Big Ten Tournament Odds, Tips & Best Bets To Win 2021 Title
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Illinois hasn’t been this good in basketball since the days of Deron Williams and Dee Brown. The Fighting Illini are on track to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, probably no matter what happens at this week’s Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.
Illinois won 11 of its last 12 regular-season games, a run that included a 23-point romp at Michigan, another Big Ten team in line for a top seed in the Big Dance. Illinois won more games than anyone else in the nation’s best conference — but was relegated to the No. 2 tournament seed because the Wolverines, shut down for a month because of COVID-19 protocols, had a better winning percentage.
Don’t let that distinction fool you in March Madness betting. Behind a tremendous inside-outside game, the Illini are loaded, and more than capable of cutting down the nets in Indianapolis — not just once, but twice.
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Latest Big Ten Tournament Odds
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Will Illinois Win Big Ten Tournament?
The math here is pretty straightforward. Illinois won 16 times in Big Ten play, at least two more than anyone else. In the last meeting against Michigan, the Illini hammered them in Ann Arbor. And they present tournament championship college basketball betting odds of +375 that would command any bettor’s attention.
Compare that to top seed and college basketball odds favorite Michigan, at +175. The Wolverines got nearly a month of rest when Michigan shut down athletic activities in January, but Illinois is on the better side of the tournament bracket. Ohio State, the league’s third-best team for most of the season, is on Michigan’s side, as are rejuvenated Michigan State and capable Purdue.
Could Michigan win the thing? Certainly. But Illinois’ track record late this season, compared with their far more valuable odds and easier tournament road, makes Illinois the better bet.
Is Indiana A Good Big Ten Tournament Longshot Bet?
Hey, if you bleed crimson and cream, go for it. But if you’re using any sense, no way. The Hoosiers cratered at the end of the regular season, dropping eight of 11 including the last five to finish with a losing record. Head coach Archie Miller might be on the way out. Indiana is the No. 10 seed in Indianapolis and will be fortunate to win one game. Those +8000 odds may dazzle you, but don’t be fooled — this is a bad team showing barely a pulse, much less signs of going on a miracle run.
Other Teams To Consider
Michigan State: If you’re going to take a flier, the +5000 Spartans are the team to choose. Michigan State has likely played its way back into the NCAA Tournament field by winning five of seven — a run that includes Ws over Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State. This is an elite program with a great coach and the Spartans are starting to put the pieces together, which makes them dangerous.
Iowa: While the +425 Hawkeyes don’t have the overall talent of Illinois or Michigan, they do have a national player of the year candidate in center Luka Garza, averaging a league-best 23.8 points per game. They’re also coming in hot, having won seven of eight to close the regular season.
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Ohio State: The +685 Buckeyes were right there with Michigan and Illinois until suffering a four-game skid to end the regular season. The Buckeyes just couldn’t hit shots down the stretch. But they squandered late leads in two of those games and could be a dangerous No. 5 seed if the offense returns to form.