One indicator of how a championship is likely to be decided are the preseason odds that sportsbooks assign to teams for futures wagers.
In the case of the Big Ten and Penn State, in particular, PA betting sites give the Nittany Lions a reasonably good chance to win the conference.
In fact, Penn State has +600 odds to win the Big Ten at FanDuel.
That puts the Nittany Lions as the third favorite to win the Big Ten, according to FanDuel Sportsbook PA odds, behind perennial favorites Ohio State (+165) and Michigan (+180), and just ahead of Wisconsin (+800).
But how predictive are the preseason odds in forecasting the actual conference winner?
Big Ten Preseason Odds Since 2008
PennStakes.com - your source for Pennsylvania sports betting apps - utilized SportsOddsHistory.com to look at the preseason odds for the Big Ten champion dating back to 2008 when data was made available, and who ended up winning the conference.
Preseason Favorite Often Comes Up Short
For the last three seasons, Ohio State had the lowest preseason odds (-225 each season, 2020 through 2022). Yet, the Buckeyes actually won the Big Ten title in just one of those three seasons, in 2020.
In 2019, the script was flipped. Michigan was the preseason odds favorite at +160 but Ohio State (+220) won the Big Ten.
Meanwhile, since 2008, the preseason favorite, according to the odds, went on to win the Big Ten just four times. Perhaps, that stands as evidence that the conference is so fiercely competitive.
The last time Penn State won the Big Ten was in 2016 when it had preseason odds to win the conference of +6000. That season, Ohio State was the preseason odds favorite at +160. Although Penn State started 2-2, it reeled off a nine-game winning streak, including a home win over Ohio State, but lost in the Rose Bowl to USC, in a 52-49 thriller.
Since 2008, Ohