Big Ten conference title odds 2018: Ohio State's the favorite, but Wisconsin has value
How you should bet the Big Ten's conference title odds this offseason
The Big Ten missed out on the College Football Playoff for the first time last season as its conference champion, Ohio State, was passed over due to having two losses. The Big Ten is hoping that omission is an outlier and that it can return to the CFP in 2019, but which one of its teams will have the best chance to represent it?
According to the odds from BetOnline.ag, Ohio State is the clear favorite to win the Big Ten, followed by Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan. But is Ohio State worth betting money on? Let's break it all down.
Odds to win the 2018 Big Ten Championship
Best bet -- Wisconsin: The Badgers have the second-best odds at +400, but they provide the best value. The implied odds of +400 is 20 percent, which essentially means Wisconsin would have to win the Big Ten a fifth of the time for you to break even. Well, Wisconsin hasn't won the Big Ten since 2012, but it's been to the Big Ten Championship Game five times in seven years. It has dominated the much weaker West Division and has plenty of returning talent on a team that nearly won the Big Ten last season.
Longshot value-- Northwestern: Truth be told, I don't think there are a lot of solid longshot options in the Big Ten this year. I'd say there are three to four teams that can win the conference, and I don't have Northwestern among them. Still, +1600 gives us an implied odds of 5.88 percent. Northwestern has a senior quarterback and can be relied on to play good defense. It's also in the West Division, providing an easier path to Indianapolis. I don't think it happens, but the math dictates that the Wildcats are your best value from the longshots.
Not much value -- Ohio State: I can't help but agree with the oddsmakers that Ohio State is the favorite in the Big Ten. If we ran the season a thousand times, Ohio State would win it more than any other Big Ten team. It's just I don't like the value at +150. To break even at those odds, Ohio State would have to win the Big Ten 40 percent of the time, and wouldn't you know it, not including the 2012 season when it wasn't eligible, Ohio State has won two Big Ten titles in five years under Urban Meyer. But this Ohio State team will be breaking in a new QB, and no matter how talented that player turns out to be, the margin for error is thin at +150. So it's not a bad bet, but you aren't getting your money's worth in return.
Hold your horses -- Michigan: When it comes to odds it's important to remember that sometimes a casino has to hedge against a fanbase as much as predict a team's future. Michigan has a large and fervent fanbase. One that wants to believe. There's a chance that Michigan could win the Big Ten this season if it takes a step forward at both QB and on the offensive line. It's just, well, I don't think Michigan is winning the Big Ten often enough to justify only getting +600 on my bet.
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