Big Ten Week 3 Overview: BYU-Wisconsin a Red-Zone Tussle

Jay Pryce

Monday, September 10, 2018 1:54 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 10, 2018 1:54 PM UTC

Expect a low-scoring clash in the BYU-Wisconsin Big Ten spotlight game of the week. Consider backing Ohio State against the spread in a ranked matchup with TCU, as well as Penn State hosting Kent State.

Big Ten Spotlight: BYU at No. 6 Wisconsin (-23)Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)Free NCAAF Pick: 'Under'Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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This matchup is a battle of red zone efficiency. Wisconsin (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS) and BYU (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) are a handful of FBS programs to register points in every trip inside the 20-yard line. The Badgers, however, have the edge on defense in the area, topping the nation with a 25 percent opponent scoring rate. Only Virginia Tech has as low a mark.

Bettors can expect the Cougars to hold their own defensively, despite Wisconsin’s strengths. Since 2005, they have held ranked opponents under their projected team total in 11 of 12 matchups during regulation time (24.2 average).

The totals market is still trying to catch up to Wisconsin’s ground assault. It's averaging 49 rushes per game with Heisman candidate Jonathan Taylor rumbling for 398 yards and 5 TDs on 51 carries. Time melts away.

Under head coach Paul Chryst, the Badgers fight to a 45.9 average final score when kicking off double-digit home favorites. Only six of 18 contests have seen a tally greater than 52 points. Expect both outfits to come up short of projections in this one.

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Saturday's game between Wisconsin and BYU will be on ABC

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm at Camp Randall Stadium#OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/bfycNiZUY0

— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) September 10, 2018
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Around the Big Ten (All Games Saturday)

Kent State at No. 11 Penn State (-34.5), noon ET, on FS1: Since 2016, MAC programs have traveled to face five ranked Big Ten opponents. They’ve surrendered 45, 77, 54, 52, and 49 points, respectively, losing by 44 points or more in all but one. In 2016, Miami (OH) kept then-No. 17 Iowa within four touchdowns in a 45-21 season-opening loss. Sigh.

Ball State at Indiana (-14), noon ET, on BTN: Since 2006, Ball State (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) has covered the spread in five of six head-to-head against Indiana (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS). The Cardinals have put up 20 points in each. The Hoosiers, meanwhile, average 26.5 under head coach Tom Allen. Expect a closer game than advertised.

Rutgers at Kansas (-3), noon ET: Rutgers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) averages 19.0 points. Last season, it put up 18.0 per game. The "over" has cashed in 11 of the last 12 tilts teams averaging 23 points or fewer the prior season have traveled to Kansas (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS). The margin is a whopping 14.7 north of a 49.6 average total.

Temple at Maryland (-15), noon ET, on BTN: Since 2013, Maryland (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) is 9-2 ATS as double-digit chalk, covering a -21.3 average line by 11 points per game.

Troy at Nebraska (-9.5), noon ET, on BTN: Head coach Scott Frost lost his Nebraska (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) debut 33-28 hosting Colorado, coming up nearly a touchdown short of its projected team total. Frost also saw starting QB Adrian Martinez walk off the field late in the fourth quarter with an injury. The offense will fire against Troy (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS), nonetheless, and likely catch the market off guard. Since 2006, the "over" is 21-7 when the Trojans clash with a Power 5 opponent.

South Florida (-9.5) at Illinois, 3:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: Illinois (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) has covered the spread in just three of its last 12 as a home underdog. The offense sputters to 12.8 points per game. South Florida (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) has scored as many in the first quarter in 13 of its last 16 contests.

SMU at No. 19 Michigan (-35.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: The "over" is 9-1 all-time when the Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan Wolverines (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) kick off with a total of 53 or higher. Expect an opening number in the upper 50s with Air Raid-guru Sonny Dykes and SMU (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) coming to town.

Miami (OH) at Minnesota (-14), 3:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: In the last decade, Minnesota (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) has kicked off a home favorite against a MAC foe seven times. Going 6-1 SU and 2-5 ATS, every Gophers victory has been by a touchdown or less. This might be tighter than expected.

Akron at Northwestern (-21), 7:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: Northwestern (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) is just 3-9 ATS against MAC opponents behind head coach Pat Fitzgerald. The richest bet is to back the "under." The wager is 10-1-1 with a wild negative-14.8 margin.

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Just what the doctor ordered: A @jgaziano97 SACK. #B1GCats pic.twitter.com/KxggisrX08

— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) September 8, 2018
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Missouri (-7.5) at Purdue, 7:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: Purdue (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) rolled to 35-3 win as 5.5-point pups in this matchup at Faurot Field last season. The Boilermakers’ defense held NFL-bound QB Drew Lock to a 68.5 passer rating, his second-lowest (18.2; Florida, 2015) mark since 2015. Only four return to the unit from 2017, so expect Missouri (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) to put up closer to the 35-plus expected in the last clash.

Northern Iowa at Iowa (OFF), 7:30 p.m. ET, on BTN: Iowa (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) clashes with its third straight state opponent when FSC Northern Iowa (1-1 SU, 0-0-1 ATS) traveling to Kinnick Stadium. These two have clashed thrice in the last decade, the Hawkeyes winning each, but never by more than 11 points. The Panthers are 2-0-1 ATS.

No. 4 Ohio State (-13) at No. 15 TCU, 8 p.m. ET, on ABC: Since 1994, Ohio State (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) is 19-3-1 ATS on the road against ranked opponents, covering a -0.1 average line by 8.3 points per game.

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