Football is just around the corner (seriously -- it's less than two months away), which means it's easier to read football news and get excited rather than depressed. The latest news-ish tidbit concerns Big Ten conference title odds.
Courtesy our friends at Bovada:
|ODDS TO WIN BIG TEN|
NOTE: Penn State has no odds listed because they remain ineligible to compete for the Big Ten Championship in football.
Ohio State is a pretty heavy favorite; that's kind of what happens when you go 24-0 through the two previous regular seasons and return several key players from those teams (most notably, QB Braxton Miller). Michigan State (last year's actual Big Ten champion, courtesy a thrilling win in the Big Ten Conference Championship Game) and Wisconsin have equal odds behind the Buckeyes, followed by Nebraska and Michigan. Honestly, Michigan's odds seem suspiciously good, considering what a train wreck they were at times last year and the fact that they have to go through Ohio State and Michigan State just to get to the championship game.
So Iowa: 12/1. That's not bad. Beyond Iowa you start entering serious longshot territory with Minnesota at 33/1, Northwestern at 40/1, and Illinois and Indiana with matching 66/1 odds. (Beyond that, things just get silly; if you're inclined to put money down on Purdue at 250/1, you're better off just buying a Smiths boxed set -- at least then you'll get a few decent tunes to go along with your crippling depression.) But 12/1 for Iowa? That's intriguing, if you believe in Phil Parker's ability to construct another very good defense, Greg Davis' ability to finally put together a dangerous* offense, and Iowa's overall ability to manage a very friendly schedule and then pull an upset in a winner-take-all game in Indianapolis the first Saturday in December. Which... OK, it sounds like a lot when you lay it out there like that, but it's July and it's so easy to be seduced by lovely dreams right now.
* To other teams.
Bovada also released odds for the individual divisions in the Big Ten. First up, the West:
|ODDS TO WIN BIG TEN WEST|
Wisconsin and Nebraska are practically co-favorites, with Iowa coming in third with 5/1 odds to win the first-ever Big Ten West division crown. Those certainly aren't awful odds.
And then the East:
|ODDS TO WIN BIG TEN EAST|
Ohio State is, again, a pretty massive favorite. Shock!
I'm sort of interested in Indiana having better odds than Maryland, since more folks seem to be eyeing the Terps as having dark horse potential (or at least better odds of making a bowl game). Until Indiana treats defense as something other than a theoretical concept, it's difficult to put much stock in them. Then again, Maryland has to deal with being a newbie to the Big Ten.
What do you think about the odds -- for Iowa or for any B1G team? Any particular wagers you'd be interested in placing based on these odds?