Big Ten Odds Preview
With Ohio State and Penn State serving postseason bans, it is back to a ten-team race for this season’s Big Ten’s conference title.
Editors Note: For 2013 conference preview, click here
The main competition will be in the Legends Division as Wisconsin now has a pretty clear path to the Leaders’ Division title. The following is a betting preview for the top contenders in each of the two divisions along with every team’s current odds to win the Big Ten as provided by TopBet.
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Big Ten Legends Division
The Michigan Wolverines appear to be the team to beat as 6/5 favorites to win the division and co-favorites with Wisconsin at 9/5 to win the conference.
The Wolverines are coming off a very successful 11-2 record last season that included a thrilling 23-20 overtime victory against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. The main reason that Michigan is favored is the return of quarterback and Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson to lead the offense.
The team also returns eight starters from a defense that finished last season ranked sixth in the nation in points allowed.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers’ first season in the Big Ten was a bit rocky at times with a 5-4 record in conference play, but as 3/1 second-favorites at TopBet to win the division they are ready to push Michigan every step of the way to get to the Big Ten title game in 2012.
Nebraska has been opened as the fourth-favorites at 11/2 to win the conference title. The reason for such high expectations is the return of 16 starters from last year’s team. The Cornhuskers’ offense will once again feature running back Rex Burkhead, after accounting for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground last year.
The other team at 3/1 odds to win the division is the Michigan State Spartans. They actually have slightly better odds to win the conference than Nebraska at 5/1 (at TopBet).
The Spartans return five starters on offense with junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell taking over for the departed Kirk Cousins. The real strength in this team is the return of eight starters, including six All-Conference players, on a defense that was ranked 10th in points allowed in 2011.
The odds to win the Big Ten for the rest of the teams in the division are Iowa at 25/1, Northwestern at 40/1 and Minnesota at 150/1.
Big Ten Leaders Division
It should pretty much be a one-horse race in the Leaders Division without the Buckeyes and the Lions in the picture, so it is little wonder that the Wisconsin Badgers have been opened as 1/5 favorites at Bovada to claim this title.
The reining Big Ten champions will have some big holes to fill on both sides of the ball with just five starters back on offense and six back on defense.
All-American running back Montee Ball returns but it will be up to Maryland transfer Danny O’Brian to fill Russell Wilson’s shoes at quarterback. The defense will feature a couple of All-Conference linebackers in Chris Borland and Mike Turner.
The odds to win the Big Ten for the rest of the teams in the division are Illinois at 18/1, Purdue at 30/1 and Indiana at 65/1.