Sunday Update: 1-2.
3/13, 2:30p - Iowa Hawkeyes (O/U 151.5 | +125) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (-2.5)
These teams are gonna score and Iowa’s gonna come out on top. OVER 151.5 & Iowa +125
Saturday Update: 3-3! Onto the games.
Non-Rutgers lines courtesy DraftKings.
3/12, 12p - Indiana Hoosiers (O/U 144) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (-6)
3/12, ~2:30p - Michigan State Spartans (142.5) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (-6)
In my opinion, 6 is just too many points for what amounts to an IU home game. The last time they played, Keegan got into very early foul trouble and I fear that’s in play today with IU’s front line. Lot of places where scoring can still come from, but I think IU controls the pace and keeps it close - only 4 IU games have exceeded 144 this season (and yes, 1 of those 4 was in Iowa City). UNDER 144 & IU +6
A stat I missed yesterday (but was still correct stylistically), overs are 7-21 since 2010 in games where MSU has no rest. UNDER 142.5
Friday Update: Naturally every game went over when I had three unders. It was deserved.
Penn State is this tournament’s darling so far
Non-Rutgers lines courtesy DraftKings.
3/11, 10:30a - Indiana Hoosiers (O/U 136.5) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (-5)
3/11, ~1p - Iowa Hawkeyes (-6.5) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (O/U 144.5)
3/11, 5:30p - Michigan State Spartans (O/U 138) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (-3)
3/11, ~8p - Penn State Nittany Lions (O/U 135.5 | +340) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (-8.5)
The Big Ten has 3 tournament teams who look anything but (Indiana, Michigan, & Michigan State). I think Illinois once again comes out on a mission in Indianapolis. Illinois -5
Rutgers has only had 5 games all season (2 in conference) get over 144.5 points. There’s gotta be some comedown for Iowa, too. BUT the over is 4-1 in conference tournament games under Steve Pikiell where Rutgers is the underdog. 145 points is still a regression of over 40 points. OVER 144.5
Twice, MSU & Wisconsin have played each other in the conference tournament since Greg Gard took over and twice, the under has won. The over is 5-7-1 overall. BUT, in the games where Wisconsin has been favored, the over hit both and Wisconsin lost both. HMMM I’m not in love with either team but believe this to be the type of game where each team drags the other into the mud and it ends up another tight one. UNDER 138 & Michigan State +3
Am I on the Shrews Cruise? I think I am. He’s gotten two opponents down in the mud with his bevy of bulky guards. John Harrar is somehow gonna manage Zach Edey and Trevion Williams to close enough of a draw through sheer force of will. Purdue completes the most disappointing conference season of recent memory with an early exit in the conference tournament Penn State +340 And we’ll take the OVER 135.5 here as it is 7-2 in Purdue conference tournaments the last six.
Thursday Update: I kind of think updating the column with the most recent picks at the top is the best way to do this? Let me know if you think otherwise.
So about last night...everything was looking quite hunky-dory at around 6:15...Nebraska was up big, they were putting up points, and then ... crickets. Who knew the only thing that could stop the Cornhuskers was a zone defense!
Now I’m writing this as Penn State is in a rock fight with Minnesota. Absolute pleasure that one. Onto today’s games...
Non-Rutgers lines courtesy DraftKings.
3/10, 10:30a - Indiana Hoosiers (O/U 136.5) vs. Michigan Wolverines (-2)
3/10, ~1p - Northwestern Wildcats (O/U 148) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (-7)
3/10, 5:30p - Maryland Terrapins (O/U 139.5) vs. Michigan State Spartans (-3)
3/10, ~8p - Penn State Nittany Lions (O/U 132) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (-5)
The first games of Thursday are historically low scoring since expanding to 14 teams. Just two games in six have gone over 140 and one of those needed OT. UNDER 136.5 Michigan beat Indiana by 18 in Assembly Hall earlier this season and IU is ice cold (2-7 last 9) to the Wolverines mere lukewarm. Michigan -2
(AM note: over is 14-6 in Michigan’s conference games this season so it’s a bet against trend)
I was gonna stay away from this game if Nebraska won. Thankfully, Northwestern came from behind against the Huskers. I think the illness which ran through Evanston when Iowa last faced them will allow Fran to keep the nose to the grind stone. Iowa -7 An unfortunate statistic is that the over is just 4-10-1 with Fran at the helm so we’ll also go UNDER 148
I have no takes on Maryland & Michigan State. It says so much about the state of college basketball that MSU is a consensus 8 seed? I guess they did beat Purdue. Anyways, over is also 2-9 in Michigan State’s Big Ten Tournament games since 2015. UNDER 139.5
Is the fear of 3 unders pushing me to bet over 132? Only partly. The over is 5-1 in B1G tourney games Holtmann has coached. OVER 132
My son is now 1 year old. What a world. He’s adorable. But he’ll need money for college assuming he doesn’t grow up to be a 6’4” point god or TikTok star and it still costs a pretty penny to attend.
So it’s time to keep feeding that 529 and what better way* to invest than college football picks.
