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College Basketball Betting: With Ward Expected Back, Michigan State Favored To Win Big Ten Tournament

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Photo courtesy of freep.com

Opening round action for this year’s Big Ten Tournament gets underway on Wednesday at Chicago’s United Center. This will mark the fourth straight year the tournament is being held at a different venue. Last year’s tourney took place at Madison Square Garden.

The tournament went five straight years with two of the top four seeds meeting in the title game. Two-time defending champion Michigan, however, ended that trend as a no. 8 and no 5 seed.

This year’s tournament should be competitive, especially early on with six teams (Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Penn State) currently ranked between 39th and 46th at KenPom.com. Four of those teams meet in the quarterfinals with Ohio State vs. Indiana and Minnesota vs. Penn State.

Top seed Michigan State is expected to get Nick Ward back. Ward hasn’t played since February 17 due to a hand injury.

It was a dismal year for offense in the Big Ten as it ranked 23rd out of 32 leagues in offensive efficiency. Five teams failed to average over a point per possession in conference play. Only three teams trended over the total; two of which by a single game. The “strongest” over team was Illinois at 16-14 O/U.

Indiana enters the tournament as the hottest team in the league with four straight wins and six straight point spread covers. The Hoosiers had a 12-game stretch in which they topped a point per possession only twice. During their four-game winning streak, they averaged 1.23 ppp.

If you’re looking for a coach to bet on, may we suggest Michigan’s John Beilein who since 2008 has a postseason record of 37-17 SU and 32-19-3 ATS. Most of that damage was done over the last two seasons as the Wolverines went 15-2 SU, 11-4-2 ATS.

Big Ten Tournament Odds
Michigan State +175
Michigan +250
Purdue +300
Wisconsin +800
Maryland +1000
Penn State +2500
Indiana +3000
Iowa +5000
Minnesota +5000
Nebraska +7500
Ohio State +7500
Illinois +10000
Northwestern +20000
Rutgers +20000