Big Ten (East) College Football Season Win Totals — 2019
The 2019 college football season is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start scouting college football season win totals on online sports betting sites.
We’ve already taken a look at 2019 College Football Win Totals for the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners, Baylor Bears
Ohio State Over/Under 10 Wins (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Fans and foes are eager to see what the Ohio State football program will look like without Urban Meyer who retired after a series of health issues. Ultimately, a loss to Iowa in 2017 and a loss to Purdue in 2018 kept the Buckeyes out of the College Football Playoff over the last two years. Oddsmakers at FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet like their odds of winning their third consecutive Big Ten championship, making them the conference favorites for good reason.
Without Urban Meyer, Ohio State is still the most talented team in the Big 10. Ryan Day takes over for Meyer and has the experience to do so. After stints as quarterbacks coach for the Eagles and 49ers, Day joined Meyer’s staff in 2017 as co-offensive coordinator. He became the primary play-caller in 2018 and even served as interim head coach when Ohio State placed Meyer on administrative leave. Day went 3-0 while Meyer was away from the team, leading Ohio State to blowout wins at home against Oregon State and Rutgers and 40-28 win at AT&T Stadium in Dallas against a TCU Horned Frogs team that was ranked No. 15 at the time.
The biggest questions following Meyer’s departure is what will the coaching style look like in the post-Meyer era. Meyer was 7-0 against Michigan and 7-5 against top 10 teams. In total, Ohio State lost only four Big Ten games under Meyer’s command. Could Day get the Buckeyes over the hump that has kept them out of the last two College Football Playoffs or will there be hiccups in his first full year as head coach?
Day’s first big move came shortly after his promotion. Addressing a defense that gave up 49 and 55 points respectively in the key losses to Purdue and Iowa, Day poached a veteran defensive coordinator in Greg Mattison from none other than Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. Mattison, who served as defensive coordinator for the 2009-10 Baltimore Ravens, is joined by Jeff Hafley who has spent the past seven seasons in the NFL. The duo hopes to improve a Buckeye defense that allowed 39 gains of over 30 yards in 2018.
It’s not just coaching shake-ups in Columbus. With Dwayne Haskins foregoing his final two years of college for the NFL former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields will take over behind center. The dual-threat quarterback was the No. 1 ranked recruit in the 2018 class. Fields is immediately eligible after putting his name in the transfer portal and winning an appeal with the NCAA.
Like the previous two years, Ohio State is just a defense away from making it back to the College Football Playoffs. At +1200 only Clemson, Alabama and Georgia are more heavily favored to win the national championship. If you like Ohio State to win Over 10.5 games, then you might consider backing Fields +1200 to win the Heisman Trophy at PointsBet. Fields will put it up numbers in this offense, on the ground and in the air. Hopefully he can remain healthy against physical Big Ten defenses.
Ohio State kickoffs their 2019 campaign with as 27-point favorites again FAU. Week 5 will feature a game between two undefeated teams, and arguably the two best quarterback in the Big Ten when Fields meets Adrian Martinez in Nebraska. The Buckeyes are 6.5-point favorites at DraftKings and 7-point favorites at FanDuel. Following that, the Buckeyes are favored by two touchdowns against Michigan State and Northwestern, and -9.5 hosting Penn State. They conclude the regular season with the biggest game of the year at Michigan. The Wolverines are currently 2-point favorites at DraftKings in a game that could have implications for win totals, conference title bets, national champion and Heisman Trophy futures.
With road trips to Nebraska, Northwestern and Michigan, I wouldn’t be shocked if Ohio State loses two games, but I think 11-1 is more likely. The defense can’t be more of a liability than it was last year, and if Fields stay healthy, he can lead this team to 11 wins. I like Over 10 wins (-125) at DraftKings.
Michigan Over/Under 9.5 Wins (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Since leaving the NFL to join his alma mater, Jim Harbaugh has coached the Michigan Wolverines to a 38-14 record. Only seven Power Five schools have better records in that stretch. While fans in Ann Arbor have seen their fair share of wins, they have yet to see Harbaugh beat Ohio State or claim a Big Ten championship.
The failures thus far have come mainly on the offensive end. Michigan’s offenses have lacked creativity, often trying to establish the run in a sport that has become more and more pass-happy. That could change this year, as Harbaugh turns to 35-year-old Josh Gattis to revamp the offense. Interestingly, Gattis played safety at Wake forest but became the wide receivers coach at Western Michigan before stints at Vanderbilt and Penn State. Most recently, Gattis served as co-offensive coordinator at Alabama, overseeing the third-highest scoring offense in the country.
Shea Patterson (+4000 to win the Heisman) is no Tua Tagovailoa, but Gattis will help Michigan catch up with the times — one of the reasons I’ll likely be targeting the Overs (point totals) early in the Wolverines’ schedule.
For those who like Over 9.5 wins (-175) and for Michigan to possibly get over the hump this year, there are reasons to be optimistic. Michigan plays Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State in the Big House, where they’re currently favored to win each game. The Wolverines are small favorites on the road in Wisconsin (-4) and Penn State (-3) at FanDuel. DraftKings favors Michigan by 1-2 points more in each game. Michigan is -13 against Iowa at DraftKings but only -11 at FanDuel.
