2019 Big Ten Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Can Michigan Three-Peat in Chicago?

2019 Big Ten Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Can Michigan Three-Peat in Chicago? article feature image

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michigan State guard Cassius Winston

  • The Big Ten Tournament returns to Chicago this year, as action kicks off on Wednesday with two first-round matchups.
  • Top seed Michigan State (+175) enters as the tourney favorite, but Michigan and Purdue aren't too far behind.
  • There are also a couple sleepers worth considering, which we will also dive into.

Michigan will attempt to do something that no team has ever accomplished at the Big Ten tournament: win it three straight times. A few teams have come close since it began in 1998, but none have finished the job.

John Beilein’s bunch has won the tourney in each of the past two seasons — once as a No. 5 seed and once as a No. 8 seed, the lowest seed to ever win the Big Ten tournament. Although no seed lower than an eight has ever won it, Illinois made the final as a double digit seed in both 1999 and 2008.

Let’s take a closer look at the bracket and examine the futures odds.

2019 Big Ten Tournament Odds, Format

  • Who: All 14 Big Ten teams
  • Format: Top 10 receive a bye; top 4 a double-bye
  • When: March 13-17
  • Where: Chicago, Ill.
  • How to Watch: BTN, CBS
  • Defending Champion: Michigan

Who Should Win

Michigan State +170

Tom Izzo’s crew hasn’t advanced beyond the round of 32 in its past three trips to the NCAA Tournament, but don’t expect the Spartans to falter early on in the conference tourney.

Despite a season-ending injury to guard Josh Langford (foot) and forward Nick Ward’s unknown status (hairline fracture), the Spartans claimed a share of the league’s regular season title en route to a No. 1 seed. And more importantly to bettors, they finished 22-9 against the spread.

The trigger to their triumph is point guard Cassius Winston (19.0 points per game), who owns the nation’s third-highest assist rate (44.8%). The Detroit native can control the tempo at both ends with his sound on-ball defense and timely threes, which he shoots at a 41.3% clip.

Overall, Michigan State boasts the fourth-rated Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (121.5 points per 100 possessions) and the 12th-highest eFG% (56.1%). It is especially productive around the rim, partly due to Winston’s deadly vision in the pick-and-roll.

But the most underrated factor in Sparty’s success stems from their defense. They tallied the ninth-ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (90.7 opponents’ points per 100 possessions) — their  best rating since the 2012-13 season. Even without Ward, Xavier Tillman and Kenny Goins have combined to serve as more than capable rim protectors.

As this team showed in a season sweep of in-state rival Michigan, the Spartans are the team to beat in the Big Ten.

Potential Sleeper

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