You’re not going to believe this, but Ohio State is the early favorite to win the Big Ten title. It’s the conference’s best bet to win the national title, too, and the Buckeyes are a little bit off on their own in that regard.
The future odds for the 2017 college football season have started to trickle out in recent weeks. Most of them are from online sports books and Oddsshark.com has eight sets of future odds that have been released so far. Rather than list each of them, here are the high and low national title odds thus far for the Big Ten teams.
TEAM – High | Low
Illinois – 1000/1 | 300/1
Indiana – 500/1 | 200/1
Iowa – 200/1 | 60/1
Maryland – 500/1 | 200/1
Michigan – 16/1 | 10/1
Michigan State – 100/1 | 80/1
Minnesota – 300/1 | 100/1
Nebraska – 150/1 | 120/1
Northwestern – 300/1 | 100/1
Ohio State – 15/2 | 11/2
Penn State – 27/1 | 15/1
Purdue – 1000/1 | 300/1
Rutgers – 1000/1 | 300/1
Wisconsin – 75/1 | 50/1
Nothing too surprising there, but the high-low range there is interesting for a couple of schools:
>>How good will Iowa be? The oddsmakers don’t seem quite sure yet. You can get the Hawkeyes at 200/1 or 60/1(!) to win the national title. That’s the difference between being in the same class as Tennessee and running with Vanderbilt.
>>Not as much love as you might have expected for defending Big Ten champs Penn State. The Nittany Lions are firmly third here, behind a Michigan team that only has six starters returning (and just one on defense). Penn State only has to replace six starters.
>>Nebraska’s range is pretty narrow, indicating the oddsmakers feel like they know what they’re getting with the Huskers. There’s something to be said for consistency, I guess?
>>A little surprised that Northwestern and Minnesota are basically viewed as equal. In terms of players returning, I don’t think that’s the case. Call it the Fleck Effect.
>>Mark Dantonio has earned some good will, justifiably so. After a disastrous 2016 and a worse offseason, Michigan State is still getting upper-tier-of-the-conference odds.
While national title odds are fun to gawk at, Middle America’s Conference has a pretty vast middle this season, so the conference title odds are a little more telling.
Oddsshark has a recap of those too, but we also have a new set from an actual bricks-and-mortar shop in the Golden Nugget.
Here again you see Michigan with an interesting preseason “lead” on Penn State. Wisconsin is way out in front of every other team in the West, and, as of March 30 at least, Northwestern is the second choice in the division. I don’t know if the Wildcats will end up being picked that way by the preseason prognosticators, but it feels justified.
Nebraska falls in with Iowa and Minnesota, which feels about right, too. Trying to pick between those three at this stage is tough. All three are looking for new starters at quarterback and how those races go might go a long way towards sorting out the jumble in the fall. But there are also a couple of interesting coaching plays available, too.
Want to hitch your wagon to Bob Diaco? Feels like a solid enough pick. So is P.J. Fleck elevating Minnesota a bit. You can also bank on Brian Ferentz as the Hawkeyes’ new offensive coordinator if you want.
Anyway, if you wanted to extrapolate rough Big Ten power rankings from this range of odds, you’d end up with something like this:
1. Ohio State
3. Penn State
5. Michigan State
Gotta start somewhere.
The Grab Bag
- Nebraska beat Creighton 14-6 in Lincoln last night. I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a lacrosse score!” But, nope, it was baseball.
- Interesting read on the return of UAB football.
- A former Oklahoma football player has been arrested on charges of prostituting a former Oklahoma cheerleader.
- New Mexico AD Paul Krebs says there has been “a lot of interest” in the Lobos’ basketball job.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.