College Football Big Ten Teams: “Expected to Win” Totals in the West

Evaluating Which Big Ten West Teams Will Surpass Their Expected Win Total

The 2022 Big Ten football season kicks off on August 27 with Northwestern and Nebraska meeting each other for a game in Ireland. With just about a month until then, we’ve spent some time analyzing each college football Big Ten team’s expected win totals. We previously wrote about the Big Ten East odds, so now it’s time to cover the Big Ten West. The Wisconsin Badgers are the West’s leader in expected win total at 8.5, while the Northwestern Wildcats are at the bottom of the conference with only four expected wins.

Let’s dive into the Big Ten NCAAF standings and where each college football Big Ten team sits in terms of expected wins and check out the NCAAF Big Ten rankings.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois finished 5-7 last season in what was deemed a successful season for first-year head coach Bret Bielema and the Illini program. However, an OT win over Penn State and a surprising road win at Minnesota make that record look a bit better than we think Illinois really was last year.

The Illini open the 2022 season with five of their first seven games at home, which should set them up for success early in the year. That being said, they have both Michigan and Michigan State on the schedule this year. Plus, they play Indiana, Wisconsin, and Nebraska all on the road. Unless new quarterback Tommy DeVito, who transferred from Syracuse, can really make something of Illinois’ offense, the Illini are probably looking at a 4-8 season. Under 4.5 (Ev) 

Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa always prides itself on defense, which is great, unless you have an offense that literally can not score. That was the issue with the Hawkeyes last season as most of their scoring came off turnovers. Quarterback Spencer Petras threw just 10 touchdowns last season while also tossing nine interceptions. That being said, Iowa returns seven starters on the defensive side of the ball and gets corner Riley Moss back after he missed all of last season with an injury.

While the Hawkeyes have divisional games in Iowa City against Wisconsin and Nebraska, they also have Michigan and Ohio State on the schedule this year. With Iowa’s offensive concerns and a fairly demanding schedule, we would look to play the under for the Hawkeyes. Under 7.5 (Ev)

Minnesota Gophers

The Gophers return a number of extremely talented position players this season. For starters, running back Mohamed Ibrahim is back after getting injured in Week 1 against Ohio State and missing the rest of the 2021 season. He is joined by Trey Potts and Bryce Williams in the backfield. Chris Autman-Bell is the Gophers’ star receiver and Tanner Morgan, who has been with Minnesota for what feels like a century, is back under center.

Head coach P.J. Fleck and company should win their first six games, with the exception of Week 3 against Michigan State being a toss-up game. Their road schedule then gets difficult with Penn State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all away from Huntington Bank Stadium; however, the Gophers get Rutgers, Northwestern, and Iowa at home, all of which should equate to wins, which is why we like the over. Row the Boat. Ski-u-mah. Go Gophers. Over 7.5 (-125) 

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Is Nebraska the greatest 3-9 team of all time? We think they might be after all nine of the Huskers’ losses last year came by single digits. Head coach Scott Frost’s team could not seem to find a way to get on the winning side of those close games. This season, Nebraska has a new quarterback in Texas transfer Casey Thompson and a number of new wide receivers.

The Huskers open the season against Northwestern in Ireland, but outside of that game, they don’t have their first true road matchup until traveling to Rutgers on October 7. Nebraska could see success early in the season with so many home games, but we don’t see a large enough turnaround this season for Nebraska to get to eight wins. Under 7.5 (-130)

Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern had a miserable season last year going 3-9 overall and only surpassed 30 points once all year. We expect much of the same for head coach Pat Fitzgerald and crew. They have a difficult road schedule with games at Penn State, Maryland, Minnesota, Iowa, and Purdue. We’re going to take the under and not going to overthink this one. Under 4 (-130)

Purdue Boilermakers

The Jeff Brohm era continues in West Lafayette as the Boilermaker’s head coach enters his sixth season after leading Purdue to a 9-4 record last year. Purdue has high expectations entering 2022 with a number of players from last year’s squad returning. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell is back under center while seven starters return on the defensive side of the ball.

The Boilermakers open the season with a big test against Penn State in West Lafayette but then have a string of very winnable non-conference games against Indiana State, Syracuse, and FAU. However, they have a tough road schedule, facing Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana all away from Ross-Ade Stadium. While we could see the Boilermakers easily getting to seven wins, getting that eighth win could be an issue. For that reason, we’ll take the under. Under 7.5 (-130)

Wisconsin Badgers

After a 9-4 season in 2021, Wisconsin enters 2022 as the favorite to win the West knowing that Paul Chryst’s program is about as consistent as they get. Both their defense and run game should be dominant again this year and quarterback Graham Mertz should have improved this offseason under new offensive coordinator Bobby Engram.

The Badgers have four of their first five games at Camp Randall Stadium and a pretty favorable home Big Ten schedule throughout the season. They hit the road to play at Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa which will undoubtedly be tough, but if they win at least one of those games we like them to go over their season win total of 8.5. Over 8.5 (-140) 

There is your college football big ten teams, and the best of the west. Be sure to stay tuned right here for a breakdown of all your favorite college football teams and conferences.

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