With the college basketball season just months away, get yourself prepared with a deeper look into which teams you’ll want to place your futures bets on to win conference titles.
Here’s a look at the top five programs ready to compete for the Big Ten title in the upcoming season.
Michigan State Spartans
Odds to Conference: +100
Record last season: (32-7 OVR, 16-4 CONF)
The preseason number one team in the nation Michigan State Spartans are the favorite to win the Big Ten at +100.
After falling just short of reaching the national title game in the Final Four, Michigan State enters the season not only as the favorite to win the conference but are tied with the best odds to cut down the nets for the National Championship at +800.
The Spartans’ recruiting class won’t impress you all that much ranking 27th in the nation with just two four-star recruits, but that’s more than enough for head coach Tom Izzo.
Michigan State returns senior captain and preseason player of the year candidate Cassius Winston, who lead the team in points (18.8 ppg), assists (7.5 apg), and steals (1.0 stlpg). Also returning is the team’s second leading scorer junior guard Joshua Langford, who averaged 15 ppg.
Odds to Conference: +500
Record last season: (23-11, 13-7 CONF)
Expectations for the Maryland Terrapins are high as they enter the season tied with the second-best odds to win the conference.
Maryland returns team leading scorer, and one of the best players in the conference, guard Anthony Cowan Jr. who averaged 15.6 ppg last season. The junior guard also lead the team with assists (4.4 apg) and steals (0.9 stlpg).
Another key returning player for the Terps is forward Jalen Smith, who ranked third on the team in points (11.7 ppg) and second in rebounds (6.8 rpg).
The biggest loss for Maryland comes down low with the loss of big man Bruno Fernando, who lead the team in rebounds and second in scoring.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Odds to Conference: +700
Record last season: (20-15, 8-12 CONF)
The Ohio State Buckeyes sit at +700 with the fourth-best odds to win the Big Ten and are my favorite dark horse play to win the conference.
Ohio State returns the team’s leader in points and rebounds in forward Kaleb Wesson, who averaged 14.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg.
Along with Wesson, the Buckeyes add a 14th-ranked recruiting class featuring three four-star recruits including point guard DJ Carton, who has the capability to be the best freshman in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes have good value at +700 and seem built to be one of the top teams in the country.
Odds to Conference: +500
Record last season: (30-7, 15-5 CONF)
The Michigan Wolverines carry a veteran team into the upcoming season which is why they are tied with the second-best odds to win the conference.
Michigan returns the team’s leaders in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in guard Zavier Simpson and center Jon Teske. Simpson totaled 8.8 ppg, 6.6 apg and 1.4 stlpg; Teske averaged 9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 2.0 blkpg.
Another role player returning is guard Charles Matthews, who ranked third on the team in scoring with 12.2 ppg, adding 5.0 rpg and 1.1 stlpg.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Odds to Conference: +1200
Record last season: (22-14, 9-11 CONF)
The Golden Gophers are a long shot to win the Big Ten but could possibly put a run together if they can find production out of the players on their roster.
Center Daniel Oturu returns for Minnesota after a monster freshman season. Oturu lead the team in blocks (1.3 blkpg), ranked second in rebounds (7.0 rpg) and third in scoring (10.8 ppg).
Also back for the Golden Gophers is sophomore guard Gabe Kalscheur, who ranked fourth on the team in scoring with 10.8 ppg.
A lot would have to go Minnesota’s way for them to win the conference outright but, with the odds sitting at +1200, it may be worth placing a low risk, high reward wager.
By Stephen Rodriguez