Betting the Big Ten

Click on a team for their full betting preview and suggested picks

1. Ohio State (45% Div WP, 30% Conf WP)
Win Division (-105), Win Conference (+183)
Urban Meyer is 49-4 in conference play at Ohio State, but the Buckeyes only have 2 conference title in his 6 seasons. They are the favorite to win the conference this year but the futures market doesn’t offer a good price on the Buckeyes.

2. Michigan (16% Div WP, 9% Conf WP)
Win Division (+335), Win Conference (+485)
When Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh there was an expectation of instant success. Entering his fourth season, Harbaugh has yet to make it to the Big 10 title game. This could be the year for Harbaugh, but Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State are all looking good as well.

3. Michigan State (16% Div WP, 8% Conf WP)
Win Division (+555), Win Conference (+1000)
Sparty had a bounce back season last year going 9-3 in the regular season. With 19 starters back and Dantonio still at the helm, this team could find themselves champions of the Big 10. A stacked division makes this difficult, but expect Michigan State to impress this season.

4. Penn State (22% Div WP, 13% Conf WP)
Win Division (+390), Win Conference (+845)
While Saquon Barkley has departed for the NFL this team still has a ton of talent. A young defense will be tested but if Franklin’s defense can come together the Nittany Lions will be a threat to win the conference.

5. Maryland (1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+7500), Win Conference (+25000)
While there is a ton of controversy surrounding the Maryland football program there is one thing we know for sure; this team has talent. Durkin has brought in some of the highest rated recruiting classes in Maryland’s history, but they still aren’t as talented as the other teams in the division and will not be contending for the Big 10 crown.

6. Indiana (<1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+7500), Win Conference (+25000)
The Big 10 East is top heavy and Indiana is not at the top. With Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State in their division, our model gives the Hoosiers less than a 1 percent chance of winning the division. Tom Allen will focus on trying to get this team to a bowl, not a conference championship game.

7. Rutgers (<1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+20000), Win Conference (+80000)
How does it feel to be a bad team in the toughest division in college football? Just ask Rutgers head coach Chris Ash. After being blanked in conference play in 2016 Rutgers did win three conference games last season. But there is no way we see this team post a winning record in conference play this year.

1. Wisconsin (58% Div WP, 28% Conf WP)
Win Division (-228), Win Conference (+270)
Wisconsin was impressive on offense last season and brings back 9 starters on that side of the ball. This is a talented team and they are the clear favorite to win the West. They could emerge as Big 10 champs this year as their is little competition on their side of the conference.

2. Iowa (16% Div WP, 4% Conf WP)
Win Division (+825), Win Conference (+4000)
If there is a team to take out Wisconsin in the West this season, it’s Iowa. Kirk Ferentz enters his 20th season as Iowa’s head coach and hopes he can replicate the success this team had in 2015 when they made a Big 10 title game appearance and played in the Rose Bowl. The last time Iowa beat Wisconsin was in 2015 and if the Hawkeyes can take down the Badgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday September 22nd they’ll be in position to win the division.

3. Northwestern (13% Div WP, 4% Conf WP)
Win Division (+1250), Win Conference (+6000)
The Wildcats posted a 7-2 mark in the Big 10 last season, yet they are +1250 to win the division. Thorson’s health is a question mark, but this is an experienced roster and Fitzgerald always finds ways to win games. They’re a long shot to win the conference, but it could happen.

4. Purdue (7% Div WP, 2% Conf WP)
Win Division (+1650), Win Conference (+8500)
The Boilermakers made some noise in the conference last as they won more conference games in 2017 than they did in the previous four seasons. While Purdue will have an experienced offense this year the defense is young and will be vulnerable. Purdue can’t be considered a serious contender in this conference.

5. Minnesota (3% Div WP, 1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+1800), Win Conference (+9500)
PJ Fleck put Western Michigan into a New Year’s 6 game, but that was in his fourth season there. In year two at Minnesota expectations aren’t high for Fleck and the Golden Gophers. It’s unlikely this team will make noise in the Big 10 conference.

6. Nebraska (2% Div WP, 1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+1010), Win Conference (+4200)
Bo Pelini never topped 10 wins in a season at Nebraska and Mike Riley never topped 9. Expectations are high at Nebraska and the Nebraska faithful believe Scott Frost is the coach to take them to the promised land. While this will be a transition year for the Cornerhuskers expect them to compete and pull off a big upset or two.

7. Illinois (1% Div WP, <1% Conf WP)
Win Division (+13500), Win Conference (+80000)
When Illinois hired Lovie Smith they were hoping he could replicate the success he had with the Chicago Bears in the NFL. That hasn’t been the case. While 5-19 in his first two seasons, pointing upwards are 16 returning starters and new OC Rod Smith, who was co-OC under Rich Rod at Arizona.

About Jordan Sundheim 165 Articles
Jordan Sundheim is a veteran of the sports analytics field with a background in both athletics and statistics. He earned his master's at Duke, coached football at Stanford, and is currently a sports analytics consultant.