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Examining the Over/Under 2015 Win Totals for the Big Ten's East Division


The Big Ten is home to some of the best storylines in college football. In the East Division alone, you've got defending national champion Ohio State, which has three QBs capable of starting for anyone in the country. Watching who will come out on top will be fascinating. Elsewhere, you've got Jim Harbaugh trying to resurrect Michigan while James Franklin continues to build Penn State. And don't forget about Michigan State, which is loaded with plenty of talent at key positions and could find itself in the thick of the College Football Playoff discussion when all is said and done.

Related: Big Ten 2015 Football Predictions

For the purposes of this exercise, projected win totals are broken down into three categories — definite wins, definite losses and toss-ups. Most of the conference games will in the toss-up category, especially ones on the road. This preview will offer thoughts on each team and if there’s any value either over or under.

Note: Over/under odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook

Big Ten East

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Indiana Hoosiers

(Over 6 wins +160...Under 6 wins -210)

Record Last Year: 4-8, 1-7

Returning Starters: 11 (5 on offense, 6 on defense)

Offense: Nate Sudfeld gets the keys to the offense after missing the final six games last season because of a shoulder injury. Sudfeld will not have leading rusher Tevin Coleman, who went pro. UAB transfer Jordan Howard and Tommy Mister figure to get a crack at replacing Coleman, but it's bad when your leading returning rusher is the backup quarterback. Howard will need to catch up after missing spring ball.

Defense: One of the worst defenses in the conference gets its front line back intact. There's a lot of work that needs to be done on this side of the ball so there figures to be a lot of shootouts.

Schedule: The Hoosiers host Southern Illinois, Florida International and Western Kentucky to start the season before playing at Wake Forest. Each non-conference game is winnable, which will be key with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State on tap in October, along with a home game against Rutgers mixed in.

Selection: I agree with the line move. Six is an optimistic number with such a poor defense and an offense searching for weapons.

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Maryland Terrapins

(Over 4.5 wins -145...Under 4.5 wins +105)

Record Last Year: 7-6, 4-4

Returning Starters: 10 (6 on offense, 4 on defense)

Offense: Quarterback C.J. Brown is gone and replacing him figures to be Caleb Rowe. Rowe got some time under center last year. He has a few WRs back from last year, although none are as talented or explosive as Stefon Diggs. Brandon Ross will carry the load out of the backfield.

Defense: This side of the ball will be getting a makeover, as coordinator Brian Stewart is gone. Stepping in is Keith Dudzinski, who has a fantastic secondary to build on. William Likely had six INTs in 2014 and was one of the better players at the position. The problems start in the front seven, which saw the majority of its talent graduate.

Schedule: The Terps host Richmond, Bowling Green and South Florida before traveling to Morgantown. They will need to be careful against the Spiders and Falcons in weeks 1 and 2 because both will be tricky games. The conference slate alternates between home and away games.

Selection: The lean is to the over here as I think Maryland takes care of business out of conference. Getting Indiana and Rutgers to close things out also will help the Hoosiers as they rebuild.

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Michigan Wolverines

(Over 7.5 wins -115...Under 7.5 wins -125)

Record Last Year: 5-7, 3-5

Returning Starters: 11 (5 on offense, 6 on defense)

Offense: It'll be an intriguing race at QB with Iowa transfer Jake Rudock going up against Shane Morris. Mistake-prone Devin Gardner is gone which should cause Michigan fans less pain. Whomever is under center will want to feed Amara Darboh, who played well in the spring. The offensive line is almost completely back from 2014 and this group be opening holes for Derrick Green and Ty Isaac.

Defense: Michigan's calling card will be on defense where D.J. Durkin takes over. Everyone will be excited to finally see Jabrill Peppers on the field. There are some other pieces to like, thus providing reasons for optimism.

Schedule: The Wolverines travel to Utah before hosting Oregon State, UNLV and BYU. Michigan gets rivals Michigan State and Ohio State at home.

Selection: I think the under is the play here. Optimism over the new coaching staff is nice, but it'll struggle to translate on the field. What will fans say if they lose the season opener at Utah? This is a tough schedule for a group in transition.

