Big Ten Conference 2023 Analysis & Betting Preview

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Drew Allar #15 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with teammates during the 2023 Rose Bowl Game against the Utah Utes. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAF Pick: Penn State Over 9½ Wins -145 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Penn State Over 9½ Wins -145
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This is the last time we’ll see the Big Ten with 14 teams. Here’s some betting analysis and a preview of what to expect in this year’s Big Ten Conference for your betting picks.

Key Facts

  • Ohio State has lost C.J. Stroud to the NFL. They’ll have Kyle McCord at quarterback, which could take time for him to develop.
  • Penn State’s Drew Allar saw a solid amount of work in last year’s season at quarterback.
  • Wisconsin’s offense should improve with Tanner Mordecai at quarterback.

Enjoy The Old Big Ten One More Time

The Big Ten won’t be the same next year. So enjoy this “normal” alignment one more time.

The conference will expand to 18 teams in 2024. It might even be more when it’s all said and done. They’ll have former Pac-12 teams like USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon, and there are talks about more teams latching on in the Big Ten.

But for 2023, we don’t have to worry about any of that yet. Let’s take a look at the Big Ten and the teams. Will there be any surprises this year?

The East Division


The Michigan Wolverines are expected to be better than the Ohio State Buckeyes for another season.

Michigan won’t have Jim Harbaugh for the year’s first four games (versus East Carolina, UNLV, Bowling Green, and Rutgers). But those first four games are “cupcake” games for the program.

J.J. McCarthy is back at quarterback after a terrific season last year. He’ll have one of the best running-back duos in college football, playing alongside Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. Both backs could end with over 1,000 yards if they stay healthy and get equal reps.

Michigan added depth to its offensive line and should have one of the best offensive lines in football. The defense brings back seven starters, including Will Johnson and Mason Graham.

Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes are moving on with life without C.J. Stroud. That’s going to sting any program, but Ohio State is one of the best teams when it comes to developing quarterbacks.

Kyle McCord will take over as quarterback for Ohio State. He’s a highly regarded quarterback who is finally getting an opportunity. McCord will have Marvin Harrison Jr., the best wide receiver in all college football. TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams will also lead the running back room.

Those two running backs understand the program and can play very well.

Meanwhile, the defense looks very elite and has a lot of exciting talent, with some players coming from the transfer portal. It might take some time for McCord to get in a groove. That’s why Ohio State will likely be second in the Big Ten East this year.

Penn State

The Penn State Nittany Lions finally have a chance at actually winning the Big Ten this year. Drew Allar will take over quarterback full-time this season after earning reps here and there last year.

Allar could become the best quarterback in the Big Ten. He’s a former five-star recruit by Penn State and already looked incredible when he got the opportunity last year in the back of Sean Clifford.

The passing game should be much better, but also, the running game has Nicholas Singleton, one of the most promising running backs last year for Penn State. He’s going to play with Kaytron Allen at the position. Those two compare to Michigan and Ohio State’s running back duos this year.

The West Division


Wisconsin has Luke Fickell as the head coach of the football program. With Fickell, expectations are high, despite this only being his first year with the program.

The Badgers are returning eight starters on defense and still have Braelon Allen back at running back. They’ll also have transfer quarterback Tanner Mordecai at quarterback. He’s a veteran quarterback with a lot of experience. With the way Wisconsin’s defense will play, if Mordecai scores a couple of touchdowns a game, they’ll win many games.


The Iowa Hawkeyes need to improve their offense heading into 2023. Former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara will lead the way at quarterback this season. That should help. Kaleb Johnson should also be a terrific running back for the Hawkeyes.

Plus, the defense will return Cooper DeJean. He should lead the reason to another strong year.


Minnesota is the third team on my list in the Big Ten West. The Golden Gophers will use Athan Kaliakmanis at quarterback. He’s got so many weapons at receiver and will have multiple starters return on Minnesota’s offensive line.

The defense might regress from last year’s 13.8 points per game, but they’ve always been excellent at developing defensive talent. I wouldn’t worry too much.

Consider This Bet

The Penn State Nittany Lions have a projected win total of 9.5 games. It’s juiced to -140 betting odds.

The top sportsbooks think the Nittany Lions will likely get to ten wins.

I also believe that Penn State’s football team has improved. This could be the year that the Nittany Lions defeat Ohio State and/or Michigan.

NCAAF Pick: Penn State Over 9½ Wins -145 at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.