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Ryan Day
Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports
Big Ten Bets

Day's Defense Steps Up & TDs at a Premium in Piscataway

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: September 23, 2022, 9:30 am ET

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Conference play kicks off for a handful of BIG Ten teams this weekend. Week 4 features Michigan hosting Maryland, Minnesota in East Lansing to take on Michigan State, Iowa traveling halfway across the country to play Rutgers, and Ohio State filling up the Horseshoe to play Wisconsin. The NBC EDGE analysts expect team defenses to step up in Columbus and Piscataway and PointsBet is backing their play.

Elsewhere, Maryland is 3-0 but can Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terps kick it up a notch after defeating SMU at College Park by only a touchdown? Tagovailoa has surpassed his passing yards prop in weeks 1 and 2 but stumbled last week against the Mustangs. Minnesota (3-0) is averaging just a hair shy of 50 points per game. Can they keep it up as they start conference play against the Spartans? 

Of course, those are not the only games involving the Big Ten this weekend and are not the only questions for bettors in those specific games.



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. Their plays may not involve the marquee games or the biggest stars, but they offer value to the sports bettor…and some are boosted at PointsBet.


Week 4 Plays:

Iowa @ Rutgers:                        

Game Total UNDER 35 (-107)              

Vaughn Dalzell (@VmoneySports)

The Under has hit in three-straight games for Iowa to open the season and two of three for Rutgers. The lone over for Rutgers was a 66-7 win versus FCS Wagner. Do not stop now.

Iowa's offense is still terrible even after Spencer Petras threw a season-high 175 yards against Nevada. Expect some regression there.

Rutgers struggled against Temple and Evan Simon threw for 52 yards, so we are talking about two of the least productive quarterbacks in not just the Big Ten, but all of Power 5 football.

The Scarlett Knights' defense has not permitted more than 21 points to date this season. As a result, I like the chances Iowa is kept Under that total on the road in the Big Ten opener for both schools. The Under is 12-6 in Rutgers' last 18 games (66.6%) and 11-6 to the Under in Iowa's last 17 games (64.7%), per NBC's Edge Finder.

Keep riding that.


Wisconsin @ Ohio State:        

Wisconsin Team Total UNDER 19.5 (-115)

Brad Thomas (MrBradThomas)

Wisconsin and Ohio State meet for the first time since 2019. They played twice that season; once in the regular season and once in the Big 10 Championship game. Many are predicting this is the first of two meetings between the rivals this season as well.

If we know anything about the 2022 Buckeyes it is the improvements, they have made defensively. Outside of the game against Toledo (a 77-21 victory), they have held their opponents to 12 or fewer points. I am backing the Jim Knowles-led defense this week to hold Wisconsin to under 20 points.

Wisconsin has a beast at running back in Braelon Allen, but with Graham Mertz at quarterback, they are one-dimensional. Through three games, Ohio State's run defense has been great. They are 10th in the nation in run defense. This is a conference game against a tough defense. I do not expect Day to want to get in a shootout this week.

Back Wisconsin team total under 19.5 points.

These first two plays are being parlayed and boosted from +260 to +290 at PointsBet


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Maryland @ Michigan:           

Michigan -10.5 First Half Spread vs. Maryland

Zachary Kruger (@ZK_FFB)

I have dabbled with a handful of first-quarter parlays and was tempted to do so here, but the odds are slightly better for Michigan at -10.5 on the first half spread. I am already on Michigan to cover -17 against Maryland this weekend. The Terps have become all too familiar with hot starts to their season only to watch their flame get snuffed out by Big Ten powerhouses. Maryland taking on No. 4 ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor, feels like it is setting up for a movie we have seen one too many times.

Maryland has failed to cover in each of its last 11 games as underdogs against AP-ranked teams. While Taulia Tagovailoa has gotten off to a solid start for the Terps (895-6-2), he will face his toughest test of the young season in this road game. The Terps' defense will also need to find an answer for Michigan running back Blake Corum (34-235-7) and will do their best to keep this one from getting out of hand early. I will take Michigan at -10.5 in the first half in hopes of moving to 4-0 on my derivative Big Ten plays this season.


Maryland @ Michigan:

Dontay Demus Jr, WR, Maryland UNDER 52.5 Rec Yards

Eric Froton (@CFFroton)

Last season, Demus Jr. caught 26 receptions on 36 targets for a 78% catch rate with 507 yards, 18.1 YPC, and three touchdowns in just 4.5 games before sustaining a season-ending leg injury against Iowa. He was somewhat surprisingly cleared for the opener versus Buffalo reeling in 3-of-5 passes for just 23 yards. Though he has been involved in the offense, logging 28, 29 and 42 offensive snaps in his first three contests, Demus Jr. has been overshadowed by Florida transfer Jacob Copeland, five-star recruit Rakim Jarrett and all-purpose dynamo Jeshaun Jones. The NFL hopeful secured just one pass on three targets for five yards last week against a questionable SMU secondary. Demus Jr. has 57 yards total through three games and is playing Michigan's fourth ranked scoring defense, yet his line is 52.5? I played the Under 52.5 Receiving Yards and you should too. 


Enjoy the games and enjoy the sweat!


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