So we’ll have Big Ten football this fall after all.
In a reversal of course, university leaders voted unanimously to begin football season next month.
Kickoff is set for the weekend of Oct. 23-24 and the teams will attempt to play eight games in eight weeks. Fans are not expected at the games, according to ESPN.com.
The conference previously shelved the season until spring because of concerns over spreading COVID-19. However, enhanced testing protocols spurred confidence the league could play this fall.
Teams will still be able to play for a national championship if they qualify. Daily antigen testing will begin Sept. 30.
Sports betting industry could get boost from delay
It’s an important development for the Michigan sports betting industry. A couple local powerhouse college football programs should draw bets.
With a November launch for online sports betting expected, the changes actually could give bettors more of a chance to wager on the in-state teams.
In the coming days, we should be getting a look at the Big Ten schedules.
Presumably, intra-division games would still be on for the eight-game slate, meaning rivals Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State should all play each other.
The conference championship game should also be on for Dec. 19, one day before Selection Day for the College Football Playoff.
Most regulated betting markets not yet available
With the news still fresh on Wednesday morning, most major regulated sportsbooks did not have odds posted for Big Ten football.
However, online at BetMGM Sportsbook, Ohio State led the way as Big Ten odds were posted. The Buckeyes were -250 to win the Big Ten. Michigan was second at +550. Michigan State was eighth at +4,000.
At mid-day on Wednesday though, the retail sportsbook at MGM Grand Detroit, BetMGM Sports Lounge, did not have Big Ten teams on the board for national championship odds, nor were Big Ten championship bets available. With that in mind, Michigan residents will likely have to wait a few days to get futures bets down on Big Ten teams.
In addition, off-site bet building programs for Four Winds Sportsbooks, Greektown Casino, and River Rock Sportsbook at Little River Casino Resort all did not have Big Ten futures listed on Wednesday.
The book had Michigan at +6,000 to win the national championship and the Spartans at +25,000.
Will Big Ten teams be in the national rankings?
For the first time since after the 2011 season, Ohio State was not ranked this week in the Associated Press poll.
That’s because Big Ten teams have been knocked out of the rankings after deciding to initially shelve the season.
Ohio State’s streak of 132-straight appearances in the poll was second only to Alabama (198).
Penn State had been ranked for 58 straight weeks, and Michigan was next at 34 straight weeks.
The Amway Coaches Poll also knocked Big Ten and Pac-12 teams out this week.
We’ll see if the AP and coaches poll reinstate the Big Team teams into the rankings starting next week.