So far the Big Ten Conference Tournament has gone chalk with all four top seeds advancing to today’s semifinal round.
In the first game on the slate, No. 1 Indiana will play No. 4 Wisconsin in college hoops betting action. The Hoosiers have been opened as 6.5-point favorites even though the Badgers are 10-0 straight-up and 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 meetings.
Then the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes square off against No. 3 Michigan State. This series is tied 3-3 SU in the last six meetings, including a split this season. The Spartans have a slight 3-2-1 edge ATS over those half-dozen contests.
The top four seeds in the Big Ten Tournament take to the court in today’s quarterfinals starting with No. 1 Indiana as a 9.5-point favorite on the opening line against No. 8 Illinois. The game of the day pits No. 4 Wisconsin against No. 5 Michigan with the Wolverines favored by 3.5 points.
The bottom half of the bracket kicks things off with No. 2 Ohio State facing No. 10 Nebraska. Friday’s late game pairs No. 3 Michigan State against No. 6 Iowa. The Spartans have won the last five meetings straight up and went 4-1 against the spread.
Indiana picked up the regular-season title, but the quest for the Big Ten Tournament crown gets underway this Thursday with first-round action from the United Center in Chicago.
The highest eight seeds will be paired off in the opening round starting with No. 8 Illinois against No. 9 Minnesota. Just a half a game separated these two in the standings and they split the season series with the road team winning both straight-up and against the spread.
5Dimes has opened the Golden Gophers as 2-point favorites for this game and the winner advances to Friday’s quarterfinals to face the No. 1 Hoosiers.
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Game 2 on Thursday pits No. 5 Michigan against No. 12 Penn State. The Wolverines went 12-6 SU in conference play and come into this matchup as 14.5-point favorites.
However, they were stunned by the Lions 84-78 the last time they met as 13-point road favorites. The winner here draws No. 4 Wisconsin in the next round.
No. 7 Purdue will square off against No. 10 Nebraska in the third game on Thursday’s slate. The Boilermakers faded down the stretch with a 4-7 SU record in their last 11 games but they have been opened as 5.5-point favorites over the Cornhuskers.
Purdue won both regular season games SU and ATS and will try and pull off the sweep to earn a shot at No. 2 Ohio State in the next round.
First-round action wraps up with No. 6 Iowa taking on No. 11 Northwestern. The Hawkeyes come in as 9.5-point favorites after posting a 9-9 SU record in Big Ten play that included two victories over the Wildcats by a combined 34 points. The winner of this matchup will go up against No. 3 Michigan State in the late game on Friday night.
While the top four teams have a distinct advantage with the first-round bye, the team that probably offers the most value this week is Michigan (assuming the Wolverines avenge that loss to Penn State) given that it is more than capable of beating any of the top seeds.
Big Ten Conference Tournament Odds - courtesy of 5Dimes:
Ohio State +320
Michigan State +425
Penn State +100000
Thursday, March 14- First Round
12 PM ET – No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Minnesota
3:30 PM ET – No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 12 Penn State
6:30 PM ET – No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Nebraska
9 PM ET – No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern
Friday, March 15- Quarterfinal Round
12 PM ET – No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 8/9
3:30 PM ET – No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5/12
6:30 PM ET – No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 7/10
9 PM ET – No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 6/11
Saturday, March 16- Semifinal Round
1:40 PM ET – No. 1/8/9 vs. No. 4/5/12
5:10 PM ET – No. 2/7/10 vs. No. 3/6/11
Sunday, March 17- Championship Game
3:30 PM ET – Winner Semifinal 1 vs. Winner Semifinal 2
It should be a very interesting Big Ten tournament this year as the two favorites to win the conference tournament, Ohio State and Michigan State, are also favorites to do damage in the NCAA Tournament.
Defending champion Ohio State opened as the slight favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament at +150 at TopBet despite an inconsistent year earning them the No. 3 seed. Michigan State isn’t far behind at +250 and earned the tournament’s top seed. Michigan is at +300; all three finished with a 13-5 conference record.
The tournament tips off Thursday morning with a matchup between the No. 8 Iowa Hawkeyes and the No. 9 Illinois Fighting Illini. While the seeds and season records may look close, this series hasn’t been of late; Illinois is 9-1 straight up and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games against Iowa, including a 5-0 SU and ATS run over the last five games against the Hawkeyes.
Tied with Nebraska for the worst conference record of 4-14 and the longest odds to win this tournament at +10000, No. 12 Penn State will do its best to put up a fight against No. 5 Indiana. Penn State is 6-4 straight up and 6-3-1 ATS in its last 10 against Indiana, but lost both games to the Hoosiers in 2012. The total has gone UNDER in eight of the last nine games between these two teams.
While Illinois and Iowa are seeded closer, the first round’s most competitive match may be No. 7 Northwestern against No. 10 Minnesota. Northwestern is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games coming into the tournament.
There isn’t much to like about the No. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers against the No. 6 Purdue Boilermakers on Thursday. Nebraska finished 12-17 straight up and 9-16 ATS this season, including an 83-65 loss to Purdue back in February.
Check out the live Big Ten odds and see matchup reports and betting trends on every game.
Big Ten Conference Tournament Odds - courtesy of TopBet:
Ohio State +150
Michigan State +250
Penn State +10000
Thursday, March 8 - First Round
11:30 AM ET - No. 8 Iowa vs. No. 9 Illinois (Game 1)
25 min. after Game 1 - No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Penn State (Game 2)
5:30 PM ET - No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Minnesota (Game 3)
25 min. after Game 3 - No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Nebraska (Game 4)
Friday, March 9 - Quarterfinals
Noon ET - Game 1 Winner vs. No. 1 Michigan State (Game 5)
25 min. after Game 5 - Game 2 Winner vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (Game 6)
6:30 PM ET - Game 3 Winner vs. No. 2 Michigan (Game 7)
25 min. after Game 7 - Game 5 Winner vs. No. 3 Ohio State (Game 8)
Saturday, March 10 - Semifinals
1:40 PM ET - Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner (Game 9)
25 min. after Game 9 - Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner (Game 10)
Sunday, March 11 - Championship Game
3:30 PM ET - Semifinal Winners