2012 Big Ten Football Odds and Prediction
NCAA Football 2012 Conference Betting Previews- Big Ten
The addition of Nebraska last season gave the Big Ten 12 teams and allowed the formation of the Legends and Leaders Divisions and first ever conference title game. Everything remains intact for 2012 despite the whirlwind of conference realignment with several of the other major and mid-major conferences. The following is a betting preview for the top contenders in each of the divisions along with each team’s current odds to win each division as provided by Bookmaker.
The Michigan Wolverines have ascended to the top the list in the Legends at 11/10 to win the division and advance to the conference title game. They are also 2/1 favorites to win the Big Ten in light of Ohio State’s one-year ban from postseason play due to NCAA sanctions. The Wolverines posted an 11-2 record in 2011 including a 23-20 victory in overtime against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Heisman hopeful quarterback Denard Robinson is back to lead the offense and Michigan returns eight starters from a defense that was ranked sixth in the nation in points allowed in 2011.
The second-favorite to win the Legends Division is the Nebraska Cornhuskers at 9/4. Bo Pelini’s squad is coming off a less than stellar debut in the Big Ten with a 9-4 record overall and a 5-4 record in conference play last year, but the fifth-year head coach remains confident that his team will make an impact in the title race this season. The fact that the Cornhuskers return eight starters on both offense and defense should go a long way towards making a division title a reality. It also helps that running back Rex Burkhead is back after leading Nebraska in rushing last season with 1,268 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The odds to win the Legends Division for the rest of the teams are Michigan State at 4/1, Iowa at 8/1, Northwestern at 12/1, and Minnesota at 40/1.
With Ohio State on the shelf for the 2012 season, the Wisconsin Badgers have been opened as prohibitive 1/2 favorites to win the Leaders Division. Last season’s Big Ten champs are listed as second-favorites at 5/2 to successfully defend their title. The Badgers have a number of holes to plug from last year’s 11-3 squad including quarterback Russell Wilson, who has moved on to the NFL. With just 11 total starters back from last year, head coach Bret Bielema will look to several underclassmen to step-up and fill the void. The one player that is returning is running back Montee Ball, who led the nation in rushing last season with 1,923 yards.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are currently listed as second-favorites to win the Leaders Division at 3/1, but those odds remain subject to change. The recent turmoil from an independent report that implicated former head coach Joe Paterno and several other top officials at the university in helping to cover-up facts from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal could have long-reaching affects on this year’s team. New head coach Bill O’Brian suddenly finds himself and his team between a rock and a hard place as pressure mounts to impose heavy sanctions on the program. It is hard to see this whole unfortunate situation not having a negative impact on Penn State’s on-field performance this year.
The odds to win the Leaders Division for the rest of the teams are Illinois at 15/2, Purdue at 10/1, and Indiana at 15/1.
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