Upcoming Match-ups

Big Ten Football Opening Week Spreads Released – See Odds for All Games on October 23-24

Nick Krueger

by Nick Krueger in College Football

Updated Oct 15, 2020 · 2:29 PM PDT

Ryan Day
Ryan Day's Buckeyes open their season as heavy favorites against Nebraska. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire)
  • Lines have been released for the opening slate of Big Ten games beginning on October 23-24
  • Ohio State opens as a huge 21.5-point favorite over Nebraska and #19 Michigan is a 2.5-point underdog at #24 Minnesota
  • Read below for full opening week Big Ten schedule, spreads and odds

The college football season gets another kick in the pants next weekend when the Big Ten rejoins the fray and its teams begin play.

The all-conference schedule opens up on October 23rd when Illinois takes on No. 16 Wisconsin, and continues with a number of compelling games on the 24th.

Justin Fields leads No. 6 Ohio State against Nebraska as one of the week’s biggest favorites, and No. 19 Michigan travels to No. 24 Minnesota. No. 9 Penn State plays Indiana, in a precursor to its Halloween matchup with the Buckeyes.

Unpredictability has been a common occurrence  for teams playing their first games against each other this season. When the SEC began play in Week 4, favorites went 6-1 overall, but just 2-5 ATS.

With only three conference games with a line of a touchdown-or-less, the table could be set for another such finish. Keep an eye on the college football odds for all the updates and line changes leading up to the games.

Big Ten Opening Week Odds and Spreads

Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Friday, Oct. 23 Illinois +23.5 (-110)
8:00 p.m. Wisconsin -23.5 (-110)
Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Saturday, Oct. 24 Nebraska +21.5 (-110)
12:00 p.m. Ohio State -21.5 (-110)
Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Saturday, Oct. 24 Rutgers +11.5 (-110)
12:00 p.m. Michigan State -11.5 (-110)
Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Saturday, Oct. 24 Penn State -7 (-110)
3:30 p.m. Indiana +7 (-110)
Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Saturday, Oct. 24 Iowa -2.5 (-110)
3:30 p.m. Purdue +2.5 (-110)
Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Saturday, Oct. 24 Michigan +2.5 (-110)
7:30 p.m. Minnesota -2.5 (-110)
Game Time (Eastern) Team Spread
Saturday, Oct. 24 Maryland +11 (-110)
7:30 p.m. Northwestern -11 (-110)

Odds taken on October 15

Huskers Get What They Ask For

Everyone had a good laugh when Nebraska head coach Scott Frost spoke out about wanting to play following the Big Ten’s decision to put the season on hold, only to be scheduled against the Buckeyes to open the season. Frost would love to have the last laugh, but that doesn’t look promising.

In 2018, Frost’s first season with the Huskers, he gave the Buckeyes a run for their money and covered, but Ohio State still won outright, 36-31. Last season, OSU came back prepared and pounded Nebraska in Lincoln, 48-7. Huskers QB Adrian Martinez threw three interceptions and only completed eight passes.

Fields is one of the country’s best quarterbacks and returns with an offensive line and receiving corps flush with talent. Ohio State needs the pair of Tyreke Smith and Jonathon Cooper to step to replace the pressure Chase Young created, but the Buckeyes’ starting linebackers were all in the team’s top-six tacklers last year.

OSU gave up the sixth-fewest yards per rushing attempt last season, and should stifle the Huskers again here, who enter the year with a few unknowns on an offensive line the graded out as below-average in 2019.

Ohio State is going to be motivated all season long to tack on as much margin as possible with fewer games played than others pushing for a College Football Playoff spot. Nebraska doesn’t appear to have a sharp angle here, and Ohio State is a very public team. Even though laying big lines has been a bit dicey this season, the line is likely to finish closer to 24 than 21, so taking OSU early is advisable.

Meltdown for Minnesota?

Minnesota was a fun, plucky team last season, and finished as a top-10 team, nationally. This season, the Gophers won’t be sneaking up on anyone, and they’ll face that problem without several key faces from last year’s team.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim return to the backfield, while Rashod Bateman will operate as the #1 WR with Tyler Johnson now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. New offensive coordinator Mike Sanford comes from Utah State, where the Aggies finished 44th in the country in total offense and 63rd in scoring last season.

The Gophers had a bit of an inconsistent defense last season, but will have the benefit opening this year against a Wolverines’ offense that is breaking in so many new players – including quarterback Joe Milton. Minnesota was fourth in the country in time of possession last season, and both teams have a lot to find out about themselves in this one.

If Morgan can keep the offense on schedule as he did last season, the Gophers should be able to grind out the win by at least a field goal.

One for the Road

Penn State is the second-highest ranked team in the conference, but in the same division as Ohio State. The Nittany Lions open up on the road against Indiana, who under head coach Tom Allen, is 0-3 against Penn State but 2-1 ATS. Penn State head coach James Franklin is 13-6 ATS on the road since 2016.

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will likely have a few moments in this game to keep things interesting, but Franklin will also be looking to make as big of a statement as possible to start the season. Penn State has done well to come out of the gates quickly in recent years, and should do so again here as 7-point favorites.

Author Image