Will Another Team Crash the Party in 2023?
Not every team goes into the season with the same goals. In the Big Ten, Michigan and Ohio State look to live up to the college football predictions by securing spots in the four-team NCAA Football Playoff field. Teams like Penn State and Wisconsin would love to end the title aspirations of the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
Most of the teams in the conference will be setting their sights on becoming bowl eligible.
With Oregon, Southern California, UCLA and Washington joining the Big Ten in 2024, this is the final run for the Big Ten before a different era gets underway.
The season begins on Aug. 31 when Minnesota will be listed by the sportsbook at a 7½-point favorite against visiting Nebraska.
In the odds to win the national title, Ohio State (+700) is third behind Georgia and Alabama with Michigan fourth at +900. The NCAA football odds have Penn State at +2500 in the championship odds and Wisconsin at +7000.
Teams To Beat
Yet again, the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes figure to be the cream of the crop in the Big Ten.
When it comes to the college football odds, Ohio State is just ahead of its conference rivals. The Buckeyes are third at +700 and Michigan is fourth in the national championship odds.
The Big Ten championship odds also has Ohio State in the lead. The Buckeyes lead the way at +160 followed by Michigan at +180.
In the star-studded Big Ten East Division odds, the Buckeyes (+110) edge the Wolverines (+120) for the top spot.
Michigan is the favorite according to the voters on the two national polls with the Wolverines second in both the Associated Press and coaches’ polls. Ohio State is third in the AP rankings and fourth according to the coaches.
Both the Wolverines and Buckeyes are expected to make a run at another double-digit win season.
Michigan is priced at -130 to go over 10½ regular-season wins with even odds to go under. Ohio State is at -110 to go over 10½ wins and -120 to go under.
Don’t be surprised to see both of them to land over that number.
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Ready To Spoil the Party?
Penn State has the misfortune of being in the same division with two of the top title contenders every year.
Is this the season when Penn State finally figures out a way to top both Michigan and Ohio State?
The expected win total is set at 9½ with the Nittany Lions at -145 to go over that total compared to +115 to finish under that total.
That basically means that barring a win against Michigan or Ohio State, Penn State would need to run the table to hit that mark and that could certainly happen.
With a new coach (Luke Fickell) and a different offensive system, it is hard to know what to expect from Wisconsin. Perhaps that is why the number is set at -145 to go over 8½ wins.
With the exception of the showdown with Ohio State, Wisconsin figures to be favored in every game during the regular season.
It is a familiar refrain for Iowa. If the offense can be even average, the Hawkeyes could be in the Big Ten title game.
The defense should be good once again. Will that be enough for the Hawkeyes to go over the expected total of eight regular-season wins?
Middle of the Road
Maryland (even odds to surpass 7½ wins), Minnesota (-130 odds to go under seven wins), Illinois (-120 to go over 6½ wins), Michigan State (-160 to finish under 5½ wins), Nebraska (-140 to top six wins) and Purdue (-160 to go under 5½ wins) are teams that might have a hard time landing a spot in the Big Ten title game. However, securing a bowl spot is a definite possibility.
Michigan State might be the best option to go over 5½ wins, especially with a +130 payout to do just that.
Better Luck Next Year
Rutgers, Northwestern and Indiana will be underdogs in most of the games.
Indiana isn’t far removed from being a Big Ten contender. Can the Hoosiers become relevant again?
Northwestern is in the middle of a mess created by hazing allegations that led to the removal of veteran head coach Pat Fitzgerald and the filing of lawsuits.
Rutgers is, well Rutgers.