The Big Ten is shaping up to be a little more interesting after Michigan became the fourth winner of the conference since the move to the East and West divisions. Ohio State is getting the early attention as always, but four teams appear in the preseason version of the AP Poll, so it should be another competitive season from the top down.
Vegas has released win totals for all 14 teams, and there is certainly an opportunity to turn a profit when it comes to looking at the upcoming season across the Big Ten. As the Wolverines showed last year, things can change drastically from August to December, and numbers right now really only mean so much.
Take a look at the projected conference wins across the Big Ten (reminder: all teams play nine conference games). All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Hit the over!
- Michigan State: Over 4.5 -205
- Minnesota: Over 4.5 -135
- Purdue: Over 4.5 -160
A trio of squads have all win totals set right in the middle at 4.5 conference wins. The strongest of the bunch is Michigan Sate, who went 7-2 last season. The Ohio State-Wisconsin-Michigan stretch is tough, but even going 0-3 there would not make five wins impossible.
Meanwhile, both Minnesota and Purdue both notched six conference wins last season and come into the year with similar expectations. Tanner Morgan and Aidan O’Connell have tangible experience and should be able to propel their squads towards the top of the West division again. Maybe neither makes the championship game, but five or six wins is definitely possible.
Take that under
- Ohio State: Under 8.5 -155
- Wisconsin: Under 6.5 -210
- Nebraska: Under 5.5 +140
- Indiana: Under 2.5 +100
- Rutgers: Under 2.5 -215
Ohio State looks terrifying as always, but 9-0 is simply too risky of a bet in general. Even the best teams in the conference are prone to drop the occasional game, and the smart money is planning on a slip up at some point. Plus, it never feels too bad to think about the Buckeyes dropping a game or two.
Wisconsin and Nebraska are going to move in opposite directions. The Badgers are strong again, but improving on last year’s 6-3 record is not a light task, especially with crossovers against Ohio State, Michigan State, and pesky Maryland. And despite a comical number of one-score losses last season, it just feels so unlikely that Nebraska goes from 1-8 and 6-3 (or better), even with some regression to the mean.
Feel free to believe in Indiana or Rutgers at the bottom of the East, but neither was good last year and both continue to face an uphill climb in the division. Maryland is certainly the most exciting of that modest trio, and finding three wins on either teams’ schedule is a fairly difficult task.
Not really worth it
- Michigan: Over 6.5 -160, Under 6.5 +130
- Iowa: Over 5.5 +160, Under 5.5 -195
- Penn State: Over 5.5 -195, Under 5.5 +160
- Maryland: Over 3.5 +100, Under 3.5 -130
- Illinois: Over 2.5 -115, Under 2.5 -115
- Northwestern: Over 1.5 -120, Under 1.5 -110
Surely there are some bets among the final group of teams that are interesting, but none of these options really jump off the page. Both Michigan and Iowa are expected to take a step back after Big Ten Championship Game appearances, and it would not be crazy to see either team dropping a couple of their one-score conquests from 2021.
Meanwhile, Penn State is on the rise after a couple mediocre seasons in Happy Valley, and an overall decent crossover schedule of Minnesota, Purdue, and Northwestern (with neither Iowa nor Wisconsin) makes the path to six wins possible, but not a sure thing by any means.
The bottom of the list is anyone’s guess. Maryland has some flashy pieces, but still plays in the East. Illinois won four games last season, but no one is really expecting that to happen again. And of course there is poor Northwestern, who has a lower projected win total than even Rutgers, despite 2022 being an even year.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.