After missing out on the Big Ten Tournament last year, play is set to tip-off on Wednesday evening.
With Michigan as the top seed and Michigan State picking up steam at the end of the season, will it be a good week for the mitten state in Indianapolis?
Even if it’s not a good week for the local teams, it can still be a good week for Michigan sports bettors. The games alone guarantee excitement.
Here’s a closer look at the upcoming B1G tourney and what’s at stake for the top-tier teams and the longshots.
Big Ten Tournament odds overview
Michigan is coming off a loss to MSU on Sunday, but the Wolverines still won the Big Ten regular-season crown and have the top seed this week.
That has them as the favorite in the eyes of most online sportsbooks in Michigan.
The Wolverines are listed at +175 or +180 depending on the book, but the favorite in most cases.
Second-seeded Illinois is a matching +180 favorite at William Hill Sportsbook but is ranging from +300 to +350 elsewhere.
Iowa and Ohio State are next up in most cases, but Purdue has some varied odds this week. The fourth-seeded Boilermakers range from +500 to +1200, as oddsmakers seem very divided on them.
MSU, the No. 9 seed, also has some wide-ranging odds. They are as low as +3500 and as long as +5500.
FanDuel has +250 Super Boost for Wolverines
FanDuel Sportsbook took the Michigan odds a step in the right direction for bettors on Tuesday.
The sportsbook has the Wolverines on a Super Boost of +250. It lists that the odds will be up until 6 p.m. EST on Wednesday, a half-hour before the tournament tips off.
Michigan Wolverines not in urgency mode
Top seeds in conference tournaments, especially power conferences, aren’t always safe bets. However, the Big Ten Tournament has been won nine times by the top seed.
Michigan reached the final of the last three Big Ten Tournaments, winning two of them.
The Wolverines have been a great surprise in the 2020-21 season, going 19-3. However, they don’t have much at stake this week.
Michigan will have the first two days off and await the winner of No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 MSU on Thursday afternoon.
The Wolverines rank fourth in the conference in scoring (76.5 ppg) and third in scoring defense (65.2 ppg). Michigan has good depth all around but is led by Hunter Dickinson (14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg), Isaiah Livers (13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg), and Franz Wagner (12.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
Head coach Juwan Howard has to be a top contender for National Coach of the Year, as well.
Michigan State Spartans hoping for more upsets
It’s been a roller-coaster season for Michigan State, who comes into this week at 15-11 on the season and 9-11 in the Big Ten.
Prior to Sunday, it looked as if MSU may need a strong showing this week to make the NCAA Tournament and join the madness. However, the win over Michigan seems to have the Spartans locked into the field of 68.
In the last three weeks, MSU basketball earned wins over Illinois, Ohio State, and Michigan — all of which were top-5 teams at the time. The road to a tournament title will need to see MSU win four games in four days, all likely as the underdog in terms of seeding.
MSU has won this tournament six times, the most of any program. They also were the 2019 champs.
The offense will be a concern this week, as MSU averages just 69.5 points per game, which ranks 13th in the Big Ten. The only team averaging less is their Thursday opponent, Maryland (68.9 ppg).
MSU and Maryland (15-12) met back on Feb. 28, with the Terrapins picking up a 73-55 victory. MSU was playing its fourth game in eight days that day, while Maryland had a week off.
Aaron Henry has been coming on in the tail end of the season. He is averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Tom Izzo is also hoping to see Rocket Watts show more as he did on Sunday in a 21-point performance against Michigan.
Meanwhile, Illinois has plenty of motivation
The second-seeded Illini could be a team to watch out for.
Illinois believes it has a claim to the Big Ten regular-season title at 16-4. The Illini could earn a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday as well, but they probably still need to grab a win this week to lock that up.
The Illini average 80.7 points per game and can light up the scoreboard quickly. Ayo Dosunmu would be the conference player of the year in most instances, but will likely finish second to Iowa’s Luka Garza.
Dosunmu averaged 20.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.
Kofi Cockburn is one of the nation’s top centers as well, averaging 17.3 points and 9.6 boards per game.
Ohio State overvalued? Wisconsin a sleeper?
When looking for value, it may be best to stay away from Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are among the favorites but haven’t gotten past the quarterfinal stage of this tournament since 2014.
While Ohio State has the talent to make a run this week, there’s something about this tournament that has been a problem for them. Not to mention, they are riding a four-game losing streak entering the week.
The Badgers are the sixth seed this week with a 10-10 conference record. Their losses have been against the top teams in the conference, but they still lead the Big Ten in defense (64.0 ppg).
Wisconsin has a favorable draw as well. They open on Thursday against a team that will have played on Wednesday. They have Iowa and Illinois on their side of the bracket, and they just played both to games within five points in recent weeks.
The Badgers also are one of five Big Ten teams with a winning record (25-19) in Big Ten Tournament history.