The sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (23-5) will take a five-game winning streak into Saturday’s Big Ten NCAA basketball odds matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers, tipping off March as one of the top teams in the conference despite losing two of their better players this season due to injuries.
The Spartans are coming off a 77-70 win over the ninth-ranked Michigan Wolverines on the road Sunday, pulling off the upset victory as 4.5-point underdogs and covering for the fourth time in five games.
The Michigan State-Michigan rematch is not slated until March 9, and both teams should be able to win their next two games to set up another massive showdown in their regular-season finale.
The Wolverines (24-4) have a home date with the Nebraska Cornhuskers first this Thursday before visiting the 17th-ranked Maryland Terrapins on March 3 in a game that will be tough but winnable. While the Spartans have been streaking without Nick Ward (hand) and Joshua Langford (foot), the Wolverines have gone 4-3 straight up and against the spread in their last seven games. They had gotten off to a 20-1 start.
In the big scheme of things, Michigan and Michigan State are also the two teams in the conference with the best odds to take home the national championship in the 2019 NCAA Tournament at +1200 (bet $100 to win $1,200) and +1400, respectively.
After them, you have to go down to the 14th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers (20-7) at +6000 to find the next Big Ten school on the March Madness betting board. The Boilermakers are in the mix to win the conference title and may offer the most value of any Big Ten team on the board.
Purdue seemingly has an easier schedule than both Michigan and Michigan State down the stretch. After playing host to the Fighting Illini on Wednesday night, the Boilermakers will do the same with the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday before visiting the Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 5 and Northwestern Wildcats on March 9.
You can certainly make a case for the Boilermakers as the best team in the Big Ten, especially since they have already split two meetings with the Spartans.
Three more teams in the conference that should be invited to the Big Dance in March are the Terrapins (21-7), 19th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (19-9) and 22nd-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (21-7).
Maryland, Wisconsin and Iowa all reside above the .500 mark in Big Ten play, but they are much further down the futures board to win the national title. The Badgers are +8000 on those NCAA basketball odds followed by the Hawkeyes (+10000) and Terrapins (+12500). Like Purdue, Maryland offers a lot of value based on those March Madness odds, and a home victory against Michigan could go a long way in terms of helping the team’s eventual seeding.
The most surprising NCAA Tournament odds though of any team in the conference belong to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-13) at +7000.
The Cornhuskers have virtually no chance at making the Big Dance unless they can win the Big Ten Tournament first, which is a longshot at best. Nebraska is just 5-12 in the conference and has three games left in the regular season – all against ranked teams beginning with Thursday’s trip to Ann Arbor.
Following that road game versus the Wolverines, the Cornhuskers have to travel to East Lansing to face the Spartans on March 5 before they host the Hawkeyes on March 9. Losing all three games could triple the team’s March Madness odds.