Big Ten Tournament Betting Preview: Four Plays for Potentially Wild Week in Indianapolis
Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ayo Dosunmu.
Things have gone completely off the rails in the Big Ten recently.
Here are some of the crazy results in the Big Ten just since Feb. 21:
- Michigan beat Ohio State
- Michigan State beat Illinois
- Michigan beat Iowa
- Michigan State beat Ohio State
- Iowa beat Ohio State
- Maryland beat Michigan State
- Illinois beat Michigan (without its best player)
- Illinois beat Ohio State
- Michigan beat Michigan State
- Michigan State beat Michigan
- Hapless Nebraska won twice
🚨 #B1GNews Alert
Action begins 𝐖𝐞𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲 on @BigTenNetwork. March Is On 🔥
— Big Ten Men’s Hoops (@B1GMBBall) March 8, 2021
It perfectly encapsulates the pure chaos that is the Big Ten. With the conference tournament happening this week, we are sure to witness more anarchy.
Here are teams I’m buying and selling this week in Indianapolis at the Big Ten Tournament:
Big Ten Tournament Odds
Odds as of Monday evening and via FanDuel.
Teams I’m Buying
Illinois is the best bet of the tournament. Brad Underwood’s team has won 11 of 12 games and went 9-3 against the spread (ATS) in that stretch. The Illini are now No. 3 in the most recent AP Poll and have all but clinched a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The key to Illinois’ run has been the play of Trent Frazier and Andre Curbelo. Curbelo has scored in double figures in five straight games, while Frazier has scored more than 20 twice in his last five games.
When more players shoulder the team’s scoring load, it takes pressure off its two stars (Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn) while putting more pressure on opposing defenses. It gives Illinois different avenues to victory, like when Curbelo and Frazier scored a combined 39 points to defeat Michigan without an injured Dosunmu.
Photo Credit: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Ohio State lost four in a row to finish the regular season, but that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes aren’t a talented team. Actually, the losing streak probably means the Buckeyes are due for some positive regression and could be undervalued this week.
Similar to Iowa, I don’t like the Buckeyes in March due to their defensive issues. However, they have a better draw than Iowa.
Ohio State would only need victories over either Minnesota or Northwestern and then Purdue to make the semifinals. Then, it would most likely face Michigan, which might be a good spot for an upset with Eli Brooks’ recent injury.
Photo Credit: G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images
Purdue should be considered a dark horse Final Four contender.
Matt Painter has his team playing well at the right time, having won five straight to end the regular season. Purdue ranks in the top 20 in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom, while being led by a top-10 player in Trevion Williams.
Purdue also managed to snag the last double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament and would need just one victory to make the semifinals. That would likely be a tough matchup with Ohio State, but I still think the Boilermakers present some value at their current price.
Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Michigan State has been streaky but has also proven it can beat anyone when playing well. Since Feb. 20, Tom Izzo’s squad has won five of seven games while beating Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan.
The Spartans also have an interesting road to the conference championship game. If Michigan State could defeat Maryland, it would play Michigan next, a team the Spartans just defeated on Sunday. After that, the Spartans would likely have to beat Ohio State (which they beat already) or Purdue (which they had two close losses to) to make the championship game.
Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Teams I’m Selling
I’ve been preaching all year that Michigan is the best team in the conference. However, with Eli Brooks’ uncertain health and the +160 price, the Wolverines don’t present a lot of value.
Photo Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Iowa’s defense has taken huge steps in recent weeks. However, that defense is still too much of an issue to trust the Hawkeyes in the conference tournament, especially at this price. I don’t see any way Iowa defeats Illinois if they meet in the semifinals.
Photo Credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images
The Badgers had an excellent start to the season but have since collapsed. Wisconsin is just 3-7 straight-up (SU) in its last 10 games and is just 4-9 in Quad 1 opportunities this season. Given its pathetic performances against top teams, it’s inconceivable to think the Badgers could defeat both Iowa and Illinois en route to the championship game.
Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Archie Miller has actively coached his team out of tournament contention. The Hoosiers lost five straight to end the regular season and would have to face Illinois if they beat Rutgers (something I don’t think will happen). Sadly, this has been a tremendous waste of an amazing season from Indiana star Trayce Jackson-Davis.