2018 Big Ten Early Win Totals Released: Where's The Value?

2018 Big Ten Early Win Totals Released: Where's The Value?

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2018 Big Ten Early Win Totals Released: Where's The Value?

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Big Ten West

Illinois Fighting Illini

The pressure is on Lovie Smith to start winning, and after going way young last year with the roster, this is when the payoff needs to start. The bar isn’t all that high – just double the two wins of last year. Kent State and Western Illinois kick things off – there’s 2-0. But the Illini will likely be underdogs the rest of the way, including at Rutgers. Expect two upsets out of that Rutgers game, Purdue, Minnesota, at Northwestern, and throw the USF game at Soldier Field into the equation. 
What The Early Win Total Should Be:
4.5
Early Win Total: 
3.5
2017 Record: 2-10
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Iowa Hawkeyes

Is the offensive firepower going to be there? The Hawkeyes have a bit of overhauling to do on both sides of the ball, but they have the breaks in the schedule to come up with a great season. Northern Illinois, Iowa State and Wisconsin are all dangerous, and they’re all coming to Iowa City in September. The Penn State game is on the road, but there’s no Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State. The problem? A run of five road games in seven weeks before closing out against Nebraska.
What The Early Win Total Should Be: 7.5
Early Win Total: 7.5
2017 Record: 8-5
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Do the Golden Gophers really have the offensive weapons to start doing more under PJ Fleck? Not really, but this is a better team than the one that won five games. If they can beat Fresno State at home, they’ll be 3-0 – New Mexico State and Miami University the other two games – with Indiana, at Illinois, Purdue and Northwestern still to go. This is a flawed team, but it can get to a bowl game.
What The Early Win Total Should Be: 6
Early Win Total: 6
2017 Record: 5-7
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Nebraska Huskers

Give it a year – Scott Frost isn’t going to work miracles right away. However, even though Akron, Colorado and Troy aren’t going to be bad, expect a 3-0 start with winnable home games against Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois still to go. The Huskers won’t beat Michigan, Wisconsin, or Ohio State on the road, and they’ll have a problem against Michigan State, but they’ll hold their own at Northwestern.
What The Early Win Total Should Be: 6.5
Early Win Total: 6
2017 Record: 4-8
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Northwestern Wildcats

This is as shaky as it gets, mainly because it all revolves around Clayton Thorson’s injured knee. Does Northwestern have the quarterback needed to come through with a strong season? The Wildcats get Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Notre Dame in Evanston, but it’ll be a battle to win more than two of those, if any. The road games aren’t bad outside of the trip to Michigan State, and they have to open up at Purdue. If the QB situation isn’t solid, the Cats aren’t going bowling.
What The Early Win Total Should Be: 5.5
Early Win Total: 6
2017 Record: 10-3
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Purdue Boilermakers

Yeah, there might be a ton of excitement about Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers after a breakthrough season, but this is a bit of a rebuild, especially on the defensive side. It’ll be a season full of sneaky-tough games. There aren’t a slew of bad road games – Michigan State is the worst, and four of the five are against teams that didn’t go bowling – but there are still home dates against Ohio State and Wisconsin to deal with. Like last season, it’ll likely taketh regular season finale against Indiana to get to six wins.
What The Early Win Total Should Be: 5.5
Early Win Total: 6
2017 Record: 7-6
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

Wisconsin Badgers

Unlike last season, the Badgers will be tested with a nasty schedule. And unlike last year, there will be a passing game to go along with the great ground attack and killer defense. For a team with College Football Playoff aspirations. having to go to both Penn State and Michigan is a problem, and road dates against Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue won’t be layups. However, if the Badgers really are that good, they split the dates with the Wolverines and Nittany Lions and roll through the rest.
What The Early Win Total Should Be: 10.5
Early Win Total: 10
2017 Record: 13-1
Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

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