David Caraviello for Bookies.com

By David Caraviello | | 3 mins

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Big Ten Basketball Betting Guide: Who Challenges Spartans?

Big Ten Basketball Betting Guide: Who Challenges Spartans?
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Can anyone in the Big Ten catch Michigan State? The Spartans are loaded, led by preseason national player of the year Cassius Winston, and primed to build on last year’s Final Four run. Tom Izzo’s team is such a favorite, that even the recurrence of a foot injury suffered by starting wing Joshua Langford — expected to be out until January — hardly affected Sparty’s odds of winning the league. Fans of college basketball betting will have Michigan State on top of their list of national contenders.


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With good reason. While the Big Ten could send five or six teams to the NCAA Tournament, there’s no other squad of Michigan State’s caliber. Maryland has a budding star in Jalen Smith, and Ohio State will be bolstered by Florida transfer C.J. Walker, but the Buckeyes are in a lower tier. Beyond that are questions — Can Purdue win without Carsen Edwards? Can Michigan’s Juwan Howard really coach? How much will Wisconsin miss Ethan Happ? No such questions in East Lansing.

Big Ten Basketball Preseason Odds to Win Conference

TeamOdds
Michigan State+100
Maryland+350
Ohio State+700
Michigan+1000
Minnesota+1200
Purdue+1400
Indiana+2500
Iowa+2500
Wisconsin+2500
Nebraska+2800
Illinois+5000
Penn State+5000
Northwestern+8000
RutgersN/A

Odds via DraftKings are current as of publication. And check out our college basketball futures odds.

Big Ten Betting Tips

Former Michigan and longtime NBA player Juwan Howard takes over as head coach of the Wolverines.
Former Michigan and longtime NBA player Juwan Howard takes over as head coach of the Wolverines.
  • No surprise, Michigan State had the best record among Big Ten teams against the spread last season, going 27-12 — a mark that was also fourth-best nationally. The Spartans were particularly effective as a home favorite, going 12-4, and against ranked opponents, 12-2. Given that Winston and much of the same cast returns, Michigan State should be one of the nation’s best ATS bets again.
  • Purdue was the Big Ten’s best team against the college basketball odds total last season, going over 55.6 percent of the time. But the Boilermakers won’t feature as much offensive firepower having lost both Edwards and Ryan Cline, so it might be asking too much this coming season for them to go over the total as reliably as they did a year ago.

  • CHECK OUT: Ultimate 2019-20 College Hoops Betting Guide


  • Speaking of over/under, mighty Michigan State went under the total in 60.5 percent of its games a season ago, a testament to the tempo favored by Izzo. The presence of star players can make bettors more inclined to go with the over, but remember that coaching styles matter, and having veterans on the court means a more-disciplined outfit will stick to what works.
  • The Big Ten is a league with a large middle class, and that can mean a lot of close games with tight point spreads. No surprise, then, that so many teams last season struggled to win as favorites: Indiana was 6-13, Iowa 6-11, Ohio State 9-10 and Maryland 10-11-1. So keep an eye on underdogs, especially those playing at home — where bettors found value in teams like Minnesota, Penn State and even Rutgers a season ago.
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