A year ago, the main argument in the college football world was whether a season was going to happen or not. Now, as life returns to more normalcy with each week, the arguments are back to the classics — who is the national title favorite, who’s winning their conference championship, who’s going to win the Heisman Trophy, and who is going to win the big non-conference games on the 2021 slate.
With no uncertainty surrounding the upcoming season, not only are these arguments back, but college football betting odds are back as well with no “Will these games actually happen?” hesitations.
College football betting not only includes game point spreads but futures as well, like the Heisman Trophy winner or conference championship odds.
*As of June 3.
Ohio State -150
Conference Schedule: @ Minnesota, @ Rutgers, vs. Maryland, @ Indiana, vs. Penn State, @ Nebraska, vs. Purdue, vs. Michigan State, @ Michigan
What to know: No surprise at the top here, considering the Buckeyes have won every Big Ten title from 2017-2020 with a combined conference record of 30-2. Ohio State’s last conference loss came on Oct. 20, 2018 (49-20 at Purdue).
Penn State +600
Conference Schedule: @ Wisconsin, vs. Indiana, @ Iowa, vs. Illinois, @ Ohio State, @ Maryland, vs. Michigan, vs. Rutgers, @ Michigan State
What to know: Penn State was the last team not named Ohio State to win the Big Ten title, doing so in 2016. The Nittany Lions go to Ohio State on Oct. 30, an opponent they’ve lost to by 13 points, 11 points, one point, and one point in the last four years.
Conference Schedule: vs. Rutgers, @ Wisconsin, @ Nebraska, vs. Northwestern, @ Michigan State, vs. Indiana, @ Penn State, @ Maryland, vs. Ohio State
What to know: Under Jim Harbaugh, Michigan has gone 6-2, 7-2, 5-4, 8-1, 6-3, and 2-4 in the conference standings. With 77 percent of its offensive production and 70 percent of its defensive production returning from an abbreviated and disappointing 2020 season, along with Harbaugh signing a contract extension through the 2025 season, the Wolverines expect (and are hoping for) a turnaround year.
Conference Schedule: vs. Penn State, vs. Michigan, @ Illinois, @ Purdue, vs. Iowa, @ Rutgers, vs. Northwestern, vs. Nebraska, @ Minnesota
What to know: The Badgers face the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in BetMGM’s Big Ten title odds in their first two conference games but avoid the top dog Ohio State. Wisconsin has won the West Division four times since 2014 but hasn’t claimed the conference crown since 2012.
Conference Schedule: vs. Indiana, @ Maryland, vs. Penn State, vs. Purdue, @ Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, vs. Minnesota, vs. Illinois, @ Nebraska
What to know: Iowa avoids the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in these odds and gets the No. 2 team at home. The Hawkeyes haven’t finished in the top two in the West Division since 2016.
Conference Schedule: @ Iowa, @ Penn State, vs. Michigan State, vs. Ohio State, @ Maryland, @ Michigan, vs. Rutgers, vs. Minnesota, @ Purdue
What to know: In 2019, Indiana had its first winning season since 2007, finishing 8-5 overall. That carried over to a 6-2 overall record in 2020 with a second-place 6-1 finish in the East Division. The Hoosiers return 80 percent of their offensive production and 81 percent of their defensive production.
Conference Schedule: vs. Ohio State, @ Purdue, vs. Nebraska, vs. Maryland, @ Northwestern, vs. Illinois, @ Iowa, @ Indiana, vs. Wisconsin
What to know: The Gophers get their two toughest opponents (Ohio State and Wisconsin) at home to start and end the regular season. After a breakthrough 2019 season that saw them go 11-2 overall and 7-2 in the West Division, the Gophers regressed in 2020 with a 3-4 finish.
Conference Schedule: vs. Michigan State, @ Nebraska, vs. Rutgers, @ Michigan, vs. Minnesota, vs. Iowa, @ Wisconsin, vs. Purdue, @ Illinois
What to know: Northwestern is coming off of a 7-2 season with a 6-1 finish atop the West Division. But the Wildcats have a ton of standout talent to replace, ranking 126th in the FBS in returning production (34 percent overall, 29 percent offense, 39 percent defense).
Conference Schedule: @ Illinois, @ Michigan State, vs. Northwestern, vs. Michigan, @ Minnesota, vs. Purdue, vs. Ohio State, @ Wisconsin, vs. Iowa
What to know: Nebraska hasn’t had a winning season since 2016 and has finished in fifth place in the West Division from 2017-2020.
Michigan State +5000
Conference Schedule: @ Northwestern, vs. Nebraska, @ Rutgers, @ Indiana, vs. Michigan, @ Purdue, vs. Maryland, @ Ohio State, vs. Penn State
What to know: The Spartans went 2-5 in Mel Tucker’s first season as head coach last year, the second-straight losing season for the program.
Conference Schedule: @ Illinois, vs. Iowa, @ Ohio State, @ Minnesota, vs. Indiana, vs. Penn State, @ Michigan State, vs. Michigan, @ Rutgers
What to know: Maryland returns the most production in the Big Ten and the 10th-most in the FBS (85 percent overall, 86 percent offense, 85 percent defense). But that might not necessarily be a great thing as the Terrapins haven’t had a winning-record roster since 2014.
Conference Schedule: vs. Illinois, vs. Minnesota, @ Iowa, vs. Wisconsin, @ Nebraska, vs. Michigan State, @ Ohio State, @ Northwestern, vs. Indiana
What to know: Purdue has a couple of winnable home games to start, but things toughen up from there for a program that hasn’t won a conference title since 2000.
Conference Schedule: vs. Nebraska, vs. Maryland, @ Purdue, vs. Wisconsin, @ Penn State, vs. Rutgers, @ Minnesota, @ Iowa, vs. Northwestern
What to know: New head coach Bret Bielema has plenty to fix at Illinois. The last winning season came in 2011, and the last conference title was 2001.
Big Ten Winner Odds
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Sam Herder is a writer for BetMGM and HERO Sports. A North Dakota State journalism grad, he spent several years in the print media industry before writing for online outlets. Sam has covered sports at all levels — high school, college, and professional — since 2011.