College Football Conference Championship Bets and Win Totals: Big Ten Conference
College football season is nearly upon us, and there are plenty of NCAA football odds and outrights on FanDuel Sportsbook we can explore.
Easily the second-best conference in college football, the Big Ten has put a team into the College Football Playoff in three straight years. The only risk to a fourth? It's loaded with top-shelf contenders like Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin that could all threaten the records of each other.
Here's how the conference winner odds shake out for this year overall.
Conference Winner(s) to Bet
Michigan Wolverines (+800)
Unless Michigan is going to hold +800 odds to win outright in Columbus, this bet is a tremendous value.
The Wolverines will likely be undefeated by the time they cross paths with Ohio State in November. They'll be favored in all prior 11 games, and the key ones against surefire bowl teams like Michigan State and Penn State are at home.
Now, will they beat the Buckeyes two years in a row? That remains to be seen. But this is still a team with top-20 marks both offensively and defensively in ESPN's SP+ projections, and Cade McNamara will likely only be more comfortable under center with another year in Ann Arbor.
Don't worry about losing Hassan Haskins, either, UM fans. Blake Corum will be a worthy lead back after splitting a timeshare with Haskins in 2021.
However, the Wolverines aren't my best bet in this conference.
Wisconsin Badgers (+1200)
Like UM, Wisconsin also has to travel to Columbus to play Ohio State. They'll do so in September, though.
If there's a team with the formula to stop the Buckeyes' high-flying offense, it's the Badgers. They have -- arguably -- the most talented back in the country in sophomore Braelon Allen, and junior quarterback Graham Mertz could take this offense to another level if he returns to some of the form we saw in the 2020 COVID-shortened year.
They hold the number one defense in the SP+ projections. That's certainly a huge factor in beating Ohio State, as well.
Other than traveling to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, Sconny will be favored comfortably in every other contest, including three out-of-conference games where they'll be double-digit favorites.
Importantly, as Ohio State and Michigan battle each other -- and others -- into November, Wisconsin's closing stretch is a cakewalk against five teams projected for 7.5 wins or fewer.
Win Total(s) to Target
Iowa Hawkeyes Under 7.5 Wins (-115)
Kirk Ferentz isn't exactly flexible, so consider me skeptical that the Hawkeyes succeed this year in a sport rapidly changing.
They picked up just one transfer this year, which is remarkable for a Power 5 school. They desperately could have used the help since their entire offense was predicated on Tyler Goodson, who is now in Green Bay.
This is arguably the worst passing game in Power 5. While tight end Sam LaPorta should be another NFL contributor from the Hawkeyes at that position, their quarterback play was atrocious alternating between Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla. The two combined for just 6.2 yards per attempt in 2021.
They have nine potential losses on their schedule, including two out of conference (Iowa State and Nevada). However, the real appeal in betting the under on the Hawkeyes is that three of their four "swing" games that should be lined closely -- Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue -- will all be road trips this year.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Under 4.0 Wins (-110)
Rutgers has a pair of layups on their schedule -- FCS Wagner and Temple. Other than that, it's hard to find a third dub.
They're the second-worst B1G school in the SP+ projections (78th), and it's downright unfair they'll be the only team to play all of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State. Those will be four lopsided losses.
Sandwiched between those four are road trips to Minnesota and Maryland where they'll also be comfortable 'dogs. Home games against Iowa and Indiana will be their best shots to push this win total, but even then, both of those squads will likely be favored over the Scarlet Knights.
This is a rebuilding year for Rutgers after losing dynamic talents Isiah Pacheco and Bo Melton to the NFL. With no one likely rushing to bet the over here, I'll wait for this number to drop to 3.5 wins at plus money considering they'll need at least two sizable upsets to bust over this lowly total.