Hot Reads: What the Public is Telling Us About the Big Ten Win Totals
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: What the Public is Telling Us About the Big Ten Win Totals

June 29, 2018

It has been about a month since South Point Hotel and Casino released it's opening college football win totals. The teams haven't changed since then, but the numbers have (a little bit) after a month of the public betting into the totals.

South Point's sportsbook posted some updated numbers this week, which is sort of an interesting look at the public perception of teams in the Big Ten. Below are the opening numbers alongside the update from June 26 (win total, over odds/under odds):

SCHOOL 5.27.18 6.26.18
Illinois 3.5, Even/-120 4, +100/-120
Indiana 5, Even/-120 5, -115/-105
Iowa 7.5, Even/-120 7.5, +100/-120
Maryland 4.5, -110/-110 5, +105/-125
Michigan 9, Even/-120 9, +110/-130
Michigan St 9, Even/-120 9, -115/-105
Minnesota 6, Even/-120 6, +115/-135
Nebraska 6, -110/-110 6, -140/+120
Northwestern 6, -120/Even 6, -130/+110
Ohio St 10.5, -120/Even 10.5, -115/-105
Penn St 9.5, -110/-110 9.5, -105/-115
Purdue 6, -110/-110 6, -110/-110
Rutgers 4, -110/-110

4, -120/+100

Wisconsin 10, Even/-120 10, +110/-130

Some thoughts:

  • There were just two teams that had their actual win total change, Illinois (3.5 to 4) and Maryland (4.5 to 5). Those are interesting moves in tandem. I can sort of see three wins for the Illini right now and four, maybe, for Maryland, but that's all without factoring in Illinois' trip to Maryland on Oct. 27. That's Nebraska's bye week. You probably weren't clearing out time to watch Illinois-Maryland that day, but for all those people who apparently took the over on the Illini or Terps that game could be huge. (Rutgers has also gotten a little love on the over.)
  • Indiana's number (50 has remained the same, but it has become a little more expensive to take the over, less expensive to take the under. I like that move. I'm a little bit bullish on the Hoosiers in 2018.
  • Michigan and Michigan State are both still at nine wins, but it looks like people trust Mark Dantonio a little more than Jim Harbaugh right now. It has gotten more expensive to take the over on the Spartans, and more expensive to take the under on the Wolverines.
  • The Big Ten West remains muddy in the middle with four teams still at six wins: Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Purdue. It's a pretty fascinating group when you try to figure out where those four will finish in the division standings. It's also a group that includes three up-and-comers in the coaching profession, making things even more interesting. What's the public saying. Based on the small movement in the odds people aren't taking the over on Minnesota, are taking the over on Northwestern and Purdue remains a coin flip. As for the Huskers . . . 
  • I see a few places have bumped Nebraska's win total up to 6.5. South Point hasn't, but the odds are showing the public prefers the over. If you bet this number the day it came out you had to pay $110 to win $100 on either the over or under. Now you have to bet $140 to win $100 on the over, but you can bet $100 and win $120 on the under. The Frost Effect is alive in Vegas.
  • Iowa (7.5) has had basically no movement on its opening odds. Meanwhile it's gotten just a tiny bit more expensive to take the under on Ohio State (10.5) and Penn State (9.5).
  • Wisconsin? Slight shade to the under for the Badgers so far. Wisconsin's nonconference schedule (Western Kentucky, New Mexico, BYU, all at home) offer little resistance. The cross-division draw includes one likely win (Rutgers) and two tough road games (Michigan, Penn State). The Badgers over/under might come down to a pretty simple question: Can a team in the West beat Wisconsin?

The Grab Bag

  • Tom Fornelli of looks at a decade of betting trends in the Big Ten.
  • From a 5-6, 150-pound freshman to a 4-star defensive line prospect. Here's Erin Sorensen's story on Tate Wildeman.
  • Former Nebraska linebacker Andrew Ward is headed back to his home state to play for Central Michigan.
  • ICYMI: Wild mailbag this week including good questions on the pressure on Scott Frost (and his UCF successor), swapping coaches in the Big Ten and more.

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