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Odds Are, You'll Have Fun!

Full Big Ten futures are out and you might be a little surprised how things shake out.  I don't know if I'm concerned or simply confused by the fourth spot.

Keep in mind that odds aren't a list of who Vegas things are the best teams: some public perception issues are built in.  In addition, because of the importance of each game in college football, a teams schedule, including venue and time of year, are of the utmost importance.  Obviously only in-conference games are accounted for:


1. Ohio State +120 - Nothing to see here, really.  Michigan debuted as the Big Ten favorate last season at +120 so the actual payout isn't a shock (compare this to USC's -300, which is hillarious).  PSU is at home with two weeks to perpare.  Michigan is a rivalry game, so yada yada yada, but you can't escape the fact that it's in Columbus and Ohio State has a huge talent advantage.  Their biggest concern is probably a night game at Wisconsin, but you have to think they are still likely to win (based on what we know now, anyway...all it takes in one blocked FG to change things).

2. Wisconsin +250 - Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois are all at home for the Badgers this season.  Their toughest road test is probably at Michigan early in the year when RichRod will still be trying to set up his offense.  They bring consistency to the table and, while this does appear like a bit of a bad value, I'm not sure they aren't the #2 team right now.

3. Illinois +400 - This represents the opposite of my opinion abut Wisconsin.  Morelli simply handed them the PSU game, they were beat at home by Michigan and somehow lost 10-6 to Iowa.  The Ohio State game was a great win but with the blow out against USC you have to wonder if that was simply a matchup issue.  Besides that, I think the loss of Rashard Mendenhall is understated.

T4. Penn State +500 - While I think being behind the Zookers is questionable, the loss of Lee, competition at QB and a brutal October are all things that will inflate the payout.  Our analysis is obviously ongoing but between 2nd and 4th isn't totally unreasonable.

T4. Michigan +500 - Ya, I don't really get it either.  New coach, no QB, the loss of one of the best running backs in school history, who ran behind (without question) the best lineman in school history.  The general consensus after the spring game was that things are still quite shaky.  Wisconsin and Illinois are weeks three and four, well before most would expect the new offensive system to settle in...I'm baffled.

I'll do everyone a favor and simply list the rest:

6. Michigan State +1000
7. Iowa +1200
8. Purdue +1200
9. Northwestern +1800
10. Indiana +3000
11. Minnesota +6000