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Odds Tight In A Highly Competitive Big Ten

The Big Ten has proven to be one of the most competitive conferences in the nation with four teams finishing 2016 with double-digit wins. It’s not just Ohio State and Michigan either, as the likes of Penn State and Wisconsin emerged as conference contenders. 

The Buckeyes open as +165 faves to win the Big Ten crown in 2017, something they have only done once in the past eight years. The biggest piece of the puzzle is JT Barrett, who returns for one last go-around in Columbus in hopes of winning his second national championship. With Curtis Samuel playing on Sundays this upcoming season, filling his production will be important and there is no clear-cut favorite to do so. The defense has had a mass exodus of players (6) but had more leave the season before (9).

Michigan’s offense was solid last season and should continue on the same path with the bulk of the lineup returning plus a stellar recruiting class. Wilton Speight does what is needed of him in the passing game but will be without safety blanket Jake Butt. The Jim Harbaugh- and Don Brown-led defense will be great, but the secondary saw four players split this offseason and filling those holes will be incredibly important.

Did you watch the Rose Bowl last season? Then you are probably excited about Penn State’s chances within the Big Ten. The offense may have the best QB/RB tandem in the country with Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley. Both players are legitimate Heisman hopefuls and the Nittany Lions won the conference last season.

2017 Big Ten Conference Championship Odds

Odds as of April 13, 2017 at BetOnline

  • Ohio State +165
  • Michigan +225
  • Penn State +400
  • Wisconsin +650
  • Michigan State +1800
  • Nebraska +2000
  • Northwestern +2000
  • Minnesota +2500
  • Iowa +2500
  • Indiana +5000
  • Illinois +15000
  • Maryland +15000
  • Purdue +15000
  • Rutgers +25000

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The Big Ten – specifically the East Division – could be filled with some of the best teams in the nation this upcoming season. However, books have pegged the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines as the runaway favorites to win the Big Ten Championship this upcoming season.

Ohio State will be in for a difficult transition as the team had a mass exodus of players leave the program for the NFL this past offseason. The offense alone will need to replace Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, Nick Vannett and Taylor Decker. However, coach Urban Meyer is familiar with this issue and you would be nuts to think he can’t field one of the best teams in the country in 2016.

Jim Harbaugh has completely rejuvenated a Michigan program that has been lackluster for several seasons. The Wolverines have become one of the most attractive teams in the nation for recruits, but the key will be quarterback play for the upcoming season. The team graduated starting quarterback Jake Rudock this past offseason, which leaves Houston transfer John O’Korn the likely starter – though he will face challenge from Shane Morris, Wilton Speight and Brandon Peters.

Iowa and Nebraska – listed at +750 and +900 respectively – have the best odds of any team in the West Division to win the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes shocked many by going 8-0 in conference play last season thanks to a steady offense and stout defense. The Cornhuskers were just mediocre last season, but the trio of Tommy Armstrong Jr., Terrell Newby and Jordan Westerkamp could be lethal in their final campaign.

2016 Big Ten Conference Championship Odds

Odds as of Sept 1, 2016 at Bovada

  • Ohio State +160
  • Michigan +200
  • Michigan State +700
  • Iowa +750
  • Nebraska +900
  • Wisconsin +1600
  • Penn State +2000
  • Northwestern +3300
  • Minnesota +4000
  • Indiana +10000
  • Illinois +10000
  • Maryland +20000
  • Purdue +20000
  • Rutgers +50000

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