VSiN’s 2021 College Football Betting Guide is now available for order. Get access to over 300 pages of information, including over/under picks for all 130 FBS teams and our experts’ favorite season win total bets right here.
Here is the 2021 CFB betting guide preview for the Big Ten.
THE FAVORITES: OHIO STATE and WISCONSIN
The Buckeyes have won four straight Big Ten titles but once again lost many players to the NFL — 10, tied with Alabama. However, Ohio State lost nine players to the NFL before last season and made it to the national championship game. While loaded with their usual supply of talent, the Buckeyes must replace Justin Fields at QB with a freshman and lose their entire linebacker unit from a defense that was down by recent standards, especially against the pass. Ohio State is still odds-on to win the East Division and the Big Ten (-200) but is not the overwhelming favorite it usually is. Literally every other team in the conference returns more experience except Northwestern, OSU’s opponent in last year’s Big Ten championship game. The Buckeyes get tested immediately by opening on the road at Minnesota, which brings back 10 starters on each side of the ball, and then facing Oregon at the Horseshoe in Week 2.
Wisconsin (7-1) once again leads the pack in the West off a disappointing 4-3 season. The Badgers have Graham Mertz, the most talented QB in their program since Russell Wilson. But Mertz will need help from a running game that compiled only 165 YPG last year. Wisconsin’s defense was up to its usual standard, though, allowing 300 yards and 17.4 points per game. The Badgers do not play a true road game until Oct. 9 but get Notre Dame on Sept. 25 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Nevertheless, a Penn State team off a terrible season and hungry for redemption is not an easy home opener.
LIVE DOGS: PENN STATE and MINNESOTA
The Nittany Lions started last season 0-5, opening with a controversial overtime loss at Indiana, and did not recover until it was too late. Ohio State easily dispatched them in Week 2, and then they lost inexplicably to Maryland and at Nebraska. The Nittany Lions have QB Sean Clifford back as well as a loaded group of running backs and seven of their top eight receivers. Penn State must travel to Wisconsin and Iowa but gets four of its first five games at home, including Auburn and Indiana. The Lions have to go to Ohio State on Halloween weekend but bring back more experience than the Buckeyes and are certainly a program with a chip on its shoulder after last year’s disaster.