For the most part, the Big 10 is the most competitive conference in all of football. Many teams in the Big 10 have a rich history of success and have plenty of high-caliber recruits that can make an impact in every conference game.
There will always be one or two surprising teams in this conference, and it’s my job to figure out who that team will be this year.
Two years ago, Minnesota became a phenomenon, and then just last year, Northwestern and Indiana were potential threats to Ohio State.
Which team can be that this year?
Odds to win the Big 10 (via FanDuel)
- Ohio State -280
- Wisconsin +600
- Penn State +900
- Iowa +900
- Indiana +2000
- Michigan +2500
- Minnesota +3000
- Nebraska +4000
- Northwestern +5000
- Michigan State +10000
- Purdue +10000
- Maryland +100000
- Illinois +25000
- Rutgers +25000
Best Bet to win the Big 10
Ohio State will more than likely have the best offense in the Big 10 this season. Last year, the team averaged 519 yards and 41 points per game. But that was with Justin Fields, who is now an NFL quarterback with the Chicago Bears.
There will be different faces on this offense, but that shouldn’t kill any momentum for this team. The starting quarterback hasn’t been confirmed, but I’m going out on a limb and assuming it’ll be C.J. Stroud.
The competition is between C.J. Stroud, Kyle McCord, and Jack Miller and it could be decided any day now although there is no timetable at the moment for the decision.
Currently, Stroud has led the quarterback stretching line, went through positional drills first, and took first starting reps through the first couple of practices with the team that were open to the media.
Whoever is quarterback will appreciate having Chris Olave back at wideout, returning for his senior year. He caught 50 balls for 729 yards last season for seven scores and will easily be the number one target for the Buckeyes this season. There’s also Garrett Wilson, who averaged nearly 17 years per catch last year with six touchdowns.
While the offensive line did lose some guys, that’s one area where Ohio State grows and develops players year after year. There won’t be any problems there.
As for the defense, they had their poor moments when it mattered the most, but against the Big 10, you can expect them to come through and shine. Only five starters are returning, and there will be plenty of new guys up front that need to prove their ability.
Last year’s defense allowed 304 yards per game in the air and wasn’t extremely strong in the secondary. There’s no doubt that Ohio State will stop the run, but when teams are trailing big in the second half, they’re going to air it out.
Still, this team has all the skill to be the best team in the division and win it.
Best Bet: Ohio State -220
Value Bet to win the Big 10
Last year’s season for Indiana wasn’t a fluke, and if Michael Penix is fully recovered from his torn ACL, then there’s real reason to believe Indiana can win this conference.
Without Penix, the offense isn’t special. With him, they’ll score enough points thanks to a defense that was tremendous all season last year.
Indiana lost Whop Philyor to Minnesota in the NFL but will bring back Ty Fryfogle, who scored seven touchdowns on 721 yards receiving, averaging 19 yards per catch. Miles Marshall and Peyton Hendershot will also get their catches and are solid playmakers at wide receiver and tight end.
Again, don’t expect a ton of offense from Indiana, but they’ll be methodical. Thanks to an experienced offensive line, they’re going to be able to run the football for more than four yards per carry and should give Penix plenty of time in the pocket to either run or find an open target.
On defense, the pass rush last season was unreal, leading to the secondary allowing just 241 yards per game in the air.
The defense has plenty of solid schemes and can get to the backfield in a hurry. Players like Alfred Bryant and James Head will look to be solid contributors and get to the quarterback like former teammate Jerome Johnson did last year. Johnson is now looking for opportunities in the NFL and isn’t around anymore to help the Hoosiers get pressure on the quarterback.
If anything, Indiana has one of the best linebackers in the Big 10 in Micah McFadden. He had 35 tackles last season and actually performed well in pass coverage as well. He’ll look to become the leader for this group on defense.
Last year, Indiana beat Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and lost to Ohio State and Ole Miss by one score. This team can hang especially with Penix back under center.
Stop sleeping on this team!
Value Bet: Indiana +2000
Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our Sports Betting 101 Section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced sports betting strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.