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Big Ten Football: Examining Over/Under Win Totals for the 2022 Season

Cade McNamara, Michigan Wolverines Football

Michigan won't enter the season as the favorite in the Big Ten but everyone is eager to see what J.J. McCarthy and the defending conference champions have in mind for an encore after losing so much on defense and both coordinators. 

It's a new year in the Big Ten, yet it feels like the same teams are in contention for the conference championship. In the East, it's Ohio State far ahead of everyone else, with Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State chasing. The Wolverines were able to knock the Buckeyes off last year, but with coaching and roster changes, can they do it once again?

Related: Big Ten Football 2022 Predictions 

In the West, it's Wisconsin and Iowa out in front, with Minnesota trying to continue its success from last year and Purdue attempting to prove that last year wasn't a blip on the radar. Could this also be the season Nebraska returns to its past form? What we do know is that most likely both Rutgers and Illinois will be at the bottom of their respective divisions.

(Win totals provided by Draftkings)

Big Ten East

Indiana (Over 4 -120...Under 4 EVEN)

Non-Conference Games: Idaho, WKU, at Cincinnati
Schedule Notes: There's a soft start to the year with home tilts against Illinois, Idaho, and WKU, but things toughen up right after that with road games at Cincinnati and Nebraska. They do get Michigan and Penn State at home, but two of their final three are road matchups with Ohio State and Michigan State.
QB Battle: Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak vs. Jack Tuttle
Roster Notes: After going 6-2 in 2020, the Hoosiers took a massive step back, finishing 2-10 in 2021. Injuries were an issue, especially on offense where only five starters return. Transfers litter the backfield, where Auburn's Shaun Shivers and North Carolina's Josh Henderson lead the way. The receiving corps lost Ty Fryfogle, but there are several options to replace him. The question is whether the offensive line can block for whoever is under center. Defensively, there are seven starters back as well as several P5 transfers.

Prediction: Lean to the over here, as Indiana has a lot of winnable games early.

Maryland (Over 6 EVEN...Under 6 -120)

Non-Conference Games: Buffalo, at Charlotte, SMU
Schedule Notes: The Terrapins have five of their first eight contests at home, so there's an opportunity to pick up some early victories. After an Oct. 29 bye, Maryland has to play Wisconsin, Penn State, and Ohio State consecutively before closing out at home against Rutgers.
QB: Taulia Tagovailoa
Roster Notes: Mike Locksley had a great season last year, with the team winning the Pinstripe Bowl 54-10 to close things out. The offense was fantastic out of the gates until the schedule toughened and injuries began. Tagovailoa has a full complement of weapons with Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus Jr. back and Florida's Jacob Copeland transferring in. The offensive line is intact, and they'll need to be in order to block this conference's tough pass rushes. The defense needs to be better as well after giving up 30 points or more to seven of their last nine opponents.

Prediction: Solid number. Small lean to the under.

Michigan (Over 9.5 -125...Under 9.5 +105)

Non-Conference Games: Colorado State, Hawaii, UConn
Schedule Notes: It's a cushy start to the schedule with four straight at home, including three rather easy non-conference opponents. After two road games to start October, Michigan finishes with four of its final six at home, including getting Penn State and Michigan State at the Big House.
QB Battle: Cade McNamara vs. J.J. McCarthy
Roster Notes: The coaching staff had some upheaval as the offensive and defensive coordinators left when it looked like Jim Harbaugh may leave to coach the Minnesota Vikings. The offensive now has co-coordinators in last year's QB coach and O-line coach. Both McNamara and McCarthy saw time last year, so that competition will be hotly contested before the season. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are the running backs, with a strong pass-catching corps to complement them. The defensive pass rush lost 25 sacks when Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo went pro. The secondary also saw some key pieces go pro, so we'll see how they bounce back.

Prediction: Lean to the under.

Related: 2022 Big Ten Quarterback Rankings

Michigan State (Over 7.5 -130...Under 7.5 +110)

Non-Conference Games: Western Michigan, Akron, at Washington
Schedule Notes: Five of the Spartans' first seven games are at home, including a massive contest against Ohio State on Oct. 8. Last year, Sparty got blasted 56-7 in Columbus, so you know they'll be looking for revenge. They travel to Michigan and Penn State in Big Ten play while hosting Wisconsin as well.
QB: Payton Thorne
Roster Notes: Kenneth Walker III is in the pros, but MSU brought in Jarek Broussard from Colorado and Jalen Berger from Wisconsin. Because of Walker's departure, Payton Thorne may have to shoulder more of the load. He's got Jayden Reed back as well as Tre Mosley out wide. The defense has nine starters back, and the completely in-tact secondary adds UGA transfer Ameer Speed. The question marks come up front where they lost several players.

