Big Ten Conference Tournament Betting Preview: Illinois Offering Value

Written By Chris Smith on March 10, 2020 - Last Updated on March 23, 2021

The Big Ten Tournament heads back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The Big Ten has six teams currently ranked in the top 25, with a few other teams who could do just as well in the conference tournament. Wisconsin, Maryland and Michigan State are all 14-6 atop the standings. The area worth noting is that seven teams have a conference record that is between 11-9 and 9-11.


Big Ten Tournament winner odds

Maryland and Michigan State are the favorites at +350 at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Other notable odds: Wisconsin is +400, Michigan +600, with Iowa, Ohio State and Penn State all being +800.

It’s no surprise to see Maryland and Michigan State as a favorite. The Terrapins are 24-7 and have played well all year. The Terps have closed the regular season, falling in three of their last five contests. Maryland has been guided this season by guard Anthony Cowan Jr. Cowan has averaged 16.3 points and 4.7 assists per game. Jalen Smith, while averaging 15.5 points per game, has been a key to the Terrapins’ success on defense at times. Smith is registering 2.4 blocked shots per game.

The Spartans, meanwhile, finished the regular season with a record of 22-9. Unlike Maryland, Michigan State ended the season with a string of wins. The Spartans won the last five games of their season, with wins over four straight ranked teams. All four of those wins came by at least 8 points.

The Spartans have been carried throughout the year by none other than Cassius Winston. Winston is averaging 18.6 points while dishing out 5.9 assists per game. Xavier Tillman is contributing a double-double on average, totaling 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest.

The pressure that will be on Michigan State in this conference tournament will be nothing new for coach Tom Izzo.


Big Ten Tournament value play

There is one team that has a lot of value when looking at the DraftKings Sportsbook.

Illinois is +1400 to win the tourney.

The Illini are currently ranked 21st, and have had their fair share of quality wins this season. Coach Brad Underwood has done a great job putting Illinois back on the map and, because of that, he was rewarded with a contract extension.

Illinois has athletic guard Ayo Dosunmu to thank for some of this success. Dosunmu is collecting 16.6 points per game while handing out 3.3 assists per game. And let us not forget about one of the best freshmen in the country, Kofi Cockburn.

Cockburn, who will no doubt get drafted if that is the route taken, is averaging 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Andres Feliz and Trent Frazier are both averaging over 9 points per game. This is a team that has more than enough talent to win the tournament.


It’s March; anything can happen

The Northwestern Wildcats finished near the bottom of the Big Ten but did go 2-2 to end the season, including an 80-69 win over Penn State. The Wildcats are 8-22.

As the old saying goes, it is hard to beat a team three times in one season. Well, that is exactly what Minnesota will be trying to do in the first round of the tournament against the Wildcats.

If Northwestern can beat Minnesota, the Wildcats would have to face Iowa.

It’s a fresh start for Northwestern. Anything can happen.

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