Over/Under Win Totals - Big Ten

Over under win totals for college football usually come out in early August for Las Vegas casinos, sometimes earlier for off-shore casinos. The win totals act as a starting basis for a team’s success – a stock market indicator if you will. The win totals are adjusted accordingly based on action, but the odds moving before the win totals do.

If you aren’t familiar with how over under win totals work, check out an article I wrote a while back, which can be found here.

Note that the win totals only factor in regular season wins, not the conference title games and not the bowl games.

Below are the projected win totals for each Big Ten team. Note that some teams are not available, largely due to a lack of betting interest. Even teams on probation can have bets on their win totals.

(1) Illinois Fighting Illini – 6.5 (over -125)

Projected Wins (7): Western Michigan, Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech, Penn State*, Indiana*, Minnesota*, Purdue*

Projected Losses (5): @ Arizona State, @ Wisconsin*, @ Michigan*, @ Ohio State*, @ Northwestern*

The Illini have a great shot at hitting the over, but a couple of games I have as projected wins give me cause for concern (Western Michigan and Purdue). Additionally, the Illini have potential winnable games against Arizona State and Northwestern.

Verdict: I’m on the fence regarding Illinois. They could be the third best team in the Leaders Division. Then again, this team collapsed down the stretch last season. Ultimately, I would probably stay away from this bet, but if you forced me to make a choice, take the over.

(2) Indiana Hoosiers – no action


(3) Iowa Hawkeyes – 7.5 (-115)

Projected Wins (9): Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Central Michigan, Minnesota*, Penn State*, @ Northwestern*, @ Indiana*, Purdue*

Projected Losses (3): @ Michigan State*, @ Michigan*, Nebraska*

This seems like an absolute steal. I’m really wondering why more people are taking the under, which does give me a cause for concern. Assume Iowa picks up all four non-conference games, they only need four conference games to hit the over. While Iowa has struggled with the Gophers on the road, they get Minnesota at home. They also play Indiana and Purdue, which should make three wins. All they have to do is beat Penn State OR Northwestern to hit the over.

Verdict: I’m all in on the over, here. Iowa’s non-conference schedule is weak. They have a great shot at going undefeated at home (Nebraska could be a loss). The away schedule is mixed. Still, over 7.5 wins seems pretty easy to reach. Note that up until a couple days ago, this total was going under.


(4) Michigan Wolverines – 9 (under -190)

Projected Wins (9): Air Force, Massachusetts, @ Notre Dame, @ Purdue*, Illinois*, Michigan State*, @ Minnesota*, Northwestern*, Iowa*

Projected Losses (3): Alabama, @ Nebraska*, @ Ohio State*

Michigan has one of the tougher non-conference schedules in the Big Ten. They also face Nebraska and Ohio State on the road. Two of last year’s losses came on the road – Michigan State and Iowa – but those games are now at home.

Verdict: This is one of those bets where the whole number is huge. Keep in mind in order to win the over, Michigan needs at least 10 wins. 9 wins is a push. I’ve got four games circled as possible losses – Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Michigan State could easily be included in there. I don’t see Michigan losing each one of those, but at least two losses, if not three is likely. For that reason, I’d take the under; this simply isn’t a strong play, though.


(5) Michigan State Spartans – 8.5 (o -135)

Projected Wins (9): Boise State, @ Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, @ Indiana*, Iowa*, Nebraska*, Northwestern*, @ Minnesota*

Projected Losses (3): Ohio State*, @ Michigan*, @ Wisconsin*

The Spartans have to replace a record setting quarterback and a top wide receiver, but still have a great shot at making the Big Ten Championship game. I have Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State as toss ups. Michigan State has a great chance of winning each of those, as well as against Michigan.

Verdict: Worst case scenario would have the Spartans at seven wins. The home team has had the upper hand in the Notre Dame series, as in the Wisconsin series. I like a small play on the Spartans to hit the over, as the schedule is pretty forgiving. Yes there are a couple of tough road games, but Michigan State should at least split on the road and do well at home.


