Big Ten Odds Report: After Eight Straight Wins, How Strong is Maryland?
After narrowly escaping a game on their home-floor against lowly Nebraska on Wednesday, the Terrapins rebounded nicely on Saturday, with a very impressive 67-60 come-from-behind win over Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans.
The win capped off another perfect week for the Terps (21-4, 11-3 B10), and lifted them all the way up to 7th in the latest rendition of the AP and Coaches Polls.
Maryland has now won four straight road conference games and will have their work cut out for them if they hope to win the regular season conference title outright. Maryland has home games remaining against Michigan and Michigan State with road trips to Ohio State, Minnesota and Rutgers in between.
All five of those schools are projected to be in the NCAA Tournament next month.
Oddsmakers have the Terps currently listed as the short favorites to win the Big Ten Conference Tournament as their Big Tens odds sit at +350.
If you’re thinking more long-term, they are +275 to reach the Final Four and +1500 to bring home the National Championship.
February 18: vs. Northwestern (6-18, 1-13 B10); February 23: at #25 Ohio State (17-8, 7-7 B10)
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Penn State is No Longer Just a Football School
It’s probably time to start taking the Nittany Lions (20-5, 10-4 B10) as a serious contender to not only the Big Ten Championship, but a potential National Championship as well.
Penn State’s winning streak has now reached eight games with a pair of double digit wins over Purdue and Northwestern, and the Nittany Lions are a game behind the previously discussed Maryland Terrapins for first-place in the conference.
Senior forward and Wooden Award finalist Lamar Stevens continues to lead Penn State with 17.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, while sophomore Myreon Jones is chipping in 14.1 points per night and shooting a blistering 41% from three.
This tandem is a big reason why you would be foolish to overlook this year’s iteration of the Penn State basketball team.
Up next in the gauntlet that is the Big Ten, Penn State will get to square off against a tough Illinois team on Tuesday before heading to Bloomington on Sunday to meet an Indiana team in dire need of a big win.
Entering this week, oddsmakers have woken up to the Nittany Lions success and currently list their Big Ten odds at +400. They’ve also seen their National Championship futures odds get a boost at +3000.
February 18: vs. Illinois (16-9, 8-6 B10); February 23: at Indiana (16-9, 6-8 B10)
The Log Jam in the Middle of the Big Ten Standings
We’ve talked at length about the quality of the Big Ten Conference this season, and if you haven’t been keeping close tabs on this conference, all you’d need to do is take a gander at the standings to see just how competitive this conference is this season.
Five schools (Iowa, Michigan St., Rutgers, Illinois and Wisconsin) are all within three games of first-place Maryland in the standings, with Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue all a game behind them.
In this weeks version of “AP Poll Musical Chairs”, only four teams from the Big 10 have cracked the Top 25, but they still are projected to get a whopping 10 teams into the NCAA Tournament next month, with Indiana and Minnesota still potentially being able to play themselves back into the field of 68.
With all that said, here is a quick overview of the other eight contenders in the conference heading into this week’s play:
No. 20 Iowa Big 10 Tournament Odds (+500)
The Hawkeyes (18-8, 9-6 B10) avoided a really rough week when they were able to erase a late-deficit against Minnesota in Minneapolis on Sunday. This came after a 12-point road loss at the hands of Indiana on Thursday.
Iowa continues to be a team that is borderline dominant at home, while looking like an entirely different team away from Iowa City. Luka Garza averaged 26 points and 8 points per game last week and remains a front-runner for the Wooden Award.
They’re soundly in the field of 68 as of today, but will need to figure out how to improve away from home for any hope at a deep run in either postseason tournament.
Michigan State Big 10 Tournament Odds (+400)
Preseason #1 Michigan State (17-9, 9-6 B10) continues to be a very up-and-down squad, and last week was no different with a narrow 70-69 road win over Illinois before their previously mentioned 7-point home loss to Maryland.
The Spartans schedule down the stretch is in one word: gruesome.
After a road-trip to Lincoln to face Fred Hoiberg’s rebuilding Nebraska team, Sparty gets to host Iowa before traveling on the road again to meet Maryland and Penn State, before wrapping up the regular season against Ohio State at home.
This is all setting up for Sparty to either surge to the top of the Big Ten standings, or to potentially be a very dangerous 4-6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers – Odds to Win Big 10 Tournament (N/A)
Barring complete catastrophe Rutgers (18-8, 9-6 B10) appears to be heading towards their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 29 years, and it’s their dominant play at home that is the biggest reason why.
This was on display yet again during a thorough 72-57 beating of Illinois on Saturday.
The Scarlet Knights are a perfect 17-0 on their home floor, but have struggled mightily on the road with a 1-6 record.
