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Betting B1G: Everything comes down to Ohio State-Michigan

urban meyer-jim harbaugh
Urban Meyer is 3-0 vs. Jim Harbaugh. (Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports)

Lettermen Row

Betting B1G: Everything comes down to Ohio State-Michigan

Well, folks, it’s finally here. We’ve reached the last week of the 2018 college football regular season. I’m going to need a minute.

If you’ve followed me along all year, well, I’m sorry. If you’ve sided with Austin then you probably have a bit more cash in your pocket. You can thank him later.

I will not go down without a fight, however, and I will battle back this week to get my record on the season thismuch closer to the .500 mark. I’m feeling a 6-0 week this week. I might even guarantee it. See what I did there?

Earning some money will surely make your post-Thanksgiving hangover go away a little quicker, so let’s jump right in.

All lines via Bovada as of Monday evening.

Purdue at Indiana

When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, Ind.)
Line: Purdue -4

The Pick: The Bowl Eligible Bowl, baby! Catch the fever!

To be honest, we struggled to come up with a full slate of games this week. Outside of the heavy hitters, there just isn’t much there. This is fun, though. It’s Indiana and Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket (and for bowl eligibility).

Indiana has controlled the series of late with four wins in the last five years. But Purdue has the most recent victory, and I think the Boilers have the better team here. I like Purdue’s ability to create explosive plays, so I’ll take the Boilermakers minus the points.

No. 3 Notre Dame at USC

When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Collesium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Line: Notre Dame -10.5

The Pick: I’ve picked against Notre Dame all year and they’ve proven me wrong. What’s one more time?

I kid, of course. Not even I’m dumb enough to pick USC. The Irish have earned it, and they’ll earn their way to the Playoff with a comfortable win in this rivalry game.

No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 13 West Virginia

When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Mountaineer Field (Morgantown, W. Va.)
Line: Pick ‘em

The Pick: Ohio State fans should be rooting hard here for the Mountaineers. It may be a little farfetched, but the Buckeyes can still make the Playoff if they win out and a couple teams in front of them lose games.

WVU suffered a tough road loss last week but still has a Big 12 Championship Game berth to play for. Now with two losses, the Mountaineers can’t go to the CFP but they can play for a conference title with a win.

Oklahoma has dominated this series winning six straight over WVU. It feels like we haven’t quite had the chaos we normally do in college football. That may change this weekend. The Mountaineers win a wild and wonderful Friday night banger.

No. 16 Washington at No. 7 Washington State

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Martin Stadium (Pullman, Wash.)
Line: Washington State -3.5

The Pick: Another game Friday night of big interest for Ohio State fans. A loss by Washington State would certainly aid the Buckeyes heading into Saturday’s showdown against Michigan.

The Huskies are a bit of a disappointment this season, but still have a good team. They’ve also got a bit of a psychological edge with five-straight wins in this series — most of which have not been close.

Washington is just 2-9 this year against the spread while Washington State is 10-1. You have to go against those trends to pick the Huskies, and that’s what I’m going to do. I like the road team to win outright here.

Auburn at No. 1 Alabama

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala..)
Line: Alabama -24.5

The Pick: This is a big spread for Alabama in a rivalry game. That doesn’t scare me, though. The Tide rolls on to the SEC title game unblemished with another big victory.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State

When: noon Saturday
Where: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Line: Michigan -4

The Pick: The Game has finally arrived. We’ve had this one circled for quite some time, as it became apparent these two teams are the best in the Big Ten.

I’ve tried to look for reasons to pick Ohio State in this game. I know Urban Meyer hasn’t lost to Michigan and Jim Harbaugh hasn’t beaten Ohio State. I know the Buckeyes have won six straight in this rivalry and 13 out of the last 14. But as far as actual, on-the-field reasons for this year’s game, I am struggling.

Ohio State just hasn’t been consistent enough for me to pick. I thought things would eventually click, and I really thought the Buckeyes has made some decent steps forward the last couple of weeks. And then the Maryland game happened.

Michigan, to me, has just been the more consistent team all season. And if you’re making me pick this game I’m going to take the more consistent team. To be sure, I expect a close game, but this feels like the year Harbaugh finally breaks through. Michigan 28, Ohio State 23.

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Tim Shoemaker

Tim Shoemaker is a former sports writer at the Ashland Times-Gazette and Eleven Warriors, where he covered Ohio State football since 2014. He is a current digital marketing professional in Columbus, Ohio.

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