Wide-Open Big Ten Tournament Odds Offer Great Value Plays
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Every team in the Big Ten Conference lost at least six games in league play, a stunning number that shows how deep and unpredictable the conference has been. Just as shocking, only two of the 14 teams won fewer than eight games. The Big Ten Tournament begins Wednesday, and the odds reflect the uncertainty on what may happen in Indianapolis this week. For those who enjoy March Madness betting, it offers opportunities.
2020 Big Ten Tournament Odds
The season was wide open, and so too is this tournament. There is no heavy favorite – Michigan State and Maryland lead the way with Michigan and Penn State close behind. The tournament’s No. 1 seed, Wisconsin, is at +700, tied for fourth-highest.
*-You cannot bet on Rutgers in New Jersey. Odds are current as of publication, and you can bet them here:
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Big Ten Tournament Favorites
Michigan State is playing as well as anyone. The Spartans have been an inconsistent bunch, ranking as high as No. 1 in the nation while also falling out of the Top 25 entirely. But they’ve won five in a row, the last four against Iowa, Maryland, Penn State and Ohio State. They have a been-there, done-that attitude that can serve them well.
Maryland has the tools to make a run, but the Terps have lost three of five. If seeds play out, they’d have to beat Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin to win the title. All three of those teams own wins over the Terps this season (1-3 record).
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Darkhorses To Consider
There are so many for college basketball bettors to consider, we need to first pare down the list.
Rutgers was 2-8 on the road and faces a Michigan team in the quarterfinals that beat it handily twice during the season. Minnesota won just two road games all season and hasn’t beaten a good team in more than a month.
Penn State has lost five of six, including a shocker to Northwestern to end the regular season. Its lone win since Feb. 15 was a one-point home squeaker vs. Rutgers. Michigan beat up on the lesser teams but against Maryland, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Iowa, the Wolverines are just 2-7.
Iowa can beat anyone – it beat Wisconsin, Maryland and Ohio State – and lose to anyone – it lost twice to Purdue and went 0-1 vs. Nebraska and Indiana. Illinois earned the No. 4 seed by winning five of six, but none of the wins were against the Big Ten elite. The Illini had lost four straight before the run.
Now let’s talk about some to consider.
Wisconsin is the No. 1 seed but its odds say it should be a little further down the list. The Badgers have won eight in a row and took the Big Ten regular season title without a single player named to the first-team or second-team. They’re 2-1 vs. Maryland and Minnesota but 0-1 or 1-1 vs. most of the middle-of-the-pack teams.
Ohio State had a big mid-season slump but ended the year winning nine of 12. The Buckeyes will have to get by Michigan State in the quarterfinals – a team that beat them to end the season. An upset win there, and a Maryland team looms in which they split the season series.
Big Ten Tournament Picks
It’s a very deep and talented field, and just about every team has a case to make some noise at the tournament. But there are three teams that stand out, based on how well they’re playing now and how they’ve done against the top competition.
Michigan State is a rightful favorite in a crowd of contenders and at +325 is as good a price you’ll see in a favorite of any conference tournament.
Ohio State is at +750 and is battle-tested. Wisconsin is the No. 1 seed and has taken eight games in a row. The Badgers are available at +700.
Ohio State has the best combination of contender status and odds value. Go with the Buckeyes with the Spartans for a low-risk dual bet, with the caveat they play each other in a quarterfinal. The Buckeyes and Badgers offer a higher possible reward.