Big Ten Bets Week 1: Michigan Wolverines Get a Quick Start

Ready for more Big Ten Bets?

Week 1 is already underway with two Thursday night games. Thank you, Sean Clifford! There are two more games tonight before seven more B1G take the field on Saturday, six making their season debuts.

Scared money, don’t make money. Let’s eat!

B1G Bets (This Week: 1-0):

INDIANA -1 Illinois (DraftKings) FRIDAY

Let’s start in the hotbed of college football tonight in Bloomington, Indiana. Last year, the Indiana Hoosiers were the most overrated team in college football. While I’m not high on them, they are a bit underrated heading into the 2022 campaign.

The amount of attrition IU dealt with last season was unparalleled, with 20 players going down with season-ending injuries and another ten who missed five games or more. With guys returning to health and an influx of transfers (see RB Shaun Shivers), they will be better on both sides of the ball. That’s a fact. Is that good enough to make it to a bowl? Likely, not, but I don’t see Illinois reaching six wins either.

Illinois played last week, which history tells us gives a slight edge to Indiana. One, they’ve got some tape. Meanwhile, IU hasn’t even announced their starting QB. Two, the Hoosiers have been able to focus solely on the Illini leading up to this game.

I hear many people are taking the Illini as if this is an easy pick, and I am delighted to zig while most are zagging. The line is down to IU -1 at DraftKings. But be patient, we might be talking points by kickoff. 

Indiana: Probable: WR D.J. Matthews Jr.

Illinois: Out Indefinitely: QB Donovan Leary | Out: RB Josh McCray

Total: 46.5 | Money Line: Indiana -120 | Illinois +100

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET; TV: FS1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman) 

Location: Bloomington, IN | Stadium: Memorial Stadium (52,929)

Indiana: AP Top 25: NR | Coaches Poll | NR | SP+: 86

Illinois: AP Top 25: NR | Coaches Poll | NR | SP+: 79

MICHIGAN -30.5 Colorado State (FanDuel)

We’re returning to Ann Arbor, where the Michigan Wolverines were one of the best cover teams in college football last season. Against the two non-Power 5 opponents Michigan faced in 2021, they scored 47 and 63 points in 33 and 53-point wins.

But those were against MAC schools, Danny. Isn’t Colorado State better? The Rams are 96th on SP+, just ahead of No. 97 Western Michigan and No. 98 Eastern Michigan. So, they’re basically a Michigan directional school.

It wasn’t just the offense dominating those blowout wins against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. The defense gave up 14 and 10 points in those games, and reports of their defensive demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Michigan: No Injuries Reported

Colorado State: No Injuries Reported

Total: 61.5 | Money Line: Michigan -4500 | Colorado State +1600

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: ABC (Marc Jones, Robert Griffin III)

Location: Ann Arbor, MI | Stadium: Michigan Stadium (109,901)

Michigan: AP Top 25: 8 | Coaches Poll | 6 | SP+: 6

Colorado State: AP Top 25: NR | Coaches Poll | NR | SP+: 96 

Michigan Wolverines OVER 46

With the quarterback battle bleeding into the regular season, we could see the Wolverines throw the ball deeper into the game than you might anticipate in a blowout, and the offense will be more explosive this year. Both returning starter Cade McNamara and Week 2 starter J.J. McCarthy are capable of putting up points against CSU on Saturday.

Running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are studs, threats to take it the distance every time they touch the ball. Moreover, the stable of receivers is deeper than the red sea. Their top six pass catchers return from last season, which includes tight end Erick All, but doesn’t Andrel Anthony, whose 93-yard catch was their longest reception of 2021, or wideout A.J. Henning, who had their longest TD run (74 yards). Plus, they get Ronnie Bell back, who led them in receiving in 2019 and 2020.

They will all flourish thanks to an offensive line that was already among the best in college football, getting even better with the addition of center Olusegun Oluwatimi (UVA transfer).

Rutgers Scarlet Knights UNDER 20.5 (DraftKings)

When coach Greg Schiano met with the media earlier in the week, he didn’t reveal who RU’s QB1 is, but does it matter? We already know what Noah Vedral is, an efficient passer with the inability to push the ball down the field. This is why Rutgers fans (hello out there!) are clamoring for Gavin Wimsatt, an early enrollee in 2021. It’s likely one of those two, although Evan Simon hasn’t been officially ruled out.

The problem is, while Wimsatt is highly rated, he was considered raw coming out of high school, and he likely isn’t ready to be a difference maker against Power 5 competition. The run game isn’t any better (124 in FCS in yards per rush before contact).

RU’s offense ranked 124th in EPA per pass and 89th in EPA per run last season. In 13 games (remember, they played in the Gator Bowl despite their 5-7 record), the Scarlet Knights scored more than 20 points three times, once in 11 Power 5 games.

The offensive line could be better, but that’s making many assumptions about three transfers jelling in time to make an immediate impact. That won’t be easy against a BC defense that should be solid in stopping the run. The Eagles also have an excellent secondary, making it difficult for RU to score many points.

Boston College: Out for Season: TE Joey Luchetti, OL Christian Mahogany

Rutgers: Out for Season: DE Mohamed Toure, LB Moses Walker | Questionable: RB Aaron Young

Spread:  BC- 7.5 | Total: 47.5 | Money Line: Boston College -310 | Rutgers +245

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET; TV: ACCN (Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich)

Location: Chestnut Hill, MA | Stadium: Alumni Stadium (44,500)

Boston College: AP Top 25: NR | Coaches Poll: NR | SP+: 70

Rutgers: AP Top 25: NR | Coaches Poll: NR | SP+: 80