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Michigan State Spartans

(Over 9.5 wins -165...Under 9.5 wins +125)

Record Last Year: 11-2, 7-1

Returning Starters: 13 (6 on offense, 7 on defense)

Offense: It's a broken record, but Connor Cook is a Heisman candidate. In 2014 he threw 24 touchdowns to just eight INTs. Cook will need to find new weapons with WR Tony Lippett and RB Jeremy Langford departing. Delton Williams' status is up in the air and he'd be a nice chip for this offense to have.

Defense: Shilique Calhoun is a monster up front. Last year he had eight sacks, but caused a lot more issues that a stat page can't quantify. He's got help from Lawrence Thomas on the other side. The biggest question resides in the secondary where they have to replace standout cornerback Trae Waynes.

Schedule: An odd road game with Western Michigan starts things off before home matchups with Oregon, Air Force and Central Michigan. Sparty plays at Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State this year.

Selection: Slight lean to the under for Michigan State. Calhoun and Cook are good leaders, but there are a few traps on this schedule. Be careful with Air Force the week after a tough tilt with Oregon. I'm not saying the Spartans will lose, but it may not be their best effort.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

(Over 11 wins -195...Under 11 wins +155)

Record Last Year: 14-1, 8-0

Returning Starters: 14 (7 on offense, 7 on defense)

Offense: I can't wait to see who comes out of the QB race between Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller. Ezekiel Elliott is going to be the workhorse at RB after rushing for nearly 2,000 yards in 2014. The offensive line is pretty much back. If you wanted to nitpick a weakness, it's the WRs who have to get a little better.

Defense: Joey Bosa is real tough up front along with Adolphus Washington. Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell solidify the safety position. This unit will be good once again.

Schedule: Blacksburg, Va., will be where OSU begins its title defense as the Buckeyes play the only team to knock them off in 2014. After Virginia Tech come home games against Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. They couldn't have received an easier road schedule in conference with Indiana, Rutgers, Illinois and Michigan.

Selection: I don't think this team goes undefeated so I'm either not touching it or slightly leaning to the under. Virginia Tech will be rocking week one. They also could potentially lose to Michigan State or Penn State at home.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

(Over 7.5 wins -230...Under 7.5 wins +170)

Record Last Year: 7-6, 2-6

Returning Starters: 15 (8 on offense, 7 on defense)

Offense: Some 2016 NFL mock drafts have Christian Hackenberg the No. 1 overall pick. He struggled with turnovers last year, putting up 15 interceptions to just 12 touchdown passes. Hackenberg should have more time in the pocket with the offensive line improving. DaeSean Hamilton is back after putting up nearly 1,000 yards receiving in 2014. The run game will be led by Akeel Lynch.

Defense: This was a stout unit last year that allowed just 18.6 points per contest. They return several players in each level of the defense led by Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel up front. The secondary is a strength with Marcus Allen and Trevor Williams.

Schedule: A sneaky-tough contest with Temple starts the year off in Philadelphia. The Nittany Lions then play five straight home games including ones against Buffalo, San Diego State and Army. PSU doesn't really have a tough schedule at all.

Selection: The over is the play here. Penn State could approach 10 wins. Not quite sure what Vegas sees here as the Nittany Lions will comfortably go over the number.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

(Over 5 wins -145...Under 5 wins +105)

Record Last Year: 8-5, 3-5

Returning Starters: 8 (3 on offense, 5 on defense)

Offense: There's not much back from the 2014 squad. Leonte Carroo is a real good WR, but who is going to get him the ball? The QB competition features Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig who are both sophomores. Paul James is a solid runner out of the backfield.

Defense: Rutgers was pushed around a lot last year, giving up 212.3 rushing yards per game. Steve Longa and Quentin Gause are a solid pair of linebackers. The secondary will need to be rebuilt a bit.

Schedule: It's a home-friendly non-conference slate for the most part as Rutgers gets Norfolk State, Washington State and Kansas in Newark while the Scarlet Knights travel to Army in November. Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State all come to New Jersey.

Selection: As long as you can find the under at plus money I endorse it. Rutgers could very well upset someone at home, but it also could lose to a tough Washington State team there too.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

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