(6) Minnesota Golden Gophers – no action


(7) Nebraska Cornhuskers – 8.5 (o -150)

Projected Wins (9): Southern Miss, @ UCLA, Arkansas State, Idaho State, Wisconsin*, @ Northwestern*, Michigan*, Penn State*, Minnesota*, @ Iowa*

Projected Losses (3): @ Ohio State*, @ Michigan State*

Nebraska draws Ohio State and Michigan State on the road which could be a pair of losses. Of the remaining ten games, they need to win 9 to hit the over. Essentially, the Cornhuskers need to beat Wisconsin OR Michigan at home.

Verdict: My initial thought was to take the over here. I feel like Nebraska is a much-improved team from last year. That said, I feel more confident in Nebraska beating Wisconsin than Michigan. My confidence simply isn’t that high in either of those games. I like a small play on the over here, but keep in mind the road schedule is tough.


(8) Northwestern Wildcats – no action


(9) Ohio State Buckeyes – 9.5 (u -140)

Projected Wins (11): Miami (OH), UCF, California, UAB, @ Michigan State*, Nebraska*, @ Indiana*, Purdue*, @ Penn State*, Illinois*, Michigan*

Projected Losses (1): @ Wisconsin*

Ohio State should roll through the non-conference schedule unscathed – UCF and California present the best chances for losses. Michigan State, Nebraska, and Michigan could be in the loss column.

Verdict: Up until a couple days ago, this was at 9 wins, with the over trending. Since then, Vegas has adjusted the win total, with the majority of bets coming on the under side now. Its clear the money is somewhere between 9 and 10 wins, just a matter of where. Like Michigan, Ohio State has to get to ten wins for the over to be a winner. As of now, I have Wisconsin as a loss. Ohio State can only afford one more loss if you bet the over. The chances that Michigan State, Nebraska, and Michigan combine to create one more loss is pretty high, but the chances that they create two? The Buckeyes are better, but the passing game could still be a concern. I’d stay away from this one.


(10) Penn State Nittany Lions – 5.5 (o -155)

Projected Wins (5): @ Virginia, Navy, Temple, Northwestern*, Indiana*

Projected Losses (7): Ohio University, @ Illinois*, @ Iowa*, Ohio State*, @ Purdue*, @ Nebraska*, Wisconsin*

Penn State’s non-conference schedule is littered with potential losses – only Temple feels like a lock. In conference play, I like the Nittany Lions to beat Indiana and possibly Northwestern. Ohio State and Wisconsin seem like losses.

Verdict: This is interesting. Up until a couple days ago, many were taking under 5.5 wins. Now, for some reason, the money has switched to the over. I think there was a bit of an overreaction when the transfers occurred (see Penn State going from a 15 point favorite over Ohio University to a 6 point favorite), but that may have stabilized. I think the best case scenario for Penn State is eight wins – and that’s overly optimistic. Worst case scenario is four wins. I simply don’t Penn State avoiding a losing record this year. Go against the masses and bet the under.


(11) Purdue Boilermakers – no action


(12) Wisconsin Badgers – 9.5 (o -125)

Projected Wins (11): Northern Iowa, @ Oregon State, Utah State, UTEP, Illinois*, @ Purdue*, Minnesota*, Michigan State*, @ Indiana*, Ohio State*, @ Penn State*

Projected Losses (1): @ Nebraska*

Penn State’s non-conference schedule is littered with potential losses – only Temple feels like a lock. In conference play, I like the Nittany Lions to beat Indiana and possibly Northwestern. Ohio State and Wisconsin seem like losses.

Verdict: The money switched from the under to the over in recent days. Wisconsin’s schedule, especially the non-conference schedule is favorable. As I mentioned before, it will be interesting to see if Wisconsin is undefeated rolling into the Ohio State game on November 17th. Penn State is the week after. If Wisconsin has at least one loss, they may rest players as they would likely be out of the national title discussion. Even if they are undefeated, the last two won’t matter – for the over/under bet, at least. I think Wisconsin probably still beats Penn State even if they rest players. Bet the over.


What are your thoughts on the over under win totals for Big Ten teams? Tweet to us @BVTSB.

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