Prediction: Solid number as I came up with 7-8 wins.

Ohio State (Over 10.5 -240...Under 10.5 +195)

Non-Conference Games: Notre Dame, Arkansas State, Toledo
Schedule Notes: The Buckeyes open up the season with a huge tilt against Notre Dame, who could also be in the mix potentially for a playoff berth. It's part of an opening stretch where Ohio State doesn't leave home over a five-week period. The Buckeyes have road trips to Michigan State and Penn State in-conference and close out with Michigan at home.
QB: C.J. Stroud
Roster Notes: This offense only has six starters back, but it'll be a surprise when they don't put up 40 points or more. Stroud threw for 44 touchdowns to just six interceptions last year. He's without Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba has Heisman potential. Running back TreVeyon Henderson was awesome in his freshman season and will be running once again behind a fantastic offensive line. One of the best pickups in the offseason was defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who has to fix a defense that allowed 30 points or more five times last season. Eight starters return on this side of the ball.

Prediction: No shot I play the over at that number, but the money move is right.

Penn State (Over 8.5 +105...Under 8.5 -125)

Non-Conference Games: Ohio, at Auburn, Central Michigan
Schedule Notes: The Nittany Lions have a sneaky Thursday night opener on the road against Purdue on Sept 1. They also have an interesting road trip in Auburn just a few weeks later. In-conference, Penn State hosts Ohio State and Michigan State while traveling to Michigan as well.
QB: Sean Clifford
Roster Notes: Clifford and the offense will have to bounce back with Noah Cain transferring to LSU and Jahan Dotson suiting up for the Commanders in the Fall. The wide receiver corps should be okay with Parker Washington, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and WKU transfer Mitchell Tinsley. The offensive line needs to get better after allowing too many sacks in 2021. The defense has just four starters back with their leading tacklers gone. The secondary should be the best unit on this side of the ball.

Prediction: Slight lean to the under.

Rutgers (Over 4 EVEN...Under 4 -120)

Non-Conference Games: at Boston College, Wagner, at Temple
Schedule Notes: The schedule pretty much alternates road and home contests outside of a three-week stretch in which they don't leave New Jersey against Nebraska and Indiana. The Scarlet Knights play at BC, Ohio State, and Michigan State while getting Michigan at home.
QB Battle: Noah Vedral vs. Gavin Wimsatt
Roster Notes: The offense was extremely underwhelming last year, as the quarterbacks accounted for just nine touchdown passes to eight interceptions. We'll see if they can choose the right one this year. Whoever wins the job has a couple of solid transfers to throw to in Syracuse's Taj Harris and West Virginia's Sean Ryan. The running back room has Kyle Monangai and Aaron Young, but the offensive line needs to improve. Defensively, six starters are back headlined by a modestly decent secondary. The front line has to be able to get more pressure on the QB though.

Prediction: Four is a pretty solid number from the sportsbooks.

Big Ten West

Illinois (Over 4.5 -125...Under 4.5 +105)

Non-Conference Games: Wyoming, Virginia, Chattanooga
Schedule Notes: Five of the Illini's first seven contests are at home, with an early Week 2 conference matchup at Indiana. The Illini finish on the road at Michigan and Northwestern, but that's after two at home against Michigan State and Purdue.
QB: Syracuse transfer Tommy DeVito
Roster Notes: DeVito had his issues in Syracuse, although some of those could be because of a bad offensive line. He'll try to lead this offense that moved former signal caller Isaiah Williams to wide receiver. The offensive line is huge as they try to block for Chase Brown and Josh McCray. The defense returns five of their top seven tacklers and has some solid members in the secondary even though Kerby Joseph is suiting up for the Lions.

Prediction: Very good number, as I had 4-5 wins.

Iowa (Over 7.5 -105...Under 7.5 -115)

Non-Conference Games: South Dakota State, Iowa State, Nevada
Schedule Notes: Much like a lot of the teams in this conference, Iowa has a home-friendly start to their schedule with four of their first six games in Kinnick Stadium. They host Michigan and Wisconsin in conference play but travel to Ohio State as well after a Buckeyes bye.
QB: Spencer Petras
Roster Notes: The offense has to be better because it was downright awful at times and put way too much pressure on the defense to force turnovers. Petras had just 10 touchdown passes to nine interceptions in 2021. He will have Sam LaPorta back, and that's huge considering the losses the rest of the skill positions had. Tyler Goodson and Charlie Jones are gone. Defensively, the team was ninth in yards allowed. They do have seven starters back, and corner Riley Moss who was out with a knee injury last season. Jack Campbell and Seth Benson are a fantastic linebacker duo.

