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The five best Big Ten bets heading into the 2021 football season

Here’s who you should be throwing your money at ahead of this season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 Michigan State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sports betting has been legal for over a year now in the state of Michigan and we have previously dabbled in a bit of that here at MnB. We will continue to do that as we move into the season and return to a normal schedule.

With that in mind, I poured over some of the betting odds in the conference and tried to pull some that stuck out to me ahead of the new year. There are a lot of angles to take and we will do a deeper dive as the season gets closer, but this is a nice appetizer in early August.

Ohio State at -170 to win the Big Ten is the bet most likely to cash this year, but that’s boring and taboo around these parts. Here we are going to look at a few of my favorite bets heading into the season.

Note: These are not predictions for the season and each bet is separate from the other. We’re just giving you options to choose from. All odds come from DraftKings.

Wisconsin: Big Ten champions (+600)

A $100 bet would pay out $700

Ohio State is a pretty hefty favorite to run the table through the Big Ten again, but Wisconsin might have the best shot of preventing them from winning a Big Ten title. Graham Mertz still oozes potential and a betting man would think they won’t struggle to run the football for the second year in a row. Defensively, you always know what you’re going to get here. This isn’t a prediction they’ll win it, but it doesn’t feel like OSU’s gap on the rest of the conference is as wide as it typically is.

Minnesota: Big Ten West champions (+900)

A $100 bet would pay out $1000

Anyone who listened to our Minnesota preview podcast won’t find this pick as much of a surprise. Wisconsin is probably the team to beat in the West this year, but the gap between them and Iowa and Minnesota is not that large. I like what Tanner Morgan brings and Mohamed Ibrahim might be the best back in the Big Ten. Knowing the roulette wheel that is the West Division and P.J. Fleck’s past successes, this is a good number to jump on.

Penn State: Under 8.5 wins (+105)

A $100 bet would pay out $205

Penn State plays at Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan State and has home dates with Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, and Auburn. They have one of the toughest schedules in the conference and struggled for most of the pandemic season. I don’t know that they’ll take the big step forward that some are projecting this year and the value of the under with the schedule they have is too good to pass up.

Michigan: Over 7.5 wins (-115)

A $100 bet would pay out $186.95

The assumption in making this bet would be that Michigan goes at least 8-4 this season. Some people would say that's too optimistic while others will say that’s too pessimistic. I think there are at least six wins on Michigan’s schedule, meaning they have to go 2-4 against everyone else to make you a winner here. An 8-4 season might be disappointing, but from a betting perspective, I like these odds.

Ohio State: National champions (+550)

A $100 bet would pay out $650

If you’re someone who thinks Ohio State will blow through the Big Ten and make the playoff again, you should not be betting on them to win the conference. You should be betting on them to win it all. They have questions at quarterback and on defense, but they have as much talent as anyone in the country, Alabama, Clemson and Georgia included. I am not endorsing you do this. Simply making sure you know the value of it in case of an emotional hedge.