Who would have thought that the Penn State/Indiana game would be the highlight of the week?
With numerous blowouts all week long, the 3OT thriller at Assembly Hall bailed out the conference from an uneventful five days. In fact, when we look back at the conference schedule, Indiana’s 110-102 win could be one of the best games of the year. On a side note, the game reminded me of the 3OT game last year between Rutgers and Illinois.
When looking at Saturday’s conference schedule, one thing in particular sticks out.
Every game features evenly matched teams. With four solid games, don’t expect any of these games to get too far out of hand. It will be another great slate to binge on.
You can preview all of Saturday’s games below. Betting odds are courtesy of Covers.com.
Big Ten Game of the Day:
-(23) Purdue Boilermakers at (17) Maryland Terrapins
- Time/TV: 12:00PM ET - ESPN
- Covers Spread: Purdue (-2.5)
This game is a matchup of two very good teams, who have completely separate makeups. For Maryland, the team has relied on a strong freshman class to compliment superstar Melo Trimble. For Purdue, the program is complimenting Caleb Swanigan with a group of upperclassmen.
The Terps have three newcomers; Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter, and Justin Jackson, who have played every game this season and are averaging 26+ minutes per game. Cowan and Jackson are both averaging double-digits in points, while Cowan leads the team in assists (3.7) and Jackson leads the team in rebounds (6.3). On the other hand, Huerter is less consistent, but can heat up from three at a moments notice.
In contrast, Purdue has a foursome of juniors who are averaging 20+ minutes in 2016-17. They have been Caleb Swanigan’s support system so far, combining for over 40 points collectively. In addition, freshman Carsen Edwards has played well for the Boilermakers, too. He is currently posting 10.8 points per game and has appeared in every game thus far.
You could make the argument that the Terrapins have overachieved in 2016-17. The fact that they enter this game as home underdogs, validates that claim. Over the last seven contests, Maryland has covered and won every single game. The law of averages leads me to believe that Purdue cover this Saturday afternoon showdown.
It will be the first meeting of the year for Purdue/Maryland, the teams split last year’s series 1-1.
- Pick Against The Spread: Purdue
- Time/TV: 1:00PM ET — ESPNU
- Covers Spread: Penn State (-8.5)
Say what you want about Rutgers, but this team brings it almost every single night. However, with a 1-9 Big Ten record, their effort hasn’t exactly transferred to the win column.
With that said, this is one of the few games left on Rutgers schedule that they can actually win. I think the Scarlet Knights know that, and they will come out with a great performance.
Coming into the year, if you said that these two teams would split their season series, it would seem totally feasible. Well, Rutgers has definitely been better than expected, so it seems they can easily rectify their 60-47 loss from January 1st (at least ATS).
- Pick Against The Spread: Rutgers
- Time/TV: 4:00 P.M ET - BTN
- Covers Spread: Illinois (-1)
Ahh, the battle of head coaches on the hot seat.
Both John Groce and Richard Pitino Jr. are fighting for their Big Ten lives, making this game extremely intriguing.
As far as Minnesota is concerned, they have been a flat-out disappointment over the last few weeks. After starting the year as the conferences ‘Cinderella’ story, the Gophers are currently on a five-game losing streak. However, when you dig deeper, the losing streak can be attributed to a tough stretch of scheduling (three road losses and home defeats to Maryland and Wisconsin).
As usual, Illinois is playing the role of ‘Most Inconsistent Big Ten team’. With their backs against the wall, it’s just too hard to trust them against a superior Minnesota team.
I really like the Gophers in this spot.
- Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota
- Time/TV: 6:00 P.M ET - ESPN
- Covers Spread: Michigan (-9)
Wouldn’t it make sense for this Big Ten rivalry game to be in primetime? Yeah, I thought so.
Someone needs to take over the weekend scheduling duties in the Big Ten, weekend night games are a good thing and so far there hasn’t been enough.
On to the actual game.
I’m still convinced that the Buckeyes are a good team, no matter how wretched their record is. In their last game against Maryland, the Buckeyes played a good game, eventually falling 77-71. With the game on the line, Ohio State went cold, getting shut out in the final 1:48. However, it was an encouraging performance and they can certainly build off of it.
There are four reasons why I think the Buckeyes are in a good spot on Saturday to cover the spread against Michigan.
- They’re growing more and more desperate for a legitimate win.
- They have a deeper bench/rotation than the Wolverines.
- Nine points is way too many for a rivalry game.
- Ohio State’s public perception isn’t very good, taking the opposite of the public is normally a good move ATS.
- Pick Against The Spread: Ohio State
Casey’s Record vs The Spread: 28-20-1