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Who Will Win The 2018 Big Ten Tournament?

Michigan State (+250) and Purdue (+275) have separated themselves as the two favorites to win the Big Ten tournament this year. If there’s a team that could make a run, though, I’m looking at Michigan to do it for a second straight season at +700 odds. 

I handicap the teams here, with tournament betting info for each team I look at.   

Keep in mind the tournament starts Wednesday and it’s at Madison Square Garden. It’s also a week early, which could prove helpful for the NCAA Tournament with an added week of rest. 

But let’s focus on the now … (And follow along with me on Twitter @JonnyOddsShark for more conference tourney betting info).

Big Ten Tournament Betting Numbers:

Since 2001: 

Faves SU (straight up): 129-53
Faves ATS (against the spread): 90-90-2
OVER/UNDER: 83-96-2

Last two seasons since the 30-second shot clock was introduced:

Faves SU: 19-7
Faves ATS: 15-11
O/U: 13-12-1

Teams Playing Off a bye vs teams not off a bye last five seasons: 

20-6 SU
15-11 ATS

The favorites: 

Michigan State (+250)

Since 2001 in B10 tourney: SU: 22-14, ATS: 17-19, O/U: 11-23-1

Sparty is the No. 1 scoring margin team in the Big Ten (17.5) with the No. 1 field-goal offense and defense in the conference. Sparty also happens to be the No. 1 rebounding margin team in the nation at 11.7 so you’d better make your shots count against these guys. Trouble is, they win a lot but don’t cover a lot in the Big Ten tourney. They’re 10-3 straight up but just 6-7 against the spread over the past five seasons.  

Purdue (+275)

Since 2001 in B10 tourney: SU: 10-16, ATS: 10-15-1, O/U: 11-15

The Boilermakers are the gunslingers of the Big Ten. They own the No. 2 scoring offense (81.1 ppg) and have made more three-pointers than any team in the conference (298). They can play some D too but they’re at their best when they force you to keep up with them. They have cooled off leading into the tourney with one covered spread in their last 10 games. They have four senior starters, though, so I think they’ll bounce back. 

Ohio State (+600)

Since 2001 in B10 tourney: SU: 29-12, ATS: 19-22, O/U: 23-18

The team that nobody seems to really believe in. They just play great team hoops. Their only losses in conference play came against Penn State and Michigan. They’re the No. 1 UNDER team in the nation with an O/U of 9-20 so they can slow the pace down and they have potential Big Ten player of the year Keita Bates-Diop.  

Michigan (+700)

Since 2001 in B10 tourney: SU: 18-16, ATS: 20-14, O/U: 17-16-1

The No. 2 bet in the conference this season at 18-10-1 ATS. The Wolverines went on a mad run last March that saw them win seven of their last eight games to win the Big Ten tourney and make the Sweet 16. They covered six of those. They seem to be doing it again here. They’ve won and covered eight of their last 10 games. 

Team that could go on a run: 

Penn State (+1000)

Since 2001 in the B10 tourney: SU: 10-17, ATS: 16-11, O/U: 13-14

I don’t think this is a team anyone really enjoys playing and PSU needs a B10 tourney run to get into the Big Dance. The Nits swept Ohio State this season and also gave Purdue and Sparty scares. They led the conference in steals and Tony Carr is the Big Ten’s leading scorer (19.6 ppg).  

Best bet this season: 

Nebraska  (+1000) 

Since 2001 in the B10 tourney: SU: 3-6, ATS: 4-5, O/U: 7-2

Brasky is the No. 1 bet in the nation at 21-7 ATS. The Cornballs needed to beat Penn State at home on Saturday (which they did) and now win one Big Ten tourney game to get in, according to NCAA.com writer Andy Katz. They’ll most likely play Michigan on Friday barring a big upset. 

I won’t be touching: 

Maryland (+2500)

Since 2001 in the B10 tourney: SU: 2-3, ATS: 4-1, OU: 3-2

The Turtles are the No. 1 free-throw shooting team in the Big Ten and those kinds of teams often cover spreads like Maryland has at 15-11-1 ATS. But the Terps have only won one road game in conference play and they sport the third-worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the conference. They also have the whole FBI probe mess lingering with former Terp Diamond Stone being named in the Yahoo reports

My pick to win: 

Purdue +275. Also took Michigan +700 on the other side of the bracket. 

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