The Big Ten is used to having a deep conference, but things will look different in the upcoming season. Ohio State made it to the national championship last year, but they’ll have to replace their first-round quarterback. Northwestern needs to live up to the hype, and Michigan needs to save its legacy.
From Penn State to Nebraska, the Big Ten is filled with question marks across the board. Who will manage to overcome their shortcomings? Who will fail to live up to the standard? Here are predictions for who will hit the over and under on win totals this season according to top betting sites.
Illinois: Over 3.5 (-150)
Illinois has a tough schedule in the conference, but they should get at least two wins outside of the Big Ten. Three isn’t out of the question. They essentially need one win in the conference, and they can avoid the toughest teams in the Big Ten. We’ll have a better idea of how strong this team is after they play Nebraska, but one or two wins in the conference should be enough to hit the over.
Indiana: Under Eight Wins (-150)
Indiana exceeded expectations last year, but they caught lightning in a bottle during an unprecedented year. Michael Penix Jr. is a solid quarterback, but a 9-3 record seems farfetched. Outside of the top few teams, this conference is full of quality teams with a chance to win any week. It’s hard to rise above that level, and I don’t see the Hoosiers pulling that off.
Iowa: Under 8.5 Wins (-125)
Iowa has a high floor, but the ceiling is low. They rely on grit and toughness, and that can only go so far in the Big Ten. While the Hawkeyes avoid playing Michigan and OSU, they still have to play Iowa State outside of the conference. Wisconsin, Northwestern and Penn State will also be tough challenges. Iowa will win a solid number of games, but don’t expect greatness from this roster.
Maryland: Over Six Wins (-105)
The Terrapins have a rough schedule, but they have a few things going for them. First and foremost, Taulia Tagovailoa has what it takes to be one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten. Also, Mike Locksley is a quality play-caller for Maryland.
Maryland lacks consistency, but expect more from Tagovailoa in his second year with the team. He can win with his arm or his legs, and he’ll keep Maryland in the middle of the pack. If he can reach the next level, Maryland should easily make it to a bowl game in 2022.
Michigan: Over 7.5 Wins (-135)
Michigan has struggled in recent years, and they have question marks with this roster. They don’t have a proven answer at quarterback, and Harbaugh hasn’t proven that he can elevate talent on the roster in the Big Ten.
However, the Wolverines have enough returning players to have some consistency. Even if they have one or two upsetting losses, they can make it through their schedule with 8 wins. It’s not a guarantee, but the value is better on the over side.
Michigan State: Under 4.5 Wins (+110)
This is strictly a value play. There is no value with over 4.5 wins. Even with some easy wins on the roster, some of their must-win games are on the road. The Spartans have question marks across the board, and there isn’t much to be excited about this year.
Even if Michigan State can exceed expectations, reaching a bowl game is a stretch. 4-8 is feasible, and the value dictates that prediction.
Minnesota: Over Seven Wins (-115)
7-5 feels right for the Golden Gophers, but I think Minnesota will right the ship this year. They have a proven coach, and they can win with toughness. They could be a darkhorse candidate to win their division, but a lot of things will have to go right.
Expect Minnesota to be rowing the boat to above seven wins this season.
Nebraska: Under Six Wins (+100)
This is another value play. Nebraska has a good shot of winning at least seven games with this schedule, but the value dictates the under.
For Scott Frost, it’s time to put up or shut up. He has yet to live up to the hype since leaving UCF, and he needs to maximize Adrian Martinez’s talent. There was a time where Martinez was a Heisman contender, but that seems like decades ago.
Northwestern: Over Six Wins (-125)
The Wildcats skyrocketed up the standings last season, and it’s unreasonable to expect another insane year from them in 2022. Still, they deserve the benefit of the doubt at this point. They have an underrated coach with a proven roster. Northwestern doesn’t recruit many five-star players, but they can turn B’s into A’s.
I don’t see Northwestern going from conference contenders to missing a bowl game in one offseason. They are too well-coached to see that happen.
Ohio State: Over 11 Wins (-120)
This is tough. OSU has a surprisingly tough schedule and an unproven starting quarterback. Still, it’s more likely to win every game than it is to lose two in the regular season.
The Buckeyes are bringing in an elite recruiting class, and they will have the best wide receiving corps in the country. They have another elite pass-rusher, and the rest of the defense should be solid despite some big losses. As long as OSU can beat Oregon, they should make it back to the CFP.
Penn State: Under Nine Wins (-130)
Regardless of COVID, Penn State has no excuses for an abysmal 2020 season. Even with a reasonable schedule, there are too many ways to argue against the Nittany Lions bouncing back. They lack an explosive offense, and they can’t expect much to change in just one offseason.
Purdue: Under Five Wins (-105)
This is another value prediction. Purdue’s offense struggled without Rondale Moore, and they will lack a true answer to how to replace him this season. Even with a semistrong defense, the Boilermakers will be near the bottom of the standings in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin: Over 9.5 Wins (-115)
The Badgers are my pick to make it to the Big Ten Championship against OSU. You know they’ll win the trenches, and they should have a solid play at quarterback this season. Most of their key games are at home, and they avoided playing Ohio State this season.
The non-conference games against Army and Notre Dame scare me, but Wisconsin should still be a fundamentally sound team, and 10 wins are well within the realm of possibility.