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College Football Betting: 2021 Week 4 Big Ten Rundown

Week 4 Big Ten Betting Guide: Top Picks and Predictions

The college football season moves into Week 4 with nonconference games still on the board but some teams playing conference games. The biggest Big Ten game of the week is a nonconference game at a neutral site. That leads off our look at the Big Ten in Week 4.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Wisconsin Badgers (in Chicago)

NCAA Odds: Wisconsin -6.5

The Wisconsin Badgers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish have not looked convincing. Notre Dame has won a bunch of close games and its offense has shown considerable weakness. Notre Dame was extremely lucky to win at home versus Toledo, escaping with a 32-29 win due to a late touchdown. The Fighting Irish needed overtime to beat a Florida State squad that has subsequently lost to Jacksonville State and Wake Forest. The Irish offensive line has struggled, which has made it tough for them to establish their offense. Their defense has not been especially strong, either, a real surprise given the fact that the program hired coordinator Marcus Freeman from Cincinnati, where he led an unbeaten regular season a year ago under Bearcat head coach Luke Fickell.

Conference Roundup: Big Ten
John Fisher/Getty Images/AFP

Wisconsin, however, is not in a clearly better place than the Irish. The Badgers lost to Penn State in the first week of the season, 16-10. They failed to score points of any kind on multiple red-zone possessions. Wisconsin has not been able to run the ball well in crucial situations, and quarterback Graham Mertz is not on the same page with his receivers. The offensive line, as is the case with Notre Dame, has struggled this season. The Badgers are looking for answers just as much as Notre Dame is.

This game will be played in Chicago, where Subway Alumni for Notre Dame exist in very large numbers. There should be plenty of fans from both teams, but expect Notre Dame to have a slight crowd advantage. Notre Dame might not win this game outright, but with a spread of nearly a touchdown, the Irish are a good bet to keep this game close and cover the spread for those who bet online.

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Michigan State Spartans

Odds: Michigan State -5.5

This is a fascinating game. Michigan State is unbeaten, having won two road games. The Spartans are coming off a 38-17 blowout of the Miami Hurricanes in South Florida. They have taken care of business this season.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers just lost to Oklahoma, 23-16, as a 22-point underdog. A lot of people will look at that game and conclude that Nebraska isn’t that bad. However, they forget that Nebraska lost to Illinois earlier in the season. They are also ignoring that Oklahoma, which has had a lot of running backs injured, did not want to overwork its running backs and therefore used a simple and basic game plan built around short passes that limited what the Sooners could do on offense. Oklahoma was trying to preserve its resources for the rest of a long season. The Sooners did not do everything humanly possible to win the game. They merely did just enough to win the game. That has to be factored into the equation with Nebraska, which is getting a lot of respect here with the small spread in favor of Michigan State. The Spartans have to like their chances of winning this game by at least a touchdown if not much more.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Wolverines

Odds: Michigan -20.5

This is an intriguing game if you’re making college football picks. Rutgers is unbeaten and has not allowed more than 14 points in any of its three games. The Michigan Wolverines have scored three blowout victories, but their opponents – Central Michigan, Washington, and Northern Illinois – are not good teams and have huge flaws Michigan was able to exploit. Michigan seems to be a decent team, but being favored by nearly three touchdowns seems a lot. Michigan should certainly win, but it will likely be difficult for the Wolverines to cover the number against a Rutgers team which isn’t playing poorly.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Purdue Boilermakers

Odds: Purdue -11

These teams are in must-win mode here. Illinois and Purdue struggle to win Big Ten games. They are going to play Iowa and Wisconsin and Minnesota later in the season, games they are highly unlikely to win. If Purdue and Illinois are going to make a bowl game and reach their central goal for the season, they need to win this game and the other winnable games in the Big Ten West, such as Nebraska and Northwestern. If Illinois loses here, its chances of making a bowl game go way down. Purdue has more wins than Illinois, but its bowl chances will be severely wounded if the Boilermakers don’t get the job done here. Purdue has a solid defensive line and has reason to think it can shut down a struggling Illinois offense in this conference game.

Kent State Golden Flashes at Maryland Terrapins – The Maryland Terrapins looked bad, but they beat Illinois last week. This game should be much easier.
Bowling Green Falcons at Minnesota Golden Gophers – The Golden Gophers shut out Colorado on the road. They should have a similarly easy time against Bowling Green.
Colorado State Rams at Iowa Hawkeyes – The Hawkeyes pounded Iowa State on the road earlier this season. They might be the Big Ten West Division favorites this year. They should have no trouble with a Colorado State team that lost to South Dakota State and Vanderbilt.
Akron Zips at Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes have a ton of problems, but Akron will not challenge them this weekend.
Indiana Hoosiers at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers – The Hoosiers are nine-point favorites and have to get over a tough loss to Cincinnati last week. Red-zone turnovers killed them. They have to clean that up this week.
Ohio Bobcats at Northwestern Wildcats – The Northwestern Wildcats lost to the Duke Blue Devils in a horrible performance. Yet, Ohio is far worse than Northwestern. The Bobcats lost to Duquesne of the FCS earlier this season and look like a bad team.
Villanova Wildcats at Penn State Nittany Lions – The Nittany Lions will get a breather after a physically taxing and close win over Auburn last weekend.

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