2020 Big Ten football futures are out, and once again, Ohio State is the betting favorite. The Buckeyes, fresh off a 13-1 campaign and an appearance in the College Football Playoffs, are listed at -230 on DraftKings’ oddsboard to win the conference title for a fourth-straight season.
First-year head coach Ryan Day, who took the reigns from Urban Meyer smoother than most expected, will get Heisman Trophy favorite Justin Fields back at quarterback. Fields, who posted a gaudy 41:3 TD-to-INT ratio this season, will saddle up behind an experienced offensive line. The team will miss leading rusher J.K Dobbins and dynamite edge-rusher Chase Young, both headed to the NFL, but the conference’s perennial top recruiters always have breakout players waiting to fill the void (DE Zach Harrison).
Ohio State has kicked off the top choice to win the Big Ten football championship in six of the last 10 seasons. In 2012, oddsmakers kept the Buckeyes — who went on to go 12-0 and finish third in the AP Poll — off the board, because the program was ruled ineligible for the postseason.
The gap to second choice on next year’s Big Ten futures board is long, Michigan offered at +500 odds. The Wolverines kicked off the betting favorite for the most recent campaign, edging the Buckeyes +150 to +220 odds at Westgate LV SuperBook just prior to the season opener.
But Jim Harbaugh’s group once again struggled to compete against the B1G’s best in 2019, losing at then-No.13 Wisconsin in Week 4, at then-No. 7 Penn State in Week 8, and hosting No. 2 Ohio State in the regular-season finale.
Harbaugh, who is 6-10 straight up and 8-8 against the spread facing ranked conference opponents in his career, may struggle next year to field an offense strong enough to turn his fortune around against his rivals. Although the unit is armed with a seasoned receiving corps, it is set to be led by a new quarterback — either Joe Milton or Dylan McCaffrey — and behind a line returning just one starter.
Penn State and Wisconsin, two of the last three programs other than Ohio State to win the Big Ten championship, are each +1000 odds on the board.
The Nittany Lions, which have double-digit wins in three of the last four seasons, return almost their entire set of skill-group players next year, including quarterback Kirk Ciarrocca. The Badgers, meanwhile, seem to have a stranglehold on the West division, playing is six of nine Big Ten Football Championship Games since its inception (2011).
Rounding out the top five is Nebraska at +1600 odds. The Cornhuskers were public darlings prior to the last campaign, kicking off third choice at +600 odds with improvement expected under second-year head coach Scott Frost. The team went 5-7 SU and 3-9 ATS, the latter record indicative of not matching market expectations.
Illinois and Purdue join Maryland at +5000 as the longest shots on the board. Lowly Rutgers, hoping to improve behind new hire Greg Schiano, is off DraftKing’s board because New Jersey’s sports betting law prohibits wagering on the state’s college teams.
Here are the odds offered at the sportsbook for the 2020 Big Ten football champion:
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