With Caesars releasing their Power 5 conference win totals, the search is on for value. Starting in the Big 10, they have a weak non-conference schedule compared to the other Power 5 conferences. Notre Dame at Michigan is their only notable matchup so out of conference wins should be expected.
Iowa 7.5 Wins (Over -155, Under +135)
The Hawkeyes are led by QB, Nate Stanley (Sr.), and coach of twenty years, Nick Ferentz, who are entering their third season together. To accompany Stanley is returning RB, Mekhi Sargent. Iowa’s run-based offense looks to have a productive season behind the second-rated OL unit in the Big 10. Returning production on the defense is a concern. DE, A.J. Epenesa, will need players to step up around him if he wants to have another 10.5 sack season. As a preseason Top 25 team, expectations are to win a wide-open Big 10 West.
Their schedule sets them up to be more than 6-point favorites in seven games and 10-point underdogs in two. Barring a loss at Northwestern or at home against Minnesota, they will need to win one of three games remaining to reach 8 wins. The first is Week 3 in Ames against rival Iowa State to secure the Cy-Hawk trophy. This game will have the Hawkeyes favored slightly as they have won the previous four meetings. The second is Week 6 at home against Penn State. They will be around a field goal underdog even though Penn St lost their starting QB McSorley and RB Sanders. However, Penn St has a defense that will give the entire Big 10 nightmares. The last is the final week of the season at Nebraska. This game could have more than a season win total on the line. The winner is most likely going to be the champion of the Big 10 West. Projections are likely to make this game a pick ‘em or it will favor the hotter team.
The Pick: Over 7.5 (-155). The Hawkeyes should win one, if not two, of those games. If their defense doesn’t suffer a setback from only four starters returning, look for them to surpass this total before the finale against Nebraska.
Purdue 7 Wins (Over -110, Under -110)
Jeff Brohm looks to have a clear foundation set after his second season at Purdue. He has his work set out for him on offense. Rondale Moore is a stud, but there is not a strong sense of confidence behind QB, Elijah Sindelar. Look for Moore to build upon his impressive numbers in his sophomore year. In order for this team to have success, they will need their defense to be more efficient than last year. They struggled in creating turnovers and allowed teams to extend drives on them.
This year’s schedule for Purdue sees them to be favorites greater than 3-points in only two games. Both of these come in conference against Maryland and Illinois where they should win. However, they will be more than 10-point underdogs in three games all coming on the road. So this leaves Purdue with seven games that fall within a field goal spread where they need to win five. Additionally, they have the toughest non-conference schedule for a Big 10 team this season. They will travel to Nevada and then host Vandy along with TCU. Losing two of these games is possible and would not be an ideal start to the season. For the conference matchups, they will host Minnesota, Nebraska, and Indiana while traveling to Northwestern. Splitting these is the most likely outcome.
The Pick: Under 7 (-110). The Boilermakers will be bowl bound for the third straight season, but with 6 wins. They do not have a favorable schedule where 7 wins is the max expected.
Minnesota 7.5 Wins (Over -150, Under +130)
The Golden Gophers return with a trio of starting WRs along with two QBs, who both gained experience last season. Tyler Johson caught 12 touchdowns and over 1,100 yards from Annexstead and Morgan. Putting up points should not be an issue, but the defense could be. Stopping the run is key in the Big 10 and this is where Minnesota is the weakest.
The schedule for Minnesota does not look too daunting for this upcoming season. They face one tough non-conference test out of their three at Fresno St. This Week 2 game will most likely be a pick ‘em. The result in this match-up will be significant when it comes to the total at the end of the season. In conference, the Gophers will be over 10-point favorites in two games while being 6-point underdogs in three. This leaves four pivotal games against Purdue, Nebraska, Maryland, and Northwestern. They will need to win three of these to have a shot at the over.
The Pick: Under 7.5 (+130). Fleck’s squad will end up with six wins and still be bowl bound. A win at Fresno St will be a difficult task for them. Even with a win at Fresno, Minnesota will need to win three of its four pivot matchups to reach eight. Five wins in the Big 10 will prove to be too much.
Indiana vs Maryland
The win total matchup you were not expecting. A Week 8 meeting in Maryland could prove to be a differentiator for these teams. Indiana needs 7 wins to surpass their win total and Maryland needs 4 with this one Big 10 meeting having added significance.
Ride or Fade the Nebraska Win Total Steam?
This win total has seen the most action with other books other than Caesers before opening. Therefore it is listed at 8.5 with the juice to the over. The books are projecting Scott Frost’s crew to more than double their win total from last season. If you are looking to fade, wait it out while the Public continues to pound at this number.