2023 Big Ten Tournament picks: College hoops predictions

One of the most unpredictable conferences in college basketball lived up to its reputation this year, as the Big Ten boasted the longtime No. 1 team in the country as well as 11 other teams with a conference record between 9-11 and 12-8.

Purdue enters this week’s tournament as the betting favorite (+180) at FanDuel, one of eight teams with 13/1 odds or shorter to cut down the nets in Chicago.

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Will the Boilermakers cap off a banner season with a tournament title? Or will this conference continue to deliver chaos to the very end?

Here are the odds to win the 2023 Big Ten Tournament, courtesy of FanDuel, and our best bet to win it:

2023 Big Ten Tournament betting odds (via FanDuel)

Team Odds
Purdue +180
Indiana +440
Michigan State +650
Maryland +850
Illinois +1000
Iowa +1100
Northwestern +1100
Michigan +1300
Penn State +2500
Rutgers +3000
Wisconsin +5000
Ohio State +7500
Nebraska +8500
Minnesota +25000

Who’s favored to win it?

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Purdue atop the oddsboard after the Boilermakers ranked No. 1 in the country for most of the season and ran away with the Big Ten regular-season title.

Still, I’d caution against betting the favorites here.

Purdue dropped four of its last eight games and struggled to maintain its top-25 efficiency on both ends, even when star Zach Edey was his usual dominant self.

Matt Painter
Matt Painter
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The blueprint to beat this team isn’t a secret – force anyone other than Edey to make shots – and while Matt Painter’s group could certainly emerge victorious this week, I wouldn’t pay the price to find out.

It’s a similar story with fellow contenders Indiana (3-3), Michigan State (3-2) and Maryland (3-3), which combined for a 9-8 record over the final three weeks of the season.

Could one of those three teams win this tournament? Absolutely.

Is it worth laying a short price? Not really, especially with how deep this conference is from top to bottom.

Which sleepers are worth betting?

Now this is where it gets interesting.

There are legitimately a dozen teams with a shot at winning the Big Ten tournament, and many of them are dealing at intriguing prices.

Illinois is as volatile as they come: good enough to beat UCLA and Texas earlier this season and bad enough to get blown out by Ohio State just over a week ago.

Still, the upside is immense with this group, especially when Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer is cooking from deep.

Keisei Tominaga
Keisei Tominaga
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Penn State is intriguing in this field with so much to prove as a clear bubble team ahead of Selection Sunday.

The Nittany Lions’ lack of size has plagued them all season long, but this team ranks in the top 10 nationally in 3-point percentage (38.9%) and 3-point rate (48.2%), which is always a dangerous combination in March.

Are we sure Nebraska is as bad as this price suggests?

The Cornhuskers have won six of their last eight games entering Wednesday’s first round – which coincides with the emergence of junior guard Keisei Tominaga, who’s averaging 20 points over that eight-game run.

If he keeps scoring at such a torrid pace, watch out.

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Big Ten Tournament pick and prediction

Look, Illinois could easily lose in its first game on Thursday.

It could also win this whole thing.

That’s true of most teams in this field, but I especially like the Illini’s chances as a dark horse in this field.

Terrence Shannon
Terrence Shannon
Getty Images

The one-two punch of Terrence Shannon (17.1 PPG) and Mayer (13) might be the most dangerous in this conference, and Brad Underwood’s group quietly boasts one of the best defenses in the country in the paint and along the perimeter.

With Purdue on the other side of the bracket, I like Illinois’ path as a No. 7 seed to crash the party in its own home state.