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BIG 10 Tournament Betting Odds & Analysis

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Purdue Boilermakers (-110)

We’ll begin our analysis of the BIG 10 Tournament with the best team in the conference, and maybe the country. Barring any shocking developments, Purdue will more than likely be a one seed in the NCAA Tournament regardless of what happens in this tournament. And it’s no secret why. Zach Edey.

The entire offense runs through the big man and his numbers prove it. He is averaging 24 points & 11 rebounds per game. Both tops in the BIG 10. Edey also uses his size to get to the free throw line. The Boilermakers are 6th in the country in free throw attempts per game. However,it is not guaranteed that he will get the same calls on a neutral court that he does at home.

But dominating down low and getting to the line are not the only ways Edey impacts the offense. He is constantly drawing defenders into the paint and off the three point line. Giving Purdue’s shooters better looks. That strategy has led to the Boilermakers being 2nd in the country in three point percentage.

I know it is sounding like Purdue is unbeatable but they have dropped some seemingly winnable games this season. They have lost to Northwestern (some say they should have lost to NW twice), Nebraska, and Ohio State. All three are unranked. Part of that could be chalked up to their defense. Their scoring defense ranks 120th in the country. In two of their three losses, they allowed at least 88 points.

The Boilermakers definitely aren’t unbeatable, but they are far and away the best team in the BIG 10. Don’t be surprised if they end up in their 3rd straight conference title game.

Purdue Boilermakers

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Illinois Fighting Illini (+300)

Illinois may have fallen to Purdue twice this season, but they are definitely the second best team in this tournament. That is in no small part due to the play of start guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Shannon leads the team with 21 points per game. Those marks are good enough to make him second in scoring in the conference behind Edey. Shannon, along with Marcus Domask and Coleman Hawkins, have the Illini’s offense ranked 12th in the nation in overall scoring.

Illinois' main weakness is defending the deep ball. They are 249th in the country at defending behind the arc. Unfortunately for them, Nebraska is on their side of the Bracket. The Huskers are 28th in the country in three pointers per game.

Other than Nebraska, the Illini did get a pretty great draw in the bracket. They will face either Ohio State or Iowa in their first matchup. Illinois is 3-0 on the season against those two. Not only that, all the teams they lost to in conference play (Michigan State, Purdue, Maryland and Northwestern) are all on the opposite side.

If Illinois can tighten up their three point defense. They could definitely find themselves playing on Sunday.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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Nebraska Cornhuskers (+750)

Nebraska has been one of the great surprises in the BIG 10. They were projected to finish 12th in the preseason poll, and now they’re the 3 seed in the conference tournament. That is largely due to their success on offense. They have four guys in Brice Williams, C.J. Wilcher, Keisei Tominaga and Reink Mast who can all get hot from three on any given night.

But they don’t just shoot three’s. One aspect of their game that gets overlooked is their defense. In 20 conference games this season, the Huskers held their opponent to under 70 points. And three of those games that went over 70 went to OT.

One area that could cost them games in this tournament is rebounding. Nebraska is 176th in the country in terms of rebound margin. That could end up hurting them in games against Illinois (8th in reb margin) or Purdue (has the tallest player in the country) if they make it that far. However, they did score a double-digit victory over the Boilermakers earlier this year.

The Huskers’ game plan seems simple. Hit three’s and play good defense. Their three point shooting has been hot down the stretch. They have shot at least 30% from deep in the final 5 games of the season. If you believe their hot shooting will continue, then betting them at +750 is a good price.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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Michigan State Spartans (+1200)

It is usually a good idea to bet on Tom Izzo when the calendar flips to March. However, this is not your typical Michigan State team. They are playing their worst ball of the season so far after finishing the regular season on a 1-4 skid. The Spartans are on the bubble and could end up playing their way out of the NCAA Tournament with a bad loss in the BIG 10 tourney.

One thing this team does well is play defense. They are 25th in the country in scoring defense and are 34th in turnover margin. Guard Tyson Walker is also 3rd in the conference in steals per game. Outside of that though, the Spartans aren’t much to write home about.

Their offense, to be blunt, is bad. They are 157th in the country in effective FG%, 182nd in scoring offense, and 312th in three point attempts. Numbers like that are not good enough to beat the Purdue’s of the conference, who they would have to play in the quarter finals if they advance.

MSU will take on Minnesota in their first game. This will mark the 3rd meeting of the campaign between these teams with each side holding one victory a piece. This should be an intriguing matchup as both teams will probably need to win to keep their chances of going dancing alive.

Outside of the first game (maybe) it is probably not advisable to bet on these Spartans in March. Their ceiling is most likely win a game and hope that will be good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State Spartans

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