Rutgers remaining five games on their schedule are a virtuoso Big Ten Tournament in its own right, with games against Michigan and Maryland at home and road visits against Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue left to go.
Due to New Jersey state regulations regarding betting on colleges/universities, there are no current Big Ten Tournament futures odds on Rutgers to report. However, they are listed at 60-to-1 currently in the Vegas sportsbook market to give you a general idea of what oddsmakers are thinking about Rutgers’ chances at a deep run in March.
Illinois – Odds to Win Big 10 Tournament (+1000)
Illinois (16-9, 8-6 B10) is coming off a rough week that saw them not only losing both games against Michigan State and Rutgers, but they also lost leading scorer Ayo Dosunmu with a knee injury.
Dosunmu’s injury was fortunately not as bad as it looked however, and the sensational sophomore guard should be able to return this season (and maybe as early as this week when they travel to face #9 Penn State).
Regardless though, the Illini have hit a bit of a slump after a red-hot start to their season, as they have now lost four-straight games after starting the season 8-2 in conference play.
Their tournament standing appears to be safe, and with games on the horizon against bottom feeders Nebraska and Northwestern, they should have enough to get over the hump heading into March.
Wisconsin – Odds to Win Big 10 Tournament (+5000)
To give you an idea of how deep this conference is, the Badgers (15-10, 8-6 B10) find themselves in seventh-place in the Big Ten with 10 losses and are approaching lock status in the NCAA Tournament a month from now.
Like every team not named Nebraska or Northwestern, Wisconsin is especially strong at home where they have won 11 of 12 games this year.
That bodes very well for them this week as they play a pair of games in Madison against Purdue and Rutgers, with hopes of getting the much-desired double bye in the Big 10 Tournament.
Speaking of the Big 10 Tournament, you may want to consider putting a little bit on the Badgers right now at 50-to-1, if for anything else the very odd value they carry right now.
No. 25 Ohio State Big 10 Tournament Odds (+650)
The Buckeyes (17-8, 7-7 B10) re-entered the AP Top 25 poll this week after sweeping a pair of home games against Rutgers and Purdue, giving them five wins in their last six games.
Ohio State has had a very up-and-down season to date, as they started the season 11-1 and climbed to #2 in the polls before losing six of seven and starting conference play 2-6.
But since that mid-season slump, the Buckeyes have discovered their previous form and are playing some of the best basketball in the conference.
In a Big Ten that is largely devoid of perimeter scoring threats, Ohio State leads the conference with a 37.3% shooting percentage from 3-point range. Big man Kaleb Wesson gives the Buckeyes a means to space the floor and makes this Ohio State team a very dangerous one going forward, especially if they are underseeded like Michigan State may be.
Michigan – Odds to Win Big 10 Tournament (+1000)
Outside of Maryland and Penn State, one could argue that no one else in the Big Ten is playing at the quality that Michigan is right now.
The Wolverines (16-9, 7-7 B10) got their best player, Isaiah Livers, back from injury and now when paired with fellow senior guard Zavier Simpson boast one of the best backcourts in the nation.
Michigan is coming off a week where it absolutely throttled Northwestern and Indiana by 25 and 24 points respectively and now face a tough finish with four of their last six games coming on the road.
Regardless of that though, rest assured that this is a Michigan team that no one in the Big Ten is overly eager about facing right now.
Purdue – Odds to Win Big 10 Tournament (+2000)
The Boilers (14-12, 7-8 B10) appeared to be turning a corner after winning three-straight, but ran into the buzzsaws that are Penn State and Ohio State and now find themselves in need of a strong finish to the season to help their NCAA Tournament at-large candidacy.
Purdue follows the trend of playing like an entirely different team when they leave their home floor, as they have gone just 2-6 on the road this season in conference play.
Fortunately for the Boilermakers, three of their final five games are on their home floor before making the short road trip to Indy for the Big 10 tournament in March.
Big Ten Betting Nuggets
- Maryland is 7-2 ATS in their L9 games
- Penn State is 7-0-1 ATS in their L8 games
- Iowa OVER is 4-2 in their L6 games
- Michigan St. is 0-5 ATS in their L5 games
- Rutgers OVER is 6-2 in their L8 games
- Illinois UNDER is 4-2 in their L6 games
- Wisconsin is 4-1 ATS in their L5 games
- Ohio State UNDER is 5-2 in their L7 games
- Michigan is 5-1 ATS in their L6 games
- Purdue OVER is 6-2 in their L8 games
- Indiana is 1-5 ATS in their L6 games
- Minnesota UNDER is 6-1 in their L7 games
- Nebraska OVER is 7-2 in their L9 games
- Northwestern is 3-7 ATS in their L10 games