Note: there are much better ways to invest money and neither I, nor BHGP, are liable for any losses you may endure as a result of any “advice.”
First, I know how disappointed you were not to see the PONKS continue through college basketball’s regular season but let me tell you...it is tricky to keep up with. The Big Ten’s gnarly free-for-all schedule would have my head spinning alongside a winter of “will they or won’t they” shut down daycare for a COVID absence or roads that refuse to melt after a bit of snow and/or freezing rain.
But I won’t complain...18 months is a fun age. Worth missing out on a ponk or thirty. And you bet your rear end I’m gonna remind you how I did a couple months ago in games which are now meaningless!
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Minnesota -5 +1u
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Maryland -3.5 +1u
Music City Bowl: Purdue +5 +1u
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Michigan State -2.5 +1u
SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State -1.1u
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Wake Forest -14.5 +1u
CFP Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl: Michigan +240 -1u
Outback Bowl: Arkansas +100 +1u
VRBO Citrus Bowl: Iowa/Kentucky OVER 44 -1.1u
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One: Utah/Ohio State OVER 66 +1u
Finished: +5.7u when factoring in futures
These games happened over a month ago. Some logic was flawless while other logic was less flawless.
We’ll start with these tournament winner odds:
Purdue Boilermakers +220
Illinois Fighting Illini +370
Iowa Hawkeyes +370
Wisconsin Badgers +800
Michigan Wolverines +1100
Ohio State Buckeyes +1100
Michigan State Spartans +2000
Indiana Hoosiers +2500
Maryland Terrapins +10000
Northwestern Wildcats +10000
Penn State Nittany Lions +20000
Nebraska Cornhuskers +40000
Minnesota Golden Gophers +50000
As Ben detailed in the Pants Party, the following programs have won the Big Ten tournament since 2010: Ohio State x3, Michigan State x4, Michigan x2, Wisconsin, & Illinois. Teams who have never won it are: Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, and Minnesota.
From the subset of more recent winners, the most interesting team to me is by far Ohio State. They’re a talented bunch but have been a M*A*S*H unit with Kyle Young, Meechie Johnson, and Zed Key going down recently. No update as of Monday. But they have guys who can get baskets in EJ Liddell, Malaki Branham, and Jamari Wheeler. I’m also not particularly afraid of their path. If there were some clarity on the injuries, they’d be an easy half-unit for me.
Other than that, I think Illinois is probably the team most likely to win. Tons of guys who can get baskets. A grating style. An easy enough path - they’re 8-1 this season against their half of the bracket. Just depends if you like the +370 odds.
Couple weak hedges, if you ask me!
As far as tonight’s Big Ten slate, here’s where it stand. Non-Rutgers lines courtesy DraftKings.
3/9, 5:00p - Nebraska Cornhuskers (+170 | O/U 144.5) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (-5 | -200)
3/9, ~7:30p - Minnesota Golden Gophers (+140 | O/U 125.5) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (-3.5 | -160)
An incredible statistic continues with Nebraska and Minnesota in opposite pig tails: they have participated in 13 of 16 Wednesday games since the league expanded to 14 teams.
Some fun things, though. O/U is 7-7 in the previous 14 games while favorites are 7-6 (there was one pick ‘em) straight up and 6-7 against the spread. So no math to find there!
This year, though, overs are 13-7 in Nebraska conference games and the Huskers are about as on fire as a 4-16 team can be. My prediction: they flip the script Northwestern had against them as their offense keeps rolling. Nebraska +170 & OVER 144.5
Couple PSU stats under Shrewsberry. 3-1 against the spread in B1G games they’re favored with the over going 1-3. Overall, that’s 13-7 & 8-12. For Minnesota, the over actually hits 12-6-2 but they are a little weaker ATS - 8-12. What I like is Penn State -3.5.
Stay tuned for more wagers as the Big Ten Tournament rolls on!
The tab: -4.75u (8-12)
Iowa vs. Purdue OVER 151.5 1.1u to win 1
+1.25u: Iowa +125 vs. Purdue 1u to win 1.25
Indiana vs. Iowa UNDER 144.5 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Indiana +6 vs. Iowa 1.1u to win 1
Michigan State vs. Purdue UNDER 142.5 1.1u to win 1
Illinois -5 vs. Indiana 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Iowa vs. Rutgers OVER 144.5 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Michigan State +3 vs. Wisconsin 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin UNDER 138 1.1u to win 1
Penn State +340 vs. Purdue 1u to win 3.4
Penn State vs. Purdue OVER 135.5 1.1u to win 1
Indiana vs. Michigan UNDER 136 1.1u to win 1
Michigan -2 vs. Indiana 1.1u to win 1
Northwestern vs. Iowa UNDER 148 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Iowa -7 vs. Northwestern 1.1u to win 1
Maryland vs. Michigan State UNDER 139.5 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Penn State vs. Ohio State OVER 132 1.1u to win 1
Nebraska +170 vs. Northwestern 1u to win 1.7
Nebraska vs. Northwestern OVER 144.5 1.1u to win 1
+1u: Penn State -3.5 vs. Minnesota 1.1u to win 1