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BIG Ten Week 2: Harbaugh and Michigan Among Many Massive Favorites

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh

Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Its Week 2 of the college football season. All 14 universities are in action, and where there are posted spreads, all Big Ten schools are favored this weekend. Some of the spreads are massive which is not unusual for early season, out of conference matchups. Nebraska and Penn State are favored by over 20 against Georgia Southern and Ohio respectively. The Spartans of Michigan State are favored by nearly five touchdowns over Akron. Those spreads all pale in comparison to the spread at The Big House. The Michigan Wolverines are favored by 52 at home against Hawaii.

While all the favorites may win, all probably will not cover. What are the best plays on the board?

As they will every week of the BIG Ten this season, the NBC Sports EDGE Analysts are back to serve up their favorite plays for the conference. They will offer a top play in a variety of markets including side, total, derivative market, and even the top prop available in a Big Ten game.

Week 2 Plays:

BIG Ten Top Spread Play

Michigan -51 vs Hawaii

Vaughn Dalzell (@VmoneySports)

How could you back Hawaii after back-to-back home losses versus Vanderbilt by a score of 63-10 and 49-17 to Western Kentucky?

Michigan could score 60-plus games and chances are 10 points is too many for Hawaii to score on the road in The Big House. This will be the first road game of the year for the Rainbow Warriors and new Head Coach Timmy Chang.

Michigan beat Hawaii 63-3 in 2016 and I expect a similar result as that was also Hawaii’s first road game of that season and they are far less talented than that 7-6 team that won a Bowl Game over Middle Tennessee State. Fade Hawaii at The Big House.

BIG Ten Top Totals Play

Virginia @ Illinois Total Points: UNDER 57

Brad Thomas (@MrBradThomas)

This total started at 53.5 and will probably inch north of that because people remember the game from last season where Brennan Armstrong threw the ball 45 times and had five passing touchdowns. Virginia went on to win that game 42-14. The good news for those riding this new total is that Armstrong probably will not throw the ball 45 times this weekend. New head coach Tony Elliot will look to establish the run and control the game’s pace by running the ball.

As for Illinois, while it looks like Tommy DeVito has improved since his time at Syracuse, there is no doubt that this offense is run through running back Chase Brown. He has rushed for 155 and 199 yards in his first two games this season, but it is the number of carries he has had in both (19 and 36). In the Barry Lunney Jr. interview after the Wyoming game, he was surprised by the 50/50 run/pass split. He said it likely would not happen again. In the next game, they threw the ball 36 times and ran for 54, proving the balance between running and passing under Lunney Jr. will lean towards running.

Both coaches know that this game will be won in the trenches. Despite Virginia being in the ACC, if they want to win this game against this improved Illinois team, they will have to get down and dirty and play Big Ten football. Give me under 57 points.

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BIG Ten Top Team Total Play

Iowa UNDER 21.5 Points

Zachary Krueger (@ZK_FFB)

Where do we begin with this one?

As 10.5-point home favorites against South Dakota State, the Hawkeyes won a 7-3 slogfest against the Jackrabbits in Week 1. It was a win on the scoreboard, but the moral victory goes to South Dakota State, who forced two turnovers on the Hawkeyes while holding them to 2.7 yards per play. Were it not for the Hawkeyes forcing TWO safeties on the day, it is likely these teams would be in overtime “x” still tied at three. Simply put, you are not allowed to score three points at home against South Dakota State, only to receive an O/U of 21.5 against rival Iowa State the following week.

Iowa is 3-0 in this game since 2018 but has been held to 27, 17 and 13 points, respectively. Even as a 10-4 team last season, Kirk Ferentz and company ranked 99th in the nation in points per game (23.4), scoring fewer than 20 points in five of their contests. Apologies to the Hawkeye faithful, but an O/U of 17.5 feels too high at the moment. Give me the under, please.

BIG Ten Top Prop

De’Zhaun Stribling, WR, Washington State at Wisconsin – UNDER 51.5 Receiving Yards

Eric Froton (@CFFroton)

So let me get this straight - Wazzu barely held off the vaunted Idaho Vandals last week by a score of 24-17 with new starter Cam Ward throwing for just 228 yards after passing for 4,650 yards last season for Incarnate Word. For his part Stribling was a focal point of the Wazzu offense, catching 7-of-10 passes for 51 yards, averaging a perilously low 5.8-yard average target depth. Keep in mind that was against FCS team Idaho. This week Wazzu travels to Camp Randall to play the number one defense in the country according to SP+ in Wisconsin. Madison is a hostile spot for a shaky quarterback making his first career FBS road start. We could see Cam Ward get exposed this week against a suffocating Wisconsin defense that allowed a 55% completion rate, 33% success rate (2nd best in FBS) generating three–and-outs at a 44% clip (2nd in FBS). I am taking the under on Stribling’s 51.5 receiving yards in a tough road spot.

Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat!