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Big Ten: Week 7 Preview

Looking to remain undefeated, Michigan travels to Penn State on Saturday.

Looking to remain undefeated, Michigan travels to Penn State on Saturday.

Undefeated No. 4 Ohio State remains the frontrunner in the Big Ten after six weeks of college football action, but for the first weekend of the campaign the Buckeyes won’t garner all of the attention.

Urban Meyer’s side will take the week off before hosting Iowa on October 19. The break will heal the bumps and bruises garnered over six games, but it could hinder the team as it looks to climb the AP rankings.

On Saturday, the Buckeyes will be rooting for their rivals Michigan to pick up a win. With the Big Ten lacking compared to the likes of the SEC, Pac-12 and even the ACC, OSU needs quality wins between now and the end of the season. The Buckeyes’ schedule is lacking in quality games, and if the Wolverines fall on Saturday, so in all likelihood will Ohio State’s hopes of a national championship. Of course, Michigan still has title hopes of its own.

Read on for the BettingSports.com preview of Week 7 in the Big Ten, starting with a big rivalry game at Beaver Stadium.

No. 18 Michigan at Penn State

Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA, 5:00 p.m. ET

Allen Robinson and the Nittany Lions will look to derail the Wolverines.

Allen Robinson and PSU host No. 18 Michigan.

After retaining the Little Brown Jug following last weekend’s 42-13 win over Minnesota, Michigan (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) will look to make it two rivalry wins in two weeks on Saturday as the team travels to State College to take on Penn State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten).

The Nittany Lions have gone home with the Land Grant Trophy in each of the last three matchups between the schools, having put an end to Michigan’s nine-game winning streak in 2008. It’s been three years since the two met though, and this Wolverines side has aspirations bigger than the trophy that will be presented at the end of Saturday’s game. But beating Penn State could be a tough task.

While the Wolverines rebounded from a couple of subpar performances with last week’s win over the Gophers, the team has struggled in recent years on the road, as observed yesterday. While Penn State hasn’t exactly been lights out at home – the team has lost two games at Beaver Stadium in each of the last four seasons – the side does have the talent and ability to pick up a win against a Michigan side that’s only road game of the season saw a narrow 24-21 victory over Connecticut. The Nittany Lions will be looking to rebound from a surprising loss to Indiana last week.

Michigan lost DT Ondre Pipkins (knee) for the rest of the season in last week’s loss, a loss that could prove significant for a defense that has yet to really find its groove this season. LB Jake Ryan (knee) is listed as doubtful.

Michigan opened as a 1-point favorite going into the game, but the spread has subsequently risen to 3. The Wolverines are 5-3 all-time at Beaver Stadium, but have dropped the last two meetings.

Michigan (3-2-0 ATS) has been inconsistent against the spread this season, a statement that could be said of Penn State (2-3-0 ATS) too. The Wolverines’ road woes have carried over to the spread; the side is just 5-12-1 ATS in its last 18 road games.

The over/under opened at 50 and has remained constant. Both Michigan (3-2-0) and Penn State (3-2-0) have marginally favored the over. The total has gone over in four of the last six games played between the schools at Penn State.

No. 19 Northwestern at Wisconsin

Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI, 3:30 p.m. ET

Melvin Gordon will look to lead Wisconsin to victory.

Melvin Gordon will look to lead Wisconsin to victory.

A week after narrowly losing to Ohio State, No. 19 Northwestern (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) will be well aware anything less than a win on Saturday could see that AP status tumbling. Anything less than a win could also see the Wildcats’ hopes of a Big Ten championship shot down.

Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) is another team in a must-win situation. A 31-24 loss to the Buckeyes two weeks ago means the Badgers need two other teams to beat Ohio State this season if they’re to oust their division rivals for a spot in the Big Ten title game. Of course, that’s if the side wins out. Another loss will all but guarantee the Badgers will merely be playing for a Bowl berth for the rest of the season.

Having had a week to rest, Wisconsin will happily see Melvin Gordon, the Big Ten’s leading rusher, take to the field. Gordon has fended off a knee injury suffered in the OSU game. Northwestern meanwhile will field quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, a dual threat that has worked well for the Wildcats so far this season, even in last week’s loss.

The two schools have traded wins over the last six meetings, with Wisconsin earning a 70-23 victory the last time these sides met (Nov. 2010). The Badgers have also won the last three played at Camp Randall Stadium, with Northwestern’s last win in Madison coming on September 23, 2000.

The Badgers opened as a 10-point favorite. The spread remains at 10 as kickoff approaches. Wisconsin (4-1-0 ATS) has fared well against the spread this season, with only OSU (5-1-0 ATS) covering more times in the conference. Northwestern (2-3-0 ATS) have been less successful.

The over/under opened at 57.5 and has narrowly shifted to 58. Northwestern (3-2-0) has favored the over while Wisconsin (2-3-0) has favored the under. The total has gone over in four of the last five meetings between the schools.

Around the Conference

Connor Cook and the Michigan State Spartans host the Indiana Hoosiers.

Connor Cook and Michigan State host Indiana.

In the first of the two other Big Ten games this weekend, Indiana (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) will look to build on last week’s win over Penn State by defeating Michigan State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) for the first time since October 2006.

The Spartans are coming off a 26-14 win over Iowa in a game that was defensively impressive if not offensively exciting. Michigan State hasn’t dropped a game to Indiana in East Lansing, Mich., since November 10, 2001, and has dominated the Hoosiers over the years, picking up four straight win and 13 from the last 15.

The Spartans open as a one-touchdown favorite at home, with the over/under opening at 54.5 and slipping to 53.

Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) and Purdue (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten) will meet for the first time since September 1958 and only the second time in history on Saturday afternoon. The Cornhuskers, like most of the Legends Division, have title aspirations while the Boilermakers would simply be happy with a win having dropped three straight. That win looks unlikely though.

Nebraska opened as a two-touchdown favorite. The spread remains at 14 just hours from kickoff. Nebraska (3-2-0 ATS) has fared okay against the spread, while Purdue (1-4-0 ATS) has been horrible.

The total opened at 60 but has subsequently dropped to 57. Both teams have marginally favored the over this campaign. For the record, Purdue was a 28-0 winner when the two schools met at Ross-Ade Stadium in 1958.


Week 7

Saturday (All times ET)

12:00 Indiana (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) (matchup)

12:00 Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Purdue (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten) (matchup)

3:30 No. 19 Northwestern (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) at Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) (matchup)

5:00 No. 18 Michigan (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at Penn State (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) (matchup)

Bye: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State


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