If you are thinking about betting on who will win the Big Ten Championship, or each of the divisions, you are placing a futures bet. Many betting parlors allow these bets to be made up until the time the game begins, December 1st, although your best odds will likely be at the beginning of the season, that is, unless you are considering betting a dark horse.
If you aren’t familiar with how futures work, check out an article I wrote a while back, which can be found here.
Many will throw money at the favorite, which is not a bad strategy, if the favorite comes through. Even then, the return isn’t all that great. Some will throw money at a heavy underdog, hoping for a big payday, but that can be a waste of money based on the low probability.
I’ll help you look at how each team has performed against conference opposition over the last 15 years and give some insight on teams who I think have a great shot at making the trip to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and who could bring home the Big Ten Title in 2012.
(1) Illinois Fighting Illini – +550 Leaders/+1800 Big Ten
Schedule analysis: Looking purely at numbers, Illinois has a ¼ chance of making the Big Ten Championship game. Keep in mind, though, they draw Michigan (road) out of the other division, but avoid Iowa, Michigan State, and Nebraska. Wisconsin on the road will be tough.
vs. Penn State – Home team is 8-5, but Illinois is 4-9 (3-4 at Illinois) – Slight lean Illinois
at Wisconsin – Road team is 5-6, Illinois is 3-8 (1-4 at Wisconsin) – Lean Wisconsin
at Michigan – Road team is 7-4, but Illinois is 3-8 (2-3 at Michigan) – Lean Michigan
vs. Indiana – Home team is 11-4, but Illinois is 9-6 (6-1 at Illinois) – Strong lean Illinois
at Ohio State – Road team is 10-3, but Illinois is 3-10 (3-3 at Ohio State) – Slight lean Ohio State
vs. Minnesota – Home team is 5-6, but Illinois is 3-8 (1-4 at Illinois) – Lean Illinois
vs. Purdue – Home team is 7-4, but Illinois is 3-8 (2-3 at Illinois) – Toss up
at Northwestern – Road team is 8-7, but Illinois is 7-8 (3-4 at Northwestern) – Toss up
Verdict: I’ve got Illinois with at least three losses in conference play. You could do much worse by betting on Illinois to win the division. Its not a strong play, but the Illini are a high risk, high reward play to win the division. I would NOT wager on them winning the Big Ten Title.
(2) Indiana Hoosiers – +2000/+6500
Schedule analysis: Looking purely at numbers, Indiana has a ¼ chance of making the Big Ten Championship game. They draw Michigan State (home) out of the other division, but avoid favorites Michigan and Nebraska.
at Northwestern – Road team is 3-8, Indiana is 3-8 (0-5 at Northwestern). – Lean Northwestern
vs. Michigan State – Home team is 6-5, but Indiana is 2-9 (1-4 at Indiana). – Strong lean Michigan State
vs. Ohio State – Home team is 6-5, but Indiana is 0-11 (0-6 at Ohio State). – Strong lean Ohio State
at Illinois – Road team is 4-11, but Indiana is 6-9 (1-6 at Illinois). – Strong lean Illinois
vs. Iowa – Home team is 8-5, but Indiana is 5-8 (3-3 at Indiana). – Lean Iowa
vs. Wisconsin – Home team is 7-6, but Indiana is 2-11 (1-5 at Indiana). – Strong lean Wisconsin
at Penn State – Road team is 5-6, but Indiana is 0-11 (0-6 at Penn State). – Slight lean Penn State
at Purdue – Road team is 7-8, but Indiana is 3-12 (1-6 at Purdue). – Lean Purdue
Verdict: I have Indiana have a slight chance against Penn State, but that is it. Stay away from the Hoosiers when betting on the division and the Big Ten Championship.
(3) Ohio State Buckeyes – No Action (Ineligible)
(4) Penn State Nittany Lions – No Action (Ineligible)
(5) Purdue Boilermakers – +800/+3000
Schedule analysis: Purdue could very will be out of the Big Ten Leaders race by the end of games on October 20th. Their tougher games are a home and they do avoid Michigan State and Nebraska.
vs. Michigan – Home team is 7-4, but Purdue is 3-8 (2-3 at Purdue). – Lean Michigan
vs. Wisconsin – Home team is 5-6, but Purdue is 3-8 (1-4 at Purdue). – Lean Wisconsin
at Ohio State – Road team is 2-9, but Purdue is 4-7 (0-5 at Ohio State). – Strong lean Ohio State
at Minnesota – Road team is 5-8, but Purdue is 10-3 (4-2 at Minnesota). – Lean Purdue
vs. Penn State – Home team is 6-5, but Purdue is 2-9 (1-4 at Purdue). – Toss up
at Iowa – Road team is 2-9, but Purdue is 4-7 (0-5 at Iowa). – Lean Iowa
at Illinois – Road team is 4-7, but Purdue is 8-3 (3-2 at Illinois). – Toss up
vs. Indiana – Home team is 8-7, but Purdue is 12-3 (6-1 at Purdue). – Lean Purdue
Verdict: I have the Boilermakers with two wins (Minnesota and Indiana), possibly four (Penn State and Illinois). Losses to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State likely knock out the Boilers even before November. For now, I would hold off on Purdue, but if they can win at least one of their first three, especially if that game is Wisconsin, definitely consider putting money on Purdue to win the division.
(6) Wisconsin Badgers – -500/+180
Schedule analysis: It will be interesting to see how the Wisconsin/Nebraska game goes. If Wisconsin wins, they will likely be in the national title discussion. If they lose in Lincoln, or at home to Michigan State, will they rest players in their final two games to preserve a shot at the Big Ten title?
at Nebraska – Road team is 0-1, but Wisconsin is 1-0 (0-0 at Nebraska). – Toss up
vs. Illinois – Home team is 6-5, Wisconsin is 8-3 (4-1 at Wisconsin). – Lean Wisconsin
at Purdue – Home team is 6-5, but Wisconsin is 8-3 (4-1 at Purdue). – Lean Wisconsin
vs. Minnesota – Home team is 9-6, but Wisconsin is 13-2 (7-0 at Wisconsin). – Strong lean Wisconsin
vs. Michigan State - Home team is 8-3, but Wisconsin is 7-5 (4-1 at Wisconsin). – Slight lean Wisconsin
at Indiana – Road team is 6-7, but Wisconsin is 11-2 (5-1 at Indiana). – Strong lean Wisconsin
vs. Ohio State – Home team is 5-6, Wisconsin is 5-6 (2-3 at Wisconsin). – Slight lean Wisconsin
at Penn State – Road team is 4-7, but Wisconsin is 6-5 (2-3 at Penn State). – Lean Wisconsin
Verdict: Don’t be surprised if the Badgers are favorites in their final seven games. Remember, they only need to finish ahead of Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue. Against those three combined, they are 13-3 in games played at this year’s venue. A wager to win the division won’t win you much – you have to bet $500 just to win $100. If you are going to bet on the Badgers, its probably best to bet on them to win the division now. If you think they will lose to Nebraska, bet it right after the loss. The same holds true for their chances to win the Big Ten Championship.
(Toss up = 50% chance; Slight lean = 51-67% ; Lean = 68-84%; Strong lean = 85%-100%)
What are your thoughts on the Big Ten Leaders Division and the Big Ten Championship odds? Tweet to us @BVTSB.