Big Ten Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: Why I Bet Longshot Ohio State Futures

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Big Ten Tournament Odds

The 2024 Big Ten men’s basketball tournament tips off Wednesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The winner will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, but some potential bid-stealers for March Madness odds exist. Let’s analyze the best championship picks for Big Ten tournament odds. Remember that Purdue — favored at — won’t play until the quarterfinals on Friday. Read on for how I’m betting on this conference tournament.

2024 Big Ten Tournament Odds

Big Ten Betting Tips: the favorite

There are many strategies for handicapping conference tournaments, yet motivation (or lack thereof) for top-seeded teams often comes into question for all. This theory applies to the Boilermakers — priced as high as -185 at BetMGM Sportsbook.

Matt Painter’s bunch, led by Wooden Award favorite Zach Edey, seemingly has a cakewalk path to the Big Ten tournament championship game. However, Purdue certainly has its sights set on a more meaningful accomplishment in March Madness, especially after last year’s first-round exit.

Additionally, the Boilermakers rank in the 33rd percentile of adjusted defensive efficiency over the last month — compared to their fifth-rated stature from the beginning of the season until that juncture. Much of their opponents’ success comes via mid-range jumpers and above-the-break triples, which is a product of using drop coverage with Edey.

Hopefully, the Boilermakers get sent packing earlier than expected. I’d rather not put my money on that direct result, instead gearing my attention toward the other side of the bracket. That pick is on the way.

Injuries To Monitor

Like ACC tournament odds, this league presents a few key injuries to monitor. Maryland center Julian Reese, an honorable mention all-conference selection for the second time in his career, is nursing an ankle injury. He missed Sunday’s regular-season finale at Penn State, which resulted in the Terrapins’ fifth loss over the last six games.

The 6-foot-9 Reese is a dynamic post-up threat — to pair with his top-70 defensive rebounding rate nationally. He struggles to avoid foul trouble, but his absence would loom large against Rutgers in the first round. Reese compiled 19.5 points per game in two contests versus the Scarlet Knights while shooting 13-of-15 (86.7%) at the rim.

Admittedly, I was bullish on Maryland entering the campaign. Let’s say Reese is healthy, star point guard Jahmir Young delivers on the big stage, and their top-15 defense shows out against Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Northwestern.

That likely wouldn’t be enough. Asking the Terps to win five games in five days — with minimal depth and a bottom-10 3-point clip (28.4%) — is a tall order. Nevertheless, if you buy into their theoretical ceiling, their best available odds are .

Elsewhere, Rutgers forward Mawot Mag has missed six of the last eight matchups with a calf injury. His status is in doubt, significantly hindering the Scarlet Knights’ defense, as is Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson (leg). However, Nicholson, one of the Big Ten’s best low-post inhibitors, could benefit from the Wildcats’ double-bye.

Eli’s Big Ten Tournament Pick

After Ohio State fired Chris Holtmann on Valentine’s Day, replacing him with interim head coach Jake Diebler, the Buckeyes own a top-20 ranking in Haslametrics’ momentum metric. They’ve tallied five wins in their last six games, including an upset over top-seeded Purdue.

Over that span, their adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency metrics rank in the 85th percentile or better. They’ve been more imposing in the latter category, with their AdjD settling in at No. 11 overall.

That isn’t to say Diebler is the next great hot shot to roam the college basketball sidelines. As Texas coach Rodney Terry experienced last year, talent generally rises to the occasion when sound structure is in place. Sure, Ohio State underperformed up until that point, going 14-11 (4-10). But all the Buckeyes required was a shake-up and some much-needed 3-point variance, right?

Not so fast. Diebler adjusted stylistically by ramping up the tempo. During the Buckeyes’ recent stretch, they rank in the 87th percentile in percentage of points manufactured in transition (via CBB Analytics). They slotted into the fourth percentile before Diebler took over.

He also expanded the rotation, particularly with freshmen Devin Royal and Scottie Middleton. Both have been integral factors, especially during wins over Nebraska and Michigan State, where Bruce Thorton and Jamieson Battle each missed time.

The 10th-seeded Buckeyes open up versus Iowa in Thursday’s second-round action. Either team must compile at least two wins for their slim at-large hopes. If Ohio State exploits the Hawkeyes’ leaky transition defense, it will face Illinois, which has hidden its major defensive flaws with an elite fast-break attack of its own.

My numbers are lower on the Illini than their market rating. The third-seeded Cornhuskers, the Buckeyes’ odds-on semifinal opponent, are separated by a tick above 1.5 points in my model. Thus, their path to the title game isn’t as arduous as it appears on the surface.

Final Thoughts

As of this publishing, Ohio State’s best available Big Ten tournament odds are 35-1 — the same price I bet on Sunday night.

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Big Ten Tournament odds: Bracket

Unlike Atlantic Sun tournament odds, there is no reseeding once the semifinals roll along. Sift through the official bracket below.

Big Ten Tournament Schedule

  • First Round: Wednesday, March 13
  • Second Round: Thursday, March 14
  • Quarterfinals: Friday, March 15
  • Semifinals: Saturday, March 16
  • Championship: Sunday, March 17

How To Watch Big Ten Tournament

Peacock will broadcast the first round before Big Ten Network takes over for the second round and quarterfinals. CBS will carry both the semifinals and title game. The Big Ten tournament odds finale is set for 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.

You can subscribe to the audio-only version of the show on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

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