Sportsbook.ag has posted their odds for those teams likely to win a conference title and for the Big Ten – as most would have guessed – there are four teams leading the way and then there’s everyone else.
Who’s the frontrunner to leave Indy with the Big Ten Trophy in tow? Wisconsin has the best odds, not only because they figure to have one of the better teams in the conference talent wise, but because Ohio State isn’t eligible for postseason play in 2012. Even if the Badgers finish second to Ohio State in the Legends division, they’ll still find their way to the title game which is half the battle of winning the title.
In the Leaders division, things figure to be a tad bit more interesting with three teams capable of winning the division. Michigan and Nebraska both have their initial odds of winning the title set at +250 (the amount you would win should you place a $100 wager). Michigan State is right on their heels at +300 (3/1)
Michigan and Nebraska likely have the slight odds advantage simply due to the fact that they have experienced quarterbacks returning while Michigan State is forced to replace three year starter, Kirk Cousins, with junior Andrew Maxwell. But don’t count the Spartans out as they very well could have the best defense in the Big Ten this season.
Looking at the schedule between the three doesn’t help much (each of three has one home, one on the road between them) although Michigan has the easier cross-division slate with Michigan State and Nebraska having to play both Wisconsin and Ohio State while the Wolverines play Illinois and Purdue.
It’ll probably be worth your while to familiarize yourself with the Big Ten’s tiebreakers at some point this season when it comes to determining who will represent the Legends division in Indianapolis.
Here’s a look at where Sportsbook set their initial Big Ten title odds:
It’s hard to imagine anyone not among the four aforementioned teams winning the trophy but if you’re looking for a dark horse, Penn State would seem to be the next in line if for no other reason than they face the same advantage as Wisconsin; Ohio State will be at home for the postseason. The Nittany Lions have to travel to Nebraska but get both Wisconsin and Ohio State in State College.
So who’s your favorite?
I’ll give the slight edge to Michigan, assuming Denard Robinson stays healthy, although they’ll need to win at least one of their two road games at Nebraska and Ohio State to get it done. After that, I’d go with Nebraska followed by Wisconsin and Michigan State.
All four have plenty going for them heading into 2012. Whichever team is able to stay healthy and avoids catching the upset bug (see Nebraska losing to Northwestern in 2011) will likely be adding another trophy to their collection on December 1st.