Predicting the 2019 Over/Under Win Totals for the Big Ten

After predicting the 2019 over/under win totals for the ACC and SEC,  let’s turn to the Big Ten — a conference with its own unique scheduling format.

While the ACC and SEC both utilize an eight-game conference schedule, the Big Ten deploys a nine-game format. In theory, this makes the regular season for all their teams tougher with one less non-conference game (sorry to all the “cupcake” programs out there) on the schedule.

That being said, it’s time to dive into my predictions for the 14 Big Ten teams.

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Big Ten East

Ohio State

2018 over/under win total: 10.5

2018 regular season record: 11-1

2019 outlook: Ryan Day takes over for Urban Meyer, and he’s happy to have Georgia transfer quarterback Justin Fields eligible to play immediately. Ohio State avoids big non-conference opponents in 2019, but their late September game at Nebraska should be a challenging test for Day and Fields. The Buckeyes also play at Northwestern on a Friday night and host Wisconsin for their other games against Big Ten West foes. Michigan State and Penn State come to Columbus, while “The Game” against Michigan is in Ann Arbor.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 10.5

Michigan

2018 over/under win total: 9

2018 regular season record: 10-2

2019 outlook: The lasting memories from Michigan’s 2018 season will be a loss as road favorites against Ohio State and a 41-15 defeat to Florida in the Peach Bowl. Despite those two bad results, Michigan had a very strong 2018. Looking ahead to 2019, Michigan will have all offseason to prepare for their Week 2 game against Army and their triple-option attack. They then have a bye week and travel to Wisconsin in Week 4. They’ll finish up October with a trip to Penn State and a meeting with Notre Dame in a revenge game in Ann Arbor. Michigan plays Michigan State and Ohio State in November, but both those games are at home.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 9.5

Penn State

2018 over/under win total: 9.5

2018 regular season record: 9-3

2019 outlook: Penn State has a huge void at quarterback to fill, as three-year starter Trace McSorley graduates. They host Pittsburgh in September in their toughest non-conference tilt, but have a brutal October slate with games against Purdue, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State in four straight weeks. Penn State also draws Minnesota on the road from the Big Ten West and plays late in the season at Ohio State.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 8

Michigan State

2018 over/under win total: 9

2018 regular season record: 7-5

2019 outlook: It seemed like 2018 was going to be a perfect storm for the Spartans thanks to many returning starters and a favorable schedule. However, they failed to meet expectations and the offensive incompetence showed in a 7-6 Redbox Bowl loss against Oregon. As for 2019, Michigan State has an early-season revenge opportunity against Herm Edwards’ Arizona State team in September. Then a tough gauntlet of Big Ten games begins with road trips to Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin in a four-week stretch. Along with Northwestern and Wisconsin, Michigan State’s other cross-division opponent is Illinois.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 7

Maryland

2018 over/under win total: 4.5

2018 regular season record: 5-7

2019 outlook: Maryland had multiple chances to finish bowl eligible in 2018, but fell short with close losses in November to Indiana and Ohio State. Now, Mike Locksley takes over a program that faced plenty of distractions throughout 2018. Maryland hosts Syracuse and Penn state in September, while their cross-over games are at Minnesota, at Purdue and against Nebraska. Maryland hosts Michigan and plays at Ohio State in back-to-back weeks to begin November before eventually closing the year with a trip to Michigan State.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 5

Indiana

2018 over/under win total: 5.5

2018 regular season record: 5-7

2019 outlook: Indiana will have their biggest game of the season in Week 3 when they host Ohio State. They play at Nebraska, host Northwestern and close the year at Purdue as part of their cross-over games. Before playing at Purdue, Indiana gets Penn State and Michigan in back-to-back weeks.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 5.5

Rutgers

2018 over/under win total: 3.5

2018 regular season record: 1-11

2019 outlook: Rutgers is going to have a very low win total going into next season. They play at Iowa and at Michigan in September with a non-conference game against Boston College sandwiched in between. The Scarlet Knights also play Minnesota and at Illinois from the Big Ten West. If Rutgers is going to go over their win total, they’ll have to get there before a bye on Nov. 9 because they close the year against Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 2

