Fun fact: Purdue (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS) and No. 2 Ohio State (7-0 SU, 3-4 ATS) are tied with 6.8 yards per play, ranking 10th nationally. Most expect this efficiency from the Buckeyes, but the Boilermakers?
Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm leans on the pass, though the rushing attack is deadly when it gets a chance. It ranks 114th in the country running the ball on only 45.8 percent of plays, yet sits 21st in effectiveness with 5.3 yards per carry. Opposing defenses are forced to respect the threat, which helps even a mediocre passing team excel.
Ohio State, on the other hand, tops the nation with a 73.3 percent completion percentage, and is second with 371.4 passing yards when you factor in games against FBS foes only. Signal-caller Dwayne Haskins leads the team to 47.2 points per game as a starter all-time.
Don’t look for the Boilermakers’ defense to come close to slowing Ohio State in this matchup. In the modern era (1980 and up), Purdue is 1-8 ATS when up against a Big Ten opponent averaging greater than six touchdowns. The program yields 42.4 points per game in this spot.
Ohio State, also, is not the sharpest in this spot defensively. Head coach Urban Meyer allows 21.2 points per game against unranked conference foes on the road in his career. Lean the “over,” but lay the points as your best bet. The Buckeyes win by 19.1 points per game in the aforementioned situation. The line should be more in this region.
Around the Big Ten (All Games Saturday)
No. 6 Michigan (-6.5) at No. 24 Michigan State, noon ET, FOX
We offered up this trend in the Notre Dame season-opening loss, but Michigan (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) is just 1-20 SU and 5-16 ATS since 1995 on the road against ranked competition. Under head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines are 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS. Michigan State (4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS) moved up to No. 24 in the AP Poll following a shock 21-17 win as a 13-point underdog at Penn State last Saturday.
Maryland at No. 19 Iowa (-12.5), noon ET, on ESPN2
Iowa (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS) has covered the spread just once in its last nine games hosting unranked conference foes. The Hawkeyes are coming up 4.0 points shy of a-11.4 average live in this span.
Northwestern (-21) at Rutgers, noon ET, BTN
The 21-point spread is the most head coach Pat Fitzgerald has ever laid on the road in 12 years leading Northwestern (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS). In three games away from home offering more than nine points to Big Ten foes all-time, the Wildcats erupted for 59, 45, and 42 points. Team total over anyone?
Illinois at No. 23 Wisconsin (-26), noon ET, FS1
Illinois (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) yields 43.5 points per game to ranked opponents under head coach Lovie Smith, including a 63-point romp by Penn State in Week 4.
No. 18 Penn State (-14) at Indiana, 3:30 p.m. ET, on ABC
Penn State (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) is 7-9 SU and 2-12-2 ATS coming off a loss behind head coach James Franklin. The offense has never scored more than 35 points in this situation, averaging just 22.2 per game.
Minnesota at Nebraska (-4), 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN
Nebraska (0-6 SU, 2-4 ATS) is undefeated through its first six games for the first time in program history, the defense yielding 38.3 points per game. Minnesota (3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS), meanwhile, has lost eight straight B1G road tests, covering just two altogether. The Gophers are losing by an 18.6 average margin in this stretch.