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Games To Bet in Big Ten: Race for Second Place Heating Up

So much for the recent trend of Rutgers throwing a scare into Purdue. With Zach Edey scoring 25 points on eight shots and the Boilermakers hitting 12 3-pointers, Purdue rolled to a 28-point. The Boilermakers have a 2½-game lead in the Big Ten with four games to play.

Six teams are separated by two games in the race for second place and that could lead to NCAAB picks creating more interest than the Big Ten title odds.

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All three home teams won on Thursday. Will that trend continue into the weekend?

While there won’t be a matchup of ranked teams until early March in the Big Ten, there are some noteworthy games for those making college basketball picks.

Purdue fell behind Houston and is at No. 3 in both national polls. Illinois moved up two spots to No. 12 in both The Associated Press and USA Today coaches poll. With Wisconsin falling out, there are no other Big Ten teams in the Top 25 in the national polls.

Purdue is second, Illinois is 16th, Wisconsin is 21st, and Michigan State is 23rd in the NCAA NET rankings, one of the tools used to select and seed the NCAA Tournament field. The next Big Ten team is No. 43 Nebraska.

When looking at the college basketball futures odds, Purdue (+700) has the second-best odds of winning the national championship. Illinois (+3500) and Wisconsin (+5000) are the next Big Ten teams listed.


1. Iowa Hawkeyes (16-11 SU, 11-16 ATS) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (19-7, 13-10-3 ATS)

  • Date/Time: Saturday, February 24, 2:15 p.m. ET
  • Iowa vs Illinois Live Stream: Big Ten Network


This could be the best game of the weekend in the Big Ten. Illinois is looking to hold onto second place in the Big Ten with the Fighting Illini posting a 13-2 record at home. Iowa just posted a road win against Michigan State.

Over the last four games, Terrance Shannon Jr. is averaging 30.3 points with 53 trips to the foul line doing wonders for his scoring average.

Tyson Walker, who is Michigan State’s top scorer, is shooting 38% from the field over his last three games.

Iowa snapped a five-game losing streak to Illinois with an 81-79 win earlier this month. The Fighting Illini did cover as three-point road underdogs.

Illinois has won four straight home games against Iowa. The Hawkeyes did cover in two of those contests.

Illinois is only 6-7-2 against the Las Vegas odds at home. Iowa is 4-6 ATS on the road. Illinois is tied for the Big Ten lead with 18 games going over the total with 17 of Iowa’s games also landing over the total.


2. Ohio State Buckeyes (15-12 SU, 10-16-1 ATS) vs Michigan State Spartans (17-10 SU, 15-11-1 ATS)

  • Date/Time: Sunday, February 25, 4 p.m. ET
  • Ohio State vs Michigan State Live Stream: CBS


Ohio State made plenty of college basketball news with its recent win over Purdue. However, the Buckeyes are 0-8 on the road. Second-leading scorer Jamison Battle is shooting 41.5% on the road compared to 48% at home.

Despite a double-double from Malik Hall, Michigan State is coming off a seven-point loss at home to Iowa. The Spartans are still 13-3 at home.

After meeting three times in a span of less than four weeks late in the 2022-23 season, this is the first matchup of this season between the Buckeyes and the Spartans.

The home team has been favored in seven of the last eight regular-season matchups.

The last time the teams met in East Lansing, Michigan State won, 84-78. It was the second time in the last 13 matchups that an Ohio State-Michigan State topped 150 points.

Michigan State is 11-5 against the NCAAB lines at home while Ohio State has covered in two of its eight road contests.


3. Minnesota Golden Gophers (16-9 SU, 23-3 ATS) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-8 SU, 17-10 ATS)

  • Date/Time: Sunday, February 25, 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Minnesota vs Nebraska Live Stream: TBS.com


Minnesota and Nebraska rank first and second in the Big Ten when it comes to covering against the spread. Something will have to give in this matchup.

Nebraska has won its last three games to move into a tie for fifth place in the Big Ten standings. Leading scorer Keisei Tominaga is averaging 18.7 points on 51% shooting with 10 3-pointers in those three wins.

Elijah Hawkins is coming off a season-high 24-point performance for Minnesota. When looking at NCAA basketball picks and parlay options, Hawkins has at least six assists in each of the last six games.

Minnesota won the first game between the teams on Dec. 6, 76-65, as a two-point home underdog after also knocking Nebraska out of the 2023 Big Ten tournament. Nebraska had won the previous four matchups and covered in three of them.

Nebraska is 13-4 against the spread at home this season. Minnesota has covered in six of its seven road games.



Questions of the Day

Which Big Ten team has had the most games go over the total this season?

Illinois and Purdue have seen 18 games land over the total during the 2023-24 season.

Which Big Ten teams have the best road records?

Since the start of the 2022-23 season, only Purdue (12-6) has a winning road record among Big Ten teams.

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