takes the place Penn State was originally projected as one to line up behind Ohio State in the Big Ten East. While it should be fun watching the Michale Penix Jr. and Justin Fields head-to-head battle, this still seems academic.

 

The Hoosiers score some points and generate a few highlights, but the Buckeyes squeak out a cover. Ohio State 45, Indiana 24

 

Illinois (+15.5) at Nebraska, 12 p.m.

Lovie Smith has two enticing options available at quarterback between Isaiah Williams and a returning Brandon Peters. The choice seems obvious following last week's award-worthy performance by Williams, especially considering the Cornhuskers' struggles up front.

 

For Nebraska, it becomes a question of how Luke McCaffrey has settled in after his first start along with how or if Scott Frost switches up his second-half play-calling. The Huskers would do well to finally put a full 60 minutes of quality football together, but they don't necessarily need it to win. That doesn't mean they cover, though. Nebraska 30, Illinois 20

 

Northwestern (+7.5) vs. Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m.

The Badgers' dismissal of Michigan put the rest of the league on notice that neither the layoff nor their virus-impacted roster was going to stop them from dominating. Purdue managed to crack the code and hang some second-half points on the Wildcats. Tune in for the matchup between Wisconsin's bruising offensive line and Northwestern’s stout defensive front, if nothing else. The Badgers take the win, but Pat Fitzgerald's team makes them earn it. Wisconsin 30, Northwestern 23

 

Iowa (-2.5) at Penn State, 3:30 p.m.

The Nittany Lions badly need a victory. Without a usually stuffed stadium, James Franklin's surprising 0-4 squad has to go up against a defense that is arguably stingier than one they just lost to. Neither Michigan State nor Minnesota offered Iowa anything close to a challenge with their respective offenses. As we saw last week against Nebraska, Penn State doesn't appear to be able to present much of a challenge in that respect either. Iowa 33, Penn State 10

 

Rutgers (+9.5) at Michigan, 6:30 p.m.

Both teams have to be fuming but for far different reasons. The Wolverines are on a three-game skid, most recently mauled 49-11 at the hands of Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Rutgers botched a potential win over Illinois.

 

This one comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes between turnovers (both teams have a minus-two differential) and penalties (Rutgers is ranked No. 100 nationally while Michigan is tied for 106th). If disciplined football is your thing, you may want to shield your eyes if flipping past this one. Michigan 31, Rutgers 23

 

Last Week: 4-2

Season: 18-13

 

Podcast: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces). To contact him, click here.

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