Rutgers, Northwestern impress

With the Big Ten season finally underway, two teams to buy right now are Northwestern and Rutgers. Both of those teams won and covered in their conference season-openers this past weekend.

The Wildcats should be much improved on offense with Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey at QB, bringing them more experience and stability at that position which was lacking last year, along with four returning starters along the offensive line. The defense shut down Maryland on Saturday and that stop unit should be very solid. Northwestern has been 18th in defensive efficiency in the nation since 2015. The Wildcats appear to be a ‘bet on’ squad in the Big Ten this season and they are off to a good start in that regard.

The other team I am looking to bet on right now is Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights brought back head coach Greg Schiano, who was the architect of the only bit of success the football program has had in the last two decades.

Rutgers might have found its most promising QB in ages with Noah Vedral, the Nebraska transfer who was very solid in the team’s blowout win against Michigan State on Saturday. The defense has a vastly improved secondary, an experienced and talented linebacking corps and a defensive line that should be able to get more pressure this season. I think Rutgers can be a profitable ATS team this season.

Two teams to sell right now are Tennessee and Michigan State. Tennessee’s season is crumbling after three consecutive losses both SU and ATS to Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama. The Vols are getting horrific QB play from Jarrett Guarantano and their defense has been gashed repeatedly.

Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is already throwing some members of his coaching staff under the bus for the team’s struggles. The scene is not a good one in Knoxville and I’m not sure it will get better moving forward.

Michigan State is rebuilding right now with a new head coach in Mel Tucker, which was a questionable hire in my opinion. They have an unsettled QB situation while installing new schemes and systems on both sides of the football.

The team appears to be a mess on paper and they proved to be a mess on the field in a terrible game played by the Spartans over the weekend in a 38-27 home loss as double-digit chalk to Rutgers. Michigan State’s recruiting rankings have also declined in recent seasons so they aren’t getting the same quality of talent other teams in the Big Ten are. Sell the Spartans.

Saturday

Wake Forest at Syracuse, Total 59: These are two of the fastest tempo offenses in the nation with Wake and Syracuse both running a lot of plays in each game.

The Demon Deacons offense led by QB Sam Hartman should feast on a struggling, injury plagued defense that has allowed 38+ points in three straight games. The Syracuse offense did move the ball at times last week against the vaunted Clemson defense notching 325 total yards and QB Rex Culpepper is not much of a downgrade from injured QB Tommy DeVito.

The Orange should have success here against a Wake defense that is still giving up over 400 total yards per game. Each of the last three meetings have gotten to 65+ total points. OVER

Kansas State +3.5 at West Virginia: Kansas State enters this game at 4-0 in Big 12 play as they head to Morgantown. The Wildcats defense has gotten better each week and should be able to hold down a mediocre Mountaineers offense that has been good at times but most of those performances came against weaker defenses than this one.

Quarterback Jarret Doege has been erratic for West Virginia. Meanwhile, Kansas State’s offense doesn’t appear to be suffering with Will Howard at QB replacing an injured Skylar Thompson. He has led Kansas State to consecutive wins and the ground attack has supported him well.

Kansas State is 5-0 ATS in its last five road games, dating back to last season and the Wildcats continue to be phenomenal as underdogs, going 8-2 ATS in their last 10 tries in that role. KANSAS STATE

Ohio State at Penn State, Total 64: Ohio State looked the part of having one of the best offenses and QB’s in the country this season. QB Justin Fields was outstanding and the Buckeyes rolled up 52 points and 491 total yards in a blowout win against Nebraska.

Penn State suffered a heartbreaking loss to Indiana last week, but the offense looked very solid, racking up 488 total yards. But three turnovers and some critical mistakes cost them from putting up more than 35 points. The Nittany Lions' defense will have their hands full here, but the Buckeyes' defense did show some cracks last week and now face an even better offense. OVER

Indiana at Rutgers +12: This appears to be a classic letdown spot for Indiana coming off a miraculous and thrilling upset home win against Penn State. The Hoosiers were badly outgained in the victory by the Nittany Lions and it will be difficult for them to muster that same level of energy and focus for this game.

Rutgers is going to be a very sneaky point spread team as I’ve already mentioned. They knocked off Michigan State on the road last week and should be excited about playing their first home game in spite of the lack of fans.

The offense looks better and so does the defense for Rutgers, which forced sevn turnovers last week against Michigan State. Expect a battle. RUTGERS

Last week: 1-3

Season: 12-12-1