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Big Ten Basketball Championship Odds: Michigan leads the pack

Isaiah Livers' Wolverines are the favorites in the Big Ten basketball championship odds.

The college basketball regular season has come to an end and conference championship tournaments are in full swing. Luka Garza’s Iowa Hawkeyes were the preseason favorites in Big Ten basketball championship odds, but in the midst of the conference tournament the Michigan Wolverines are now the chalk after winning the regular-season title.

Winning the Big Ten will go a long way when it comes to seeding for the March Madness tournament, especially considering five teams in the Big Ten Conference are ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.

Online sportsbook Bovada has updated the Big Ten basketball championship odds with Michigan as the favorite at +145 followed by Illinois at +220, Iowa at +325, Ohio State at +700 and Purdue at +1100 to round out the top five teams on the oddsboard.

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2021 Big Ten Basketball Championship Odds

Michigan Wolverines+145
Illinois Fighting Illini+220
Iowa Hawkeyes+325
Ohio State Buckeyes+700
Purdue Boilermakers+1100
Wisconsin Badgers+1200
Rutgers Scarlet Knights+2500
Maryland Terrapins+5000

Odds as of March 12 at Bovada

New to betting on college hoops? Be sure to check out our NCAAB Betting Guide to help get you in the game. Also, keep an eye on our college basketball odds page for the latest up-to-date betting lines.

Why is Michigan the Favorite?

Michigan (19-3 SU) put together a fantastic campaign. The Wolverines closed down the season with an impressive record, falling only to then-No. 23 Minnesota, then-No. 4 Illinois and a surging Michigan State team in the final game. Not only did the Wolverines win at a high rate, but they were also a strong play against the spread, covering in 16 of their 22 games.

One of the key reasons for Michigan’s success is its depth, with eight players averaging more than 10 minutes per game. Another is its strength in the paint, with center Hunter Dickinson and forward Isaiah Livers leading the team with 14.3 and 13.7 points per game, respectively.

With such a talented frontcourt, the Wolverines can really control the tempo. They have the 21st-best rebound margin in the country, helping their possession numbers that factor directly into their offensive and defensive numbers. 

Outside of its losses to Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan State, Michigan has won 15 of its 19 games by double digits, which makes the Wolverines worthy of being the favorite in the Big Ten basketball championship odds.

Which Team is Providing Better Value than Michigan?

Looking at the Big Ten odds, there is plenty of value to be found with five nationally ranked teams within the conference. Several weeks ago, I wrote about the value of the Iowa Hawkeyes at +600; their odds have now plummeted to +325, third on the oddsboard. That said, I still believe they are providing better value than the +145 Michigan is offering. 

There was a lot of love for the Hawkeyes heading into the season and perhaps rightfully so with Naismith Player of the Year favorite Luka Garza leading the charge. He finished third in the nation in scoring at 23.8 points per game, though he has scored 77 more total points than the next closest player.

Iowa has fallen seven times on the season, which may be slightly concerning, though four of those losses came against ranked teams, including Gonzaga in mid-December. Four defeats were by seven points or less and we could be singing a different tune for the Hawkeyes had two of those flipped the other way. 

The squad has good depth, though it is rather dependent offensively on Garza. The other portion of Iowa’s game that I love is ball distribution, with the Hawkeyes averaging the most assists per game in the nation at 19.2. If the Hawkeyes can put things together in the tournament, their Big Ten basketball championship odds of +325 are definitely worth a shot.