The Michigan Wolverines are returning a lot of talent from last year’s Big Ten title winning offense, and have a lot of young talent on defense as well. That alone should have fans feeling confident for what’s to come in 2022.
There’s something else that should build some confidence as well: the schedule. We all know how favorable Michigan’s schedule is this year. The Wolverines play eight home games and only play two teams that are ranked in the preseason AP top-25.
The schedule works out nicely, and the Vegas win totals for those opponents backs up the favorable schedule narrative. Let’s take a look at all the set win totals for the Wolverines’ opponents in 2022.
(All totals via DraftKings):
Colorado State: 5.5
DraftKings projects Colorado State to have a better year than in 2021. The Rams won just three games last season, so they need to double that to hit their over this season.
This team is certainly going to look different than last year’s. Jay Norvell is the new head coach, coming over from Nevada, and he brought a decent amount of his players from the Wolfpack, too. One of those players being starting quarterback Clay Millen.
Norvell always had pass-first attacks at Nevada, while Colorado State ran the ball a lot a year ago, so expect a scheme change on offense.
Of the projected starters for the Rams, 19 of them are upperclassmen, so they’re an experienced sqaud. They should take a step forward this year.
Hawaii won six games last season, so Vegas projects a step back for the Rainbow Warriors. This is also the preseason total and Hawaii has now played its first game, a 63-10 loss at home to a horrid Vanderbilt team.
One thing that does favor Hawaii reaching the over is the fact that it has 13 games. Even with that extra shot, it’s going to be tough for this team to win five games.
UConn is a very bad football team. The Huskies won one game a year ago, so two wins would be slight improvement, but that’s still a long shot for this program.
UConn does now have Jim Mora as its head coach, and I think the Huskies are going to get better under his coaching, but it’s going to take awhile. A three-win season would be huge for UConn.
The Terrapins’ total is set right where they were last year, as they finished the regular season 6-6. The Terps could be a sneaky good team this year, however. Taulia Tagovailoa is a very talented quarterback and he’s going to have a lot of weapons to work with.
The schedule sets up nicely for Maryland, too, and shouldn’t have much trouble with the first three games: Buffalo, Charlotte and SMU, all at home. They should be 3-0 when they come to Ann Arbor.
Iowa won 10 games in the regular season last year and play in one of the more not-so-tough divisions in college football. I was a bit surprised to see the total at 7.5.
I don’t think the Hawkeyes will be as good as they were last year, but the schedule lines up nicely. With the exception of at Ohio State, all their toughest games come at home. I think the total should be a tad higher.
Indiana is a tough team to figure out. The Hoosiers were always right on the cusp of being a good team but usually ended up in the 5-7 win range. Then, in 2020, they finally got over the hump. Then last year happened — two wins and 0-9 in the Big Ten.
I think Indiana will be a little better this year, but it’s very hard to tell.
Penn State: 8.5
Penn State is another tough team to figure out. A blocked kick against Ohio State in 2016 seemed to change the trajectory of the program, but the last couple years have been tough for the Nittany Lions.
Last year they started off the season 5-0 before limping down the stretch and finishing 2-5 to end with a 7-5 record. I think the total is set perfectly for the Nittany Lions, as I have them finishing with eight or nine wins.
Michigan State: 7.5
A lot of people expect the Spartans to take a step back after a surprising 10-win regular season in 2021. A big reason for this is the loss of running back Kenneth Walker. Still, the Spartans return quarterback Payton Thorne and a very talented receiving group.
And some quick betting advice for Michigan fans: take their over. If it hits, you get money. If it doesn’t, they won seven games or less and it’s funny.
Rutgers has shown a lot of improvement since Greg Schiano has taken over. The Scarlet Knights started 4-0 last year, and despite going 1-7 after that they are better than the team Michigan beat 78-0 in 2016. They also made a bowl game last year — I don’t care if it was because the team that was supposed to play had a Covid issue, that’s huge for Rutgers.
They gave the Wolverines a real scare last year as well, and I expect them to keep improving.
It doesn’t get weirder than the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The best 3-9 team in history. The offseason national champs. And the team that just lost to Northwestern after beating them by 49 last year.
A lot of people, myself included I’ll sadly admit, thought this was the year Nebraska takes the leap under Scott Frost. Obviously a 7.5 win total isn’t a lot but after going 3-9 a year ago, it’s still a big leap. However, the Huskers looked like the same old Huskers last weekend in that loss to Northwestern. You never know, it could be the every other year Wildcat spell and Northwestern is actually good, but that’s likely not the case.
Still, there’s a lot of season left, but it is a horrific start for Nebraska.
Illinois had a decent year under first year head coach Bret Bielema, going 5-7 and pulling off a big upset on the road against Penn State. Bielema could have the Illini trending in the right direction. We’ll find out a lot this year.
Illinois has also played a game already, beating Wyoming handily, 38-6. A good start for hitting the over.
Ohio State: 10.5
Lastly, we have the Buckeyes, the only opponent Michigan plays this year with a double-digit win total. The interesting thing about the Buckeyes’ win total is they are -270 to hit their over and +215 for the under. Every other team is right around -110 for both the over and under, so Vegas is expecting them to get at least 11 wins.
The schedule certainly lines up nicely for Michigan, and it especially lines up nicely for the Wolverines to hit their win total over, which is 9.5.
The most popular college football team total bet this preseason on DraftKings? Michigan over 9.5 wins. Are you taking the over?