Big Ten Tournament Best Bets

We’ve previewed the ACC Tournament already and are now moving to another big player in the college basketball world, the Big10 Tournament. With some great teams like Purdue and Wisconsin and one of the winners, Illinois, this could be a very exciting couple of days.

There are not as many players in this field that I think have a legitimate shot as in the ACC. With the Big 10, I almost feel like whoever wins from Wisconsin or Purdue will win the tournament. Let’s talk a little about how to get to the championship first and then give out some picks.

To start, the opening games on Wednesday are both not interesting to me. None of the four really has the capability to make a deep run. They basically should win one game then be done for the tournament. The next round I could see Ohio State, Iowa, and maybe Michigan State with the potential to cause some trouble against the top four contenders. Specifically, I see Iowa as being able to beat Rutgers. Rutgers played Iowa once this year, at home, and they beat them by just 2 points. That doesn’t instill a lot of confidence for me that they can easily advance. I’d take Iowa to beat Rutgers, which means they’d only need to beat Illinois to get to the championship. They lost twice to Illinois by a total of six points. I’ll grab a ticket on Iowa at +400.

In theory, Ohio State might have one of the harder paths to the tournament championship. They’d likely have to beat Purdue, Wisconsin, and Illinois to win. Of those three, they only beat Illinois, but they were reasonably close against Purdue and Wisconsin. I just don’t think it happens – they haven’t been in good form lately, having lost four of their last seven and five of their last 11 games. Michigan State would be a play based only on Tom Izzo and nothing else. Around this time is when his team starts to make their runs. However, the Spartans are just 3-7 over their last 10 games. If I can’t take the ticket on Ohio State for their current form, Michigan State is out of the question too.

Illinois is at +275 to win the tournament, and they should get to the championship game. I don’t know if they win it, but I will take them. This should give me an opportunity to ensure profit if they play Wisconsin or Purdue. If they play someone else, I’m likely not getting +275 on the moneyline. They are capable of winning it, but..

I think it will be Wisconsin. They have shown they can beat just about anyone. Sure, Purdue has been great all year too, but I love the way Wisconsin is playing right now. Again, this is another hedging opportunity. I don’t think Ohio State beats them, so they should make it past. If Purdue is there, I can bet on Purdue to win and make my money back. At +800 Wisconsin is a ticket I want. I think they have better odds to win than +800, so we are getting good value on them to win the entire thing too.

If you want to take Purdue at +175, I would not blame you, but you’re not getting great enough value in my opinion.

Written by David Troy

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