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Big Ten Betting – Buckeyes On Top Again?

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/18/2010 10:56:50 AM
big ten betting

Before the Big Ten gets Nebraska in 2011 and moves to a two-division setup, there’s the small matter of deciding a 2010 race among the league’s longstanding members (and mid-1990s arrival Penn State). Long story short, the big source of intrigue this year concerns the ability of an outsider to confound NCAA football betting researchers and crack a well-established power structure in this smashmouth league.

The last time a team not named Ohio State or Penn State won the Big Ten championship, the year was 2004 and the Michigan Wolverines marched on to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. From 2005 through 2009, it’s been an OSU-PSU world in the Upper Midwest. Joe Paterno took home the hardware in ’05 and ’08, with Jim Tressel claiming the Big Ten in ’06, ’07, and last season. Can anyone break the Buckeye-Nittany Lion axis of dominance? The ranks of online betting personalities are asking the same question.

Team On The Rise:

Want to pluck an overachiever from the hopper of Big Ten programs not named Ohio State? It seems to be a rite of Autumn these days, but in a league with so many headcase programs – Michigan State in particular but also Michigan in the tormented and tumultuous Rich Rodriguez era – it makes sense to stick with something solid. If a team in the Big Ten is going to surprise, pick Northwestern. The Wildcats – in many ways a lot like Connecticut in the Big East – look like they’re playing the game at three-quarter speed, but they make plays and put themselves in the right positions on almost every snap. In 2008, Northwestern reached the Alamo Bowl and barely missed stunning Missouri. In 2009, the Purple Cats made it to the Outback Bowl and were on the verge of winning their first bowl game since 1948, but a fake field goal in overtime was stopped at the 2, giving Auburn a 38-35 win over the lads from Evanston, Illinois. At any rate, Northwestern regularly exceeds its talent in regular-season play. Plenty of sports betting enthusiasts around the country are quite attuned to this truth.


Team On The Decline:

If you want to be wary of a team that’s high on promise but might fail to deliver the goods, we all know about a familiar face in Big Ten country. However, since Michigan State so routinely disappoints its fans and leaves Spartan backers screaming in agony, it’s sensible to pick a somewhat more shocking team as a likely disappointment. (Besides, Michigan State can only be a disappointment so many years, right? Experts should begin to know that Sparty won’t measure up. Continuing to buy the hype is foolish.)

How’s Penn State for you, then, if you want an intriguing pick for an underachiever this fall?

While it’s true that the Nittany Lions should field a solid team in 2010, they’ll be in search of a new leader under center. Yes, football is a team game, but at the upper levels of competition, a steady hand at quarterback can’t be overestimated. Daryll Clark led Penn State with distinction over the past few seasons, and while the quarterback sometimes fought his nerves in big games, he still enabled Joe Paterno to produce back-to-back double-digit-win campaigns. In 2010, a brand new face will take the snaps for the Nittany Nation, and against the fire-breathing defenses of Iowa and Ohio State – both on the road – it will be hard for PSU to win big.


Best Player In The Conference:

Penn State running back Evan Royster. The Nittany Lions, without Clark, might not have the same passing game they possessed in prior seasons, but they should be very good on the ground. Royster is equipped with an appreciable amount of toughness, but he’s even more adept at shooting through a hole and busting through the line of scrimmage when he sees any degree of daylight. Royster will be expected to carry a considerable portion of the load for the Nittany Lions, who need defenses to key on the run so that they can try to effectively execute a credible play-action passing game.


Who Will Win The Big Ten?

The 2010 Big Ten champion should be decided in the game that’s already been circled in red. The game of the year in the Big Ten should be the same as it was a year ago. Ohio State and Iowa staged an overtime thriller last November in Columbus, and the Buckeyes – though wobbly – eked out a 27-24 decision over the Hawkeyes. Iowa will have a new starter this year under center, but James Vandenberg was able to make one emergency start in place of now-graduated teammate Ricky Stanzi. Vandenberg – a freshman in 2009 – played with uncommon poise in that Ohio State game, giving Iowa a good shot at redemption this time around. However, OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor – who came of age in a Rose Bowl win over Oregon – figures to hit his stride and make the Buckeyes very, very difficult to defend. Iowa will offer a formidable challenge, but Ohio State will win the Big Ten once again.

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