Big Ten West

Northwestern

2018 over/under win total: 6

2018 regular season record: 8-4

2019 outlook: Northwestern greatly exceeded their 2018 expectations, which included winning the Big Ten West at 11/1 odds, but the 2019 schedule will make it difficult for the Wildcats to repeat another magical season. They open at Stanford in Week 1 before starting their Big Ten slate with a home game against Michigan State, which is followed by road trips to Wisconsin and Nebraska. Then they get a bye week before closing October with home games against Ohio State and Iowa. Northwestern might be an underdog in five of their first seven games, so I don’t expect too big of a spike in their 2019 over/under win total.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 6.5

Wisconsin

2018 over/under win total: 10

2018 regular season record: 7-5

2019 outlook: Pretty much everything went wrong for Wisconsin in 2018 with losses against the Big Ten’s best and injuries to key players. The Badgers have five straight home games starting in Week 2. Wisconsin plays Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the Big Ten East, which is the toughest trio of cross-division games. Playing back-to-back games against Iowa and Nebraska in November could go a long way in deciding the Big Ten West representative in the conference title game.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 8.5

Purdue

2018 over/under win total: 6

2018 regular season record: 6-6

2019 outlook: Purdue has some difficult non-conference games on their schedule with a Week 1 trip to face Nevada in Reno, followed by home matchups against Vanderbilt and TCU in Week 2 and 3, respectively. Purdue gets a favorable draw from teams they play in the East with Penn State, Maryland and Indiana on the docket. The Boilermakers play road games at Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin during the second half of the year.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 6.5

Iowa

2018 over/under win total: 7.5

2018 regular season record: 8-4

2019 outlook: The biggest thing that sticks out from Iowa’s schedule is that almost all of their tough games are on the road. They head to Iowa State in Week 3, and expect for the Cyclones to be very motivated to knock off their in-state rival. Iowa’s conference road games are against Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Along with Michigan, Iowa plays Rutgers and Penn State from the East.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 7.5

Nebraska

2018 over/under win total: 6.5

2018 regular season record: 4-8

2019 outlook: Nebraska fell short of expectations in Scott Frost’s first season, but there’s plenty to be optimistic about in 2019. Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez returns and could be a sneaky pick to win the Heisman Trophy by the time summer comes around. Nebraska’s marquee matchup in September is a home game against Ohio State, which could be college football’s biggest game that weekend. The Cornhuskers also face Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa at home. Expect Nebraska to make a big jump in 2019 and for the sports betting markets to set a higher win total than the program’s received in recent seasons.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 8

Minnesota

2018 over/under win total: 6

2018 regular season record: 6-6

2019 outlook: Getting to a bowl game was a huge accomplishment for Minnesota in P.J. Fleck’s second season in charge, especially because they beat Wisconsin for the first time since 2003 to gain eligibility. Then the Golden Gophers went and convincingly beat Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl. Fast forward to 2019, where a trip to Fresno State could be a tough non-conference game in Week 2. They avoid Ohio State and Michigan from the East, and have Rutgers, Maryland and Penn State as their cross-over games. November is the most challenging stretch in their schedule with a home game against Penn State, road trips to Iowa and Northwestern and then the regular season finale against a bitter Wisconsin team.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 6.5

Illinois

2018 over/under win total: 3.5

2018 regular season record: 4-8

2019 outlook: Illinois has struggled to win football games in recent years, but there will be a great opportunity to start 3-0 in 2019 with non-conference games against Akron, UConn and Eastern Michigan. They also host Rutgers in a cross-division game where they should be the favorite. The question will be if they can win another conference game — playing Michigan and Michigan State as their other East opponents doesn’t help. Maybe they can catch Nebraska, Wisconsin or Northwestern in a flat spot when those schools travel to Champaign.

2019 over/under win total prediction: 4.5

MORE: Big Ten Football National Championship Odds: Favorite, Dark Horse & More