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2013 Big Ten Conference: NCAA Football Gambling Predictions | Futures

2013 Big Ten Season Football Preview

The Big Ten Conference will have a completely different look next year, but it is the Legends and Leaders once again this season. Wisconsin and Nebraska met in the Big Ten Championship game last season. Ohio State finished the 2012 season undefeated, but they were ineligible for postseason play. Penn State is the only team ineligible for postseason action this year.

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Michigan seems to be on the rise as Brady Hoke continues to recruit very well in Ann Arbor. Even without Bret Bielema, Wisconsin should have a solid year. Northwestern’s program has really taken a big leap thanks to a great coaching job by Pat Fitzgerald.

Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes are loaded again this year. Are there any other worthy contenders in the Big Ten?

Let’s take a look at a few teams that could be fighting for the 2013 Big Ten Conference Championship.

Odds provided are from JustBet.

The Favorite:

Ohio State (-105)

How could the Buckeyes not be the huge favorite in this conference? It’s no secret that the Big Ten hasn’t been great in football over the past few years, but Urban Meyer’s first year as head coach in Columbus has a lot of people around the country fearing this program.

Though the Buckeyes went 12-0 last year, they weren’t a particularly dominating team. A second year in Meyer’s system should be great for the offense. The tempo should be much quicker, which will keep defenses on their heels.

Braxton Miller is going to make a lot of highlight reel plays this year. The secondary is going to get a massive boost from this year’s freshman class. Expect big things from the Buckeyes.

The Contenders:

Wisconsin (+400)

Bret Bielema may be gone, but I expect the Wisconsin Badgers to continue running the football and playing good defense. James White will step in and do a very good job filling Montee Ball’s big shoes. Chris Borland will be healthy this year, and he’ll make his presence known early and often this year from the linebacker spot.

The huge question mark for the Badgers is the starting quarterback spot. It’s hard to imagine this team winning the Big Ten being one-dimensional on offense.

Nebraska (+400)

Nebraska fans are getting understandably restless as they wait for Bo Pelini to try to get the program back to national relevance. Never was it more evident that this team is a long way away from being competitive with top teams than last season.

Despite losing just four games, they were absolutely throttled by Ohio State in the regular season and Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Taylor Martinez is improving, but this defense isn’t good enough.

This team is going to give up too many points in the big games. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Michigan (+500)

Michigan took a step back last year, but this is still a program on the rise in the long-term. The Wolverines have a very difficult schedule to negotiate this year. Michigan must play at Northwestern, Penn State, and Michigan State.

They also host Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Devin Gardner should be a nice weapon for the team to have at quarterback, and Fitzgerald Toussaint should be better again in 2013. Jake Ryan tore his ACL in spring practices, and the Wolverines will badly miss him until he returns (probably late October). Ryan is their leader on the defensive side of the ball.

Michigan State (+500)

Michigan State returns 15 starters from a year ago, so they should have a solid team. Last year’s Michigan State team was a few plays away from having a great record. They finished just 7-6, but the Spartans didn’t lose a single game by more than a touchdown. Four of their six losses came by three points or less.

Can someone lock down the quarterback position? That’s a huge question mark for this team.

The offense can’t lean on its running game as heavily with Le’Veon Bell now in the NFL. The defense should be among the best in the nation again this year, and that will keep this team in every game.

Northwestern (+600)

I’m not sure there’s a coach in the country that has done a better job with underwhelming talent than Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern didn’t have the talent to compete with the best teams a few years ago. That is slowly changing though, and that should have some of the big boys in this conference concerned.

Venric Mark is as dangerous as anyone in the conference with the ball in his hands. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian form a great team at the quarterback spot. Northwestern has a brutal schedule and they do return only two offensive linemen. Still, this is a team that the conference favorites should be very wary of in 2013. The Wildcats are a dangerous bunch.

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Use the College football previews for the 2012 NCAA football season to help you with your college football handicapping at our top sportsbooks online this season.

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