College Football Betting: Big 10 Best Bets For Week 12

Illinois and No. 3 Michigan is one of the key games in the Big 10 this week. It’s also among our bets bets of the week.

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The Big Ten Conference rolls into Week 12, as the race for the Big Ten West Division championship arrives at its defining battles. There’s more to be said about that in our evaluation of the games below. Beyond that, there’s also a key cross-division game between a West Division contender and a Big Ten East team with its eyes on the national championship.

There’s a lot to discuss as the regular season heads toward the finish line. Let's take a look at the spreads, moneylines and totals in the Big 10 this week.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan Wolverines

Odds: Michigan -17.5

The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost two straight games. They had beaten Iowa and Minnesota and were fully in control of the division. Nonetheless, losses to Michigan State and Purdue have put them in the middle of a jumble in the Big Ten West. They haven’t eliminated themselves, but they’re in a very difficult spot right now. The importance of this game relative to the Big Ten West race is that if Illinois can pull off the upset, the Illini would remain in a tie with Iowa and would have the advantage in a possible tiebreaker between the two teams. However, Michigan is an overwhelming favorite here. If Michigan does take care of business, the Illini would fall out of a tie. Iowa would then have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Purdue. If the Hawkeyes get an Illinois loss against Michigan, they would control their fate in the Big Ten West.

Michigan is still unbeaten, and it knows that if it wins this game, the following week versus Ohio State will be for a likely spot in the College Football Playoff and the chance to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan is not going to squander this opportunity. Illinois should lose, which leads us to the next game below:

Pick: Michigan -17.5

Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

Odds: Minnesota -2.5

This is a huge game for the Big Ten West. If we assume that Illinois loses as a huge underdog at Michigan and fails to pull off the upset, Iowa would have the path to the Big Ten West title if it can win this tough game at Minnesota, in the game known as “Floyd of Rosedale,” the statue of a pig awarded to the winner of this game. Iowa and Minnesota both have highly deficient quarterback situations and very limited offenses.

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The over-under for this game is 32.5 points, which is remarkably low for any college football game. However, a quick bookmaker review scanning the odds will show that there are is a 31.5 on the board as well as a 33 at press time.

The game is expected to be extremely close, given how low-scoring it is likely to be and this might be a spot where a buying half-point makes sense. We have seen Iowa play really well the past few weeks, though. If one team is more likely to force a big mistake from the opposition, it is Iowa. If one team is more likely to make the big game-deciding mistake, it is Minnesota.

Pick: Iowa +2.5

Wisconsin Badgers at Nebraska Cornhuskers

Odds: Wisconsin -10.5

This game figures to be one-way traffic for Wisconsin. The Badgers are a better team than Nebraska and are in a must-win position, given that they are not yet bowl-eligible. In their last three wins, the Badgers have rushed for 178 yards or more. Nebraska is coming off a game where they just coughed up 264 to Michigan. They rank 112th in the country in terms of run defense (191 rushing yards per game allowed), giving up 20 touchdowns in just 10 games.

You will see Wisconsin play with a level of focus which has not always existed this season. That will enable the Badgers to win decisively.

Pick: Wisconsin -10.5