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2019 Big Ten Preview: Ohio State edges out Michigan as the conference favorite

Ohio State favored

Since the College Football Playoff’s first year in 2014, Ohio State has won three Big Ten conference championships, including the national title in the playoff’s inaugural year.

The Buckeyes are favored at +100 odds to pull off a Big Ten title three-peat after winning the previous two championships in 2017 and 2018. However, nothing is guaranteed in college football, or in betting on college football.

Following Ohio State’s 13-1 season and Rose Bowl victory in January, head coach Urban Meyer retired from the team. Then a few months later in April, DE Nick Bosa and QB Dwayne Haskins were first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. But new coach Ryan Day and Georgia transfer QB Justin Fields are ready to lead the team this season.

“I’m just trying to take the initiative right now. I’m not trying to wait,” Fields told Cleveland.com.

With all the personnel changes for the Buckeyes, Michigan is looking to mount their attack. The Wolverines are close behind in odds at +200 to win the Big Ten title, odds that are most definitely garnering the attention of those planning to bet on college football this season.

Michigan has not won a conference championship since 2004. But entering Jim Harbaugh’s fifth season after a 10-3 record in 2018, the season’s outlook is bright. The team has added offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to implement a spread offense that will benefit QB Shea Patterson.

Despite losing running backs Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, the team returns almost every starter from the offensive line plus 2018’s best-performing receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins.

Coach Harbaugh believes in his 2019 squad. “I think we’ve got a special team right now. It’s a young and enthusiastic team but a very experienced team. Really good at the quarterback position, really good upfront in the offensive line.”

After Ohio State and Michigan, the odds of winning the Big Ten fall off significantly. The teams with the next best chances are Penn State (+700), Michigan State (+1000), and Nebraska (+1300). Of these three, only Penn State (9-4) and Michigan State (7-6) finished above .500 while Nebraska posted a 4-8 record in 2018.

The teams with the worst chances in 2019, Illinois and Rutgers (both with +10000 odds), finished at the bottom of the conference in 2018. Rutgers had an abysmal 1-11 record, losing 11 straight after their season-opening win. Illinois finished 4-8, but only 2-7 in conference play. Expect similar results in 2019.

The college football season begins August 24, but the first Big Ten matchup of the year takes place in Week 2 between Rutgers and Iowa on September 7 in Iowa City.

A full list of the Big Ten odds via MyBookie can be found below.

2019 Big Ten Championship odds

@MyBookie

  • Ohio State +100
  • Michigan +200
  • Penn State +700
  • Michigan State +1000
  • Nebraska +1300
  • Wisconsin +1600
  • Northwestern +2000
  • Iowa +2200
  • Purdue +2500
  • Maryland +3300
  • Minnesota +5500
  • Indiana +8000
  • Illinois +10000
  • Rutgers +10000
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