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College Basketball Picks, Odds and Analysis: 2020-21 Big Ten Preview on DraftKings Sportsbook

Julian Edlow breaks down the favorites, overvalued and undervalued teams in the Big Ten on DraftKings Sportsbook.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

What’s getting lost in the mix during the heart of football season and Thanksgiving week? The start of college hoops! I’ll have you covered with best bets articles throughout the season, but it’s also good to have something from the preseason as reference for early in the season to get a grasp on different teams and conferences. So I’m breaking down each of the Power 6 Conferences with some useful betting info from DraftKings Sportsbook.


Place your college basketball bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and bet online by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


BIG TEN

Big Ten

School Conference Winner Final Four National Champion
School Conference Winner Final Four National Champion
Iowa +265 +125 +800
Wisconsin +350 +225 +1200
Illinois +355 +250 +1300
Michigan State +360 +300 +1500
Ohio State +1000 +650 +3000
Michigan +1100 +900 +4000
Indiana +2000 +900 +4000
Purdue +3000 +1900 +8000
Maryland +5000 +1150 +5000
Minnesota +30000 +2400 +10000
Penn State +30000 +2400 +10000
Nebraska +50000 +12400 +50000
Northwestern +50000 +12400 +50000

The Favorite

Wisconsin

This should be a super competitive league, so no team stands out as head and shoulders above the pack. You could argue that seven Big Ten teams rank in the top 25, but none rank in the top 10. However, I do lean to Wisconsin as the best team in the conference, potentially creating some early value at +350 to win the conference.

The Badgers do rank 7th in KenPom, which is very impressive. Why so high on them? It looks like Wisco will start five seniors this season, and finished last season on an eight-game winning streak. I don’t expect the momentum to completely carry over, but this team is going to have much less difficulty finding early season chemistry and maintaining in through what should be a choppy season. Again, there’s lots of talent across the conference, but this is the most stable squad.


Overvalued

Iowa

Luka Garza (+400) is the favorite to win National Player of the Year, but that’s playing way too much into Iowa’s season outlook. But this is the anti-Wisconsin, as the talent falls off a cliff behind Garza. After a couple of solid upperclassmen returning, I just don’t see why this team is tied for the third-best title odds in the country. KenPom has the Hawkeyes at 13th, which feels about right, but the futures market makes them a top-five team. There might not always be value here to fade this team, because they’re going to be good. But the market is going to be high on them, so fading Iowa early and against other strong competition has some appeal to me. If Iowa is +125 to make the Final Four, I’d love to go the other way if a “No” option wa offered.

Michigan

Last year was a strange one for Michigan. It was Juwan Howard’s first year as a head coach, and the team lost a ton of talent to the NBA. The Wolverines actually exceeded expectations early, shooting up the rankings thanks to some massive wins in a tournament in the Bahamas. However, they fell off hard after that and were still carrying too much value from their hot start.

Somehow, I think some of that value Michigan built up early last season has carried over, and it’s not justified. Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske are massive losses — senior starters at PG and C. This team was trending in the wrong direction as last season progressed and should actually take another step backwards.


Undervalued

Illinois

I don’t like going against KenPom, which actually has Michigan 15th and Illinois 17th, but I’m trusting my gut on this one. Illinois ranks third in terms of conference odds at +355, almost the same price as Wisconsin. But if someone outside of Wisco contends here, give me the Fighting Illini. They got red-hot last season, and return a good combo of veterans infused with some young talent. Ayo Dosunmu had some NBA interest and is back for his junior season — he could be a 20-point scorer in the backcourt. Kofi Cockburn is also back for his sophomore season, and absolutely could’ve left for the NBA. The big man should take a huge leap and be one of the most dominant bigs in college hoops.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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