It’s worth noting Caesars opened Michigan’s win total at 10.5 (Over +160/Under -180). There’s a very real possibility Michigan gets to 10 wins before playing Ohio State, but I don’t like backing either team to win the conference at their current odds. Even with the increased vig, you’re better off taking Over 9.5 wins and picking sides when the two teams meet up.
Michigan State Over/Under 7.5 Wins (FanDuel)
Last year wasn’t as bad as their 3-9 season in 2016, but it still wasn’t good. The Michigan State Spartans went 5-4 in the Big Ten and finished 7-6 after scoring only six points against Oregon in the Red Box Bowl. Head coach Mark D’antonio and Sparty will try to bounce back in the same fashion they did in 2017 when they went 10-3.
Injuries played a significant role in Michigan State’s losses. The offense had 10 starters miss a total of 48 games last year, which partly explains why they were No.117 in the nation in total offense. In four of their losses, the Spartans failed to score more than seven points. While the offense struggled to find the endzone, a stout defense ranked No. 2 in S&P+ deterred any embarrassing blowouts. Though the defense was exceptional, they did struggle to defend the pass at times. They’ll continue to shut down running backs, which is important in Big Ten football, but their 18th-ranked pass defense could become more of a liability if the offense does a better job at keeping games close. It could also be a factor if Michigan’s offense is modernized for the 2019 season.
The Green and White open their season as 21.5-point favorites against Tulsa. Their first test is Week 3, when they host Arizona State as 7.5-point favorites. They also play Indiana and Maryland in East Lansing and have a free-space at Rutgers. Unsurprisingly, they’re double-digit underdogs at Michigan and Ohio State. If you like the Over, place it at Draftkings (-155) and if you want the Under head towards Fanduel (+150).
Penn State Over/Under 8.5 Wins (FanDuel)
Penn State will have a big say in what happens to the win totals for the teams above. The Nittany Lions have won at least nine games in each of their last three seasons, but fortunately for the rest of the Big Ten East, they lose a chunk of the production that got those wins. Penn State ranks No. 100 in S&P+’s returning production metric. Five starters left early for the NFL, but no player will be missed more than three-year starting quarterback Trace McSorley.
Initially, Tommy Stevens was expected to take over for McSorely, but after an unexpected transfer, it’s redshirt sophomore Sean Clifford who is the projected starter.
An easy non-conference schedule, all at home, will help Stevens and other newcomers transition to their new roles. Penn State is -10 against Purdue in Week 5, but the schedule quickly becomes more difficult with games at Iowa, against Michigan, and on the road against Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State.
With so many question marks, I lean towards Under 8.5. The p
Indiana Over/Under 6 Wins (DraftKings)
The Indian Hoosiers have one of the easiest non-conference schedules. They kickoff as 16.5-point favorites against Ball State Aug. 31 before playing an FCS team and Uconn who went 1-11 last season. That gets us halfway there, right? If you count Rutgers as a win, then they only need two more wins for a push. That’s when things get tricky.
Their visit to Maryland is winnable, but considering the fact the Hoosiers squeaked out a 34-32 victory against the Terrapins at home last year, it’s certainly no sure thing. After that, their best shot at wins is against Northwestern and at Purdue.
Head coach Tom Allen was able to pull in the highest-ranked recruiting class in school history, but it will be another season two before they benefit. To get to seven wins, the Hoosiers will need to win every game they’re expected to win, plus one. My bet is on Allen’s team doing exactly what it has the past two years: sweeping their easy non-conference schedule but ending the season 5-7.
Maryland Over/Under 4.5 Wins (DraftKings)
The Maryland Terrapins faced a lot of adversity last season. An emotionally charged Terrapins squad upset the Texas Longhorns just a few months after the tragic death of offensive linemen Jordan McNair and the subsequent suspension of head coach DJ Durkin. At one point, Maryland was 5-3 before dropping their last four games of the season. The losses to Indiana and Ohio State were by a combined three points.
Mike Locksley replaces the interim coach. There’s much to be desired in Locksley’s 3-31 head coaching record, but Locksley received the 2018 Broyles Ward, given to the nation’s top coaching assistant, after leading Alabama’s offense to the national championship. Locksley has roots in College Park and has a chance to take what he learned from Nick Saban and help a desperate football program.
The offense returns running back Anthony McFarland Jr. One of the most productive underclassmen in the country, the freshman led a running attack that averaged 230.2 on the ground a game. McFarland accounted for over 1,000 yards, including two 200-yard rushing games, and averaged 7.9 yards per
The offense isn’t why the win total is low for the Terrapins. It’s the defense that’s the problem. Maryland gave up 390 yards and allowed nearly 29 points per game. They return only three starters, but that might not be a bad thing.
My gut says they win four games, but I’m a little confused by last season’s win against Texas and then the close games down the stretch. The offense really can score points, but will the defense be better or worse off? Whatever you do, be sure to shop lines on this one and pick your preference. The Over/Under is 3.5 at Caesars, 4 at Fanduel and 4.5 at DraftKings.
Once again, if you’re looking for general NCAA betting tips, please refer to our College Football Betting Guide.