Prediction: Slight lean to the over here, but the offense has to be better.

Minnesota (Over 7.5 EVEN...Under 7.5 -120)

Non-Conference Games: New Mexico State, Western Illinois, Colorado
Schedule Notes: Four of the team's first five contests are at home, and all of them are certainly winnable. There are tough road trips to Penn State and Michigan State besides finishing the campaign out at Camp Randall. They do get Iowa at home on Nov. 19.
QB: Tanner Morgan
Roster Notes: Morgan wasn't asked to do much with how effective the run game was. The signal caller had 10 touchdowns to nine interceptions, so he did struggle at times. There is plenty of star power back with Mohamed Ibrahim in the backfield with Trey Potts and Bryce Williams. Out wide, Chris Autman-Bell returns, although he had only 36 receptions. The defense was awesome and has six starters back. The front line is supplemented by transfers Darnell Jefferies (Clemson) and Lorenza Surgers (Vanderbilt).

Prediction: Very solid number, as I came up with 7-8 wins.

Nebraska (Over 7.5 -110...Under 7.5 -110)

Non-Conference Games: North Dakota, Georgia Southern, Oklahoma
Schedule Notes: The season begins in Dublin, Ireland, against Northwestern on Aug. 27. The Huskers don't have their first true road game until Oct. 7 when they play at Rutgers. Nebraska gets Wisconsin and Minnesota at home to go along with road trips to Michigan and Iowa.
QB: Texas transfer Casey Thompson
Roster Notes: There's some optimism after a 3-9 season in Lincoln. The offense brings back seven starters, although Adrian Martinez is not one of them after transferring to Kansas State. The wide receiver room is filled with transfers from LSU, Texas, and New Mexico State. The offensive line needs to be better, though, as the run game just wasn't much of a factor. Defensively there has to be some sort of improvement because this unit was not good. Four of the top five tacklers have returned, with several transfers sprinkled in as well.

Prediction: Slight lean to the under here, as I think the schedule is modestly difficult.

Northwestern (Over 4 EVEN...Under 4 -120)

Non-Conference Games: Duke, Southern Illinois, Miami (Ohio)
Schedule Notes: The Wildcats have just one true road game in the first eight weeks of the season. They take on Nebraska Week 1 in Dublin and then have a week off before three straight at home. The unfortunate payoff comes in late October with four of five on the road and the home tilt being against Ohio State.
QB Battle: Ryan Hilinski vs. Brendan Sullivan
Roster Notes: The Wildcats' offense was brutal in 2021, scoring 30 points or more just once — and that was in a 35-6 win at home over Ohio. Northwestern returns nine starters with four of those up front, so that should be a help. The wide receivers are mediocre and need to break more plays open. Defensively, they gave up 30 points or more eight times. The defensive line has a ton of transfers, and the secondary lost its best player in Brandon Joseph, who went to Notre Dame.

Prediction: Slight lean to the under, as I came up with 3-4 wins.

Purdue (Over 7.5 +115...Under 7.5 -135)

Non-Conference Games: Indiana State, at Syracuse, FAU
Schedule Notes: The Boilermakers can send an early message to the conference as they host Penn State on Sept. 1. It's part of an early stretch of three of four at home with the road game being in Syracuse. Purdue has Iowa at home while traveling to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
QB: Aidan O'Connell
Roster Notes: O'Connell was fantastic last year, but he'll be without David Bell, Milton Wright and Jackson Anthrop. That's a lot of receptions that have departed which means Payne Durham and Iowa transfer Tyrone Tracy will have to take over at tight end. King Doerue wasn't bad at running back but has yet to crack 4.0 yards per carry. Defensively, they were pretty solid and have seven returning starters. They will have to replace their top two tacklers from last year though.

Prediction: Agree with the money move towards the under, but not at that price.

Wisconsin (Over 8.5 -145...Under 8.5 +125)

Non-Conference Games: Illinois State, Washington State, New Mexico State
Schedule Notes: The Badgers get four of their first five at home, which gives them an opportunity to hit the ground running. Wisconsin has to play at Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa, but that leaves a very reasonable home Big Ten slate.
QB: Graham Mertz
Roster Notes: Only eight starters return for the Badgers, who have a new offensive coordinator in Bobby Engram, previously of the Ravens. He needs to improve Mertz, who had 10 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions last season. Of course, as usual, the run game should be strong with Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi, who combined for 2,083 yards and 17 touchdowns. The defense was one of the nation's best last year, but they have just three returning starters. The good thing is that two of them are up front, so the pass rush should be fine. The team's secondary is filled with transfers, so who knows what to expect.

Prediction: The money move is probably right here, but once again, I'm not taking the over at -145.

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— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.