With Week Zero of the college football season fast approaching, it’s worth analyzing the current odds to win this season’s Big Ten Championship, via BetOnline. The reigning champion Michigan Wolverines ended Ohio State’s four-year (2017-20) string of dominance by claiming their first Big Ten title since 2004 with a convincing victory over Iowa. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines are aiming to make it two consecutive titles, but the Buckeyes have spent the offseason reloading for a run at the National Championship.
Michigan may feel slightly disrespected by the oddsmakers, who view Ohio State as the heavy favorites to reclaim their throne despite failing to qualify for the title game last season. Analyzing the situation suggests Ohio State is the far superior squad, however. An exciting campaign awaits the Big Ten nonetheless.
The full odds to win the Big Ten are as follows:
- Ohio State (-240)
- Michigan (+1000)
- Wisconsin (+1000)
- Nebraska (+1400)
- Penn State (+1400)
- Iowa (+2000)
- Purdue (+2500)
- Michigan State (+2800)
- Minnesota (+2800)
- Indiana (+15000)
- Maryland (+15000)
- Illinois (+15000)
- Northwestern (+20000)
- Rutgers (+20000)
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: OHIO STATE
A historic defeat at the hands of their archnemesis Wolverines helped prevent the Buckeyes from competing in last season’s Big Ten Championship Game and the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes’ campaign was considered a massive disappointment as a result. Buckeyes fans can rejoice, however, because a bounce-back season looms large.
Offensively, Ryan Day’s squad will be powered forward by elite quarterback prospect C.J. Stroud. Stroud is correctly viewed as a preseason Heisman favorite after lighting college football on fire last season.
Stroud was absolutely electric as a freshman, completing 71.9% of his passing attempts en route to totaling 4,435 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, and just six interceptions in 12 regular-season appearances. The No. 2 ranked player on TDN’s 2023 Big Board, Stroud is the early favorite to become the first signal-caller selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stroud and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba will form one of the scariest quarterback-receiver duos in all of college football.
New defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is tasked with turning around a unit that struggled to hold opposing offenses in check last year. The Buckeyes couldn’t stop a nosebleed last season. If Ohio State hopes to live up to its lofty National Championship expectations, defensive improvement is necessary.
The Buckeyes have legitimate game-changers at various playmaking positions. That includes quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and all over the offensive line. Ohio State should recapture its Big Ten throne in 2022.
THE NO. 1 CONTENDER: MICHIGAN
The Wolverines enjoyed a dreamlike campaign last season. Michigan’s unlikely Big Ten Championship accomplishment has led to some newfound expectations. Michigan may have a difficult time recapturing last season’s historic form, however.
The defense lost a pair of first-round pass rushers in Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo—they combined for 25.0 sacks last season. Replicating that sort of production is going to be difficult for Michigan’s young pass rushers. New defensive coordinator Jesse Minter has his work cut out for him as he attempts to replace Mike Macdonald, who joined the Baltimore Ravens earlier this offseason.
Starting quarterback Cade McNamara should lead an effective offense for the second consecutive season. Michigan returns plenty of starters at running back, wide receiver, and the offensive line. McNamara is a game-manager that will take advantage of the high-level pieces that surround him.
The Wolverines should field a decent squad. Doing that and competing with the reloaded Buckeyes are two different goals.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT: WISCONSIN
The oddsmakers view the always-respectable Badgers as the No. 3 team in the conference, ranking them slightly ahead of the likes of Nebraska and Penn State. Long-term head coach Paul Chryst has strung together some impressive recruiting classes as of late, ones that should help the Badgers improve in 2022. It makes Wisconsin a sneaky underdog.
A program known for its ability to identify and develop elite-level running backs, Braelon Allen may be next in line to join a decorated list of historic ball carriers. Allen rushed for 1,268 and 12 touchdowns last season while averaging a healthy 6.8 yards per carry. Allen could continue taking steps forward while operating behind a dominant offensive line.
The Badgers have done well to hold onto Jim Leonhard, who has long been recognized as one of the most brilliant defensive schemers and play-callers in college football. Leonhard is tasked with replacing a pair of local legends in Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn. If anybody can figure it out, it’s Leonhard. The linebacker and defensive line groups have enough depth to cause havoc in opposing backfields despite all the outgoing starters.
The Badgers will pull off some upsets in 2022.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 19, 2022