Michigan football win total prediction: Over 9.5 (-125)
This is one of my favorite win totals of the 2022 season and I’m hammering it whenever I can. There is a legitimate chance that Michigan has already hit this win total going into their final two games of the season, meaning they don’t need to beat Ohio State to get there.
Frankly, this line feels like an overreaction to the losses of guys like Aidan Hutchinson, David Ojabo and Dax Hill. Those guys were great, but Jim Harbaugh has recruited extremely well on the defense and has another group of freak athletes ready to step up. Moreover, both Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy offer optimism at quarterback, especially with Blake Corum carrying the rushing load and Ronnie Bell returning. This is still a great Wolverines team and 9.5 is just an easy over.
Michigan State football win total prediction: Over 7.5 (+100)
It’s understandable why you’d be less than enthused about the Spartans given that they lost the heart of last season’s offense, Kenneth Walker III, and their top pass-catcher, Jailen Nailor, to the NFL. Having said that, Payton Thorne proved to be a serviceable quarterback while Mel Tucker has brought another talented group of transfer running backs in Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard to Michigan State to take over.
Most importantly, I think this defense should be much improved from last season, highlighted by Georgia transfer Ameer Speed entering the fray. It’s a tough schedule for Sparty, but I don’t see more than three sure losses and the team is good enough to win enough toss-ups to get to eight wins.
Minnesota football win total prediction: Over 7.5 (-120)
Minnesota was more than a little disappointing last season but they return a ton of key weapons with quarterback Tanner Morgan, running back Mohamed Ibrahim (coming back from an Achilles injury) and Christ Autman-Bell, among others, back with the Golden Gophers. The biggest addition, however, is the return of offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who was at the helm when this program was on the cusp of winning the West. The only concern is an inexperienced offensive line.
Even still, the back seven on defense should be extremely good while there is talent but highly unproven commodities in the trenches on that side of the ball. This might be a bit risky, but I just see the Golden Gophers at a solid 8-4.
Nebraska football win total prediction: Under 7.5 (+105)
Have to be honest; it feels like 7.5 wins is a massive overreaction to what the underlying numbers said about Nebraska last season. The Huskers went 3-9 but were extremely unlucky by most metrics and Scott Frost’s team also had one of the worst special teams units in the country. With some course correction, this team should go bowling.
At the same time, Casey Thompson is far from a world-beater at quarterback, but the offense should be more stable if they can get a consistent offensive line. My big worries, though, are a defense relying on a host of transfers to replace top-tier players for this team a year ago and a tough schedule for the Cornhuskers. I have this team at 7-5 at best, which is a stark improvement but still enough for the under to hit.
Northwestern football win total prediction: Under 3.5 (+120)
I’m not high on the Wildcats and, frankly, Northwestern could be one of the worst teams in the Big Ten and perhaps in all of the Power Five. Ryan Hilinski showed nothing in his previous stops to suggest he’s a huge improvement at quarterback and, while there is a solid line and decent running backs, this offense was anemic a year ago and shouldn’t take much of a step forward. Meanwhile, the defense was an actual problem last year and doesn’t have a ton to think they make a leap either.
But when you look at the schedule, Northwestern should be 3-0 in the non-conference as they face Duke, Miami (OH) and Southern Illinois. That means one Big Ten win hits the over. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, I don’t see that win coming.