All offseason we’ve been focusing on conference realignments in college football, particularly in the Big Ten where the conference made headlines by announcing that UCLA and USC would be joining in the future.
However, with the season a little over three weeks away, it’s time to turn our attention to actual games and results on the field for the 2022 season.
Below we’ll look at each team’s odds to win the conference and discuss some of the best bets to win the division and on the team totals for certain schools. As always, if you find the rationale for our picks convincing, use our sportsbook sign-up deals to earn more money on your best.
Big Ten Title Odds
|School||Odds to win Big Ten|
Big Ten Title Predictions:
Favorite: Ohio State (-215)
The Buckeyes return 14 starters from an 11-2 team that led the country in offensive yards per play and should be incredibly hard to stop in 2022 as well. They will be led by Heisman frontrunner C.J. Stroud and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, also a Heisman contender, and will likely be a heavy favorite in every game they play.
However, their defense allowed 22.8 ppg last season which was eighth in Big Ten. Their weakness there was on full display in a 42-27 loss to Michigan in their last regular season game. Ohio State will also get games against both Wisconsin and Iowa from the Big Ten West, which will pose some potential threats, but the Buckeyes remain the most likely team to win the Big Ten.
Pivot Bet: Michigan (+700)
We just mentioned that Michigan beat Ohio State convincingly last year, so why aren’t people talking about the Wolverines as a legitimate Big Ten title contender? Michigan’s only regular season loss was a 37-33 game against Michigan State, in which the Wolverines led by 16 and had an advantage in yardage 552-395.
Michigan will return 13 starters from a team that was balanced on both sides of the ball, ranking second in the conference in scoring offense at 35.8 ppg and fourth in scoring defense with 17.4 ppg allowed. However, the team will also have new coordinators on both sides of the ball, which is a bit of a question mark around the beginning of the season. Still, given these odds and the team’s performance last year, this isn’t a bad bet to make and actually hits our prediction that Michigan will win the Big Ten.
Other Big Ten Predictions:
Best Bet: Michigan over 9.5 wins (-110)
We just covered this above, but if we think that Michigan will win the Big Ten, then betting them to win at least 10 games would also seem like a good bet to make. The odds aren’t incredible for a future since you’d need to bet $110 to win $100, but it’s still within the sweet spot since we typically don’t recommend anything over (-150) odds.
Best Bet: Rutgers under 4.5 wins (-130)
Sadly, it might be another long year for Rutgers football fans. This offense simply doesn’t inspire any confidence as the Scarlet Knights finished in bottom-five in both Passing Success Rate and third down conversation rate in 2021. If you can’t pass the ball or sustain drives, it’s hard to win games. Rutgers also faces a particularly tough schedule, and there only really winnable games are non-conference games against Temple, Boston College, and Wagner and Big Ten showdowns against Maryland and Indiana. I just can’t see them taking all five of those games, which is going to make it near impossible for them to beat this total.
Best Bet: Illinois under 4.5 wins (-105)
Illinois had a successful season last year, so an under bet might be a surprise, but almost half of the team is gone and turning the offense over to Syracuse transfer quarterback Tommy DeVito doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Especially since the offense had one of the worst Passing Success Rates and finish rates, meaning they couldn’t move the ball through the air or finish drives in opponents’ territory.
Illinois is currently only favored in two games on their schedule, and are double-digit underdogs in most of the others, so it’s hard to project wins there. Games against Indiana, Virginia, and Northwestern are the only other spots where Illinois is a small underdog, so they would need to win all three of those plus the games they’re favored just to cover their bet. We’ll say that they don’t.
Best Bet: Nebraska to win Big Ten West (+380)
We covered our belief that Michigan is going to win the Big Ten East and the Big Ten overall, but somebody has to win the Big Ten West. We’re going to go against the favorite – Wisconsin – and suggest that Nebraska is actually going to take the West this year.
Nebraska will be comfortable favorites in seven games, so this prediction will come down to the final two against Wisconsin and Iowa. While Nebraska will likely be considered an underdog in those games, we’re bullish on an improvement with the offense under new coordinator Mark Whipple who was known for running an uptempo offense while at the University of Pittsburgh.
We expect him to get solid production out of Texas transfer quarterback Casey Thompson who threw for 2,113 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year. He also added four touchdowns on the ground and could be a nice offensive piece for Whipple, but this bet on Nebraska is as much a sign of little faith in Wisconsin and Iowa as it is a sign of confidence in Nebraska itself.