Record to date: 12-12, $1,129

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

Purdue -4.5

I did a lot of deliberating before I made this pick. But I guess that’s what the line is supposed to make you do — think twice.

Iowa picked up a big win against Northwestern last week. Obviously, beating a now-1-7 team isn’t a huge achievement. But for the Hawkeyes, that win wasn’t about proving they can beat the Wildcats. Rather, Iowa got a chance to show that its offense isn’t totally broken.

Had Iowa’s offense struggled against a Northwestern defense that now ranks 94th in the country, there would’ve been cause for major concern. But the Hawkeyes showed that they’re not entirely inept offensively, racking up 33 points and 398 total yards.

Quarterback Spencer Petras even connected on 21 of his 30 pass attempts for 220 yards and a touchdown.

Iowa put up its best offensive performance of the year by far against Northwestern. The game even helped the Hawkeyes creep out of last place in the country in total offense.

Iowa certainly gave its fans a much-needed dose of hope last week. But bettors shouldn’t be comforted by Iowa’s offense being ranked 129th in the nation instead of 131st.

Purdue’s defense is rated 43rd nationally. So, I expect the Hawkeyes’ offense to stall on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz may have used up all his magic against Northwestern last week.

So, I like Purdue plus the points this week. When Iowa’s offense stalls, it won’t be able to keep up with Purdue’s explosive attack.

Over 42

I haven’t had much success picking Iowa totals over the last two weeks. I claimed the Hawkeyes’ last two unders were sure bets. Both of them didn’t hit.

So, this week, I’m changing my strategy. I’m not doing anything differently in a scientific or mathematical way. Rather, I’m choosing to believe in jinxes, hoaxes, and superstitions.

Purdue has hit six overs and two unders this season. Iowa unders are currently 5-3.

So, I’m going to take the Purdue over this week. I know the Iowa and Purdue overs are the same thing this week, but I’m putting it this way for superstition’s sake.

Iowa’s defense has been solid all season. It is rated fifth in the country, surrendering about 266 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game.

The Hawkeyes’ stout defense has been a thorn in over bettors’ sides all season — excluding the last two weeks. This weekend, I think Iowa over bettors will get what they want for the third week in a row.

Purdue’s offense and passing attack are ranked 32nd and 13th, respectively. The Boilermakers have averaged 309.8 passing and 402.4 total yards in their last five games with the Hawkeyes. During that stretch, Purdue has outscored Iowa 130-104.

Because Purdue’s offense has looked so dominant this season and has proven to be the Hawkeye defense’s kryptonite in the past, I like the over this week. The Boilermakers may put up 42 points on their own.

Lock of the week: Michigan State +17.5 vs. Illinois

I’ll probably receive a lot of hate for this pick, but a lock’s a lock. Illinois is the best team in the Big Ten West, and Michigan State might be the worst in the East.

But none of that means Illinois’ offense is high-powered enough to cover a 17.5-point spread. The Fighting Illini have outscored one of their Big Ten opponents by more than 18 points. Illinois beat Wisconsin, 34-10, on Oct. 1.

Michigan State beat Wisconsin, 34-28, on Oct. 15. So, I’m pretty confident the Spartans can cover this spread — even if they’ll be the away team at Memorial Stadium in Champaign this weekend.