The college football season moves into Week 8 with the Big Ten having a relatively light schedule. The bigger games in the conference are just around the corner, but in Week 8, you aren’t going to see headline-making games akin to last week’s Michigan victory over Penn State.
Iowa Hawkeyes at Ohio State Buckeyes
Odds: Ohio State -29.5
This is a mismatch, plain and simple. Iowa has one of the worst offenses in the country. The Hawkeyes struggle to score 10 points in many of the games they play. They recently lost 9-6 to Illinois. The Iowa defense is great. Iowa is the only team in the United States which has not allowed a play of 40 yards or more to any opponent in any game this season.
If the Iowa defense was paired with Ohio State’s offense, you would have a clear national championship roster. Unfortunately for Iowa, the Hawkeyes can’t use Ohio State’s offensive players, including Heisman Trophy candidate C.J. Stroud. The Buckeyes aren’t going to score 50 points, but they are going to score because they have really fast receivers Iowa has not faced against other Big Ten teams in 2022. Iowa might not score at all, which is why Ohio State has such a good chance to cover the spread. This game feels like a 37-3 final for the Buckeyes.
Pick: Ohio State -29.5
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Penn State Nittany Lions
Odds: Penn State -5.5
The Penn State Nittany Lions are licking their wounds after losing by 24 points to the Michigan Wolverines. Penn State’s offense was smothered. The Nittany Lions scored 17 points in the game, but seven of those points came on a pick-six from the PSU defense. Penn State was a lot slower than Michigan, and a lot less forceful than Michigan. The Wolverines punched Penn State in the mouth and exposed the limitations of a Penn State offense whose passing game could not make big plays down the field.
The Nittany Lions had just one first down in the entire first half. They were not able to come up with solutions for Michigan. Now they face a Minnesota team whose offense was similarly outclassed by Illinois. Penn State’s defense should be able to lock down Minnesota’s offense, but Penn State’s offense has not been thriving this season, which points to the idea that this game will be a very close slugfest the whole way. Minnesota has a decent chance of covering.
Pick: Minnesota +5.5
Purdue Boilermakers at Wisconsin Badgers
Odds: Wisconsin -2.5
This is a game in which Purdue has a chance to strengthen its position in the Big Ten West Division. Purdue has never won the Big Ten West, however, and the Boilermakers were shaky and unconvincing last week at home against Nebraska. It’s true that Wisconsin just lost to Michigan State, but the Badgers are playing at home and have more of an offensive spark under interim coach Jim Leonhard, who replaced fired coach Paul Chryst a few weeks ago. Wisconsin is more likely to win this game. Historically, this is the kind of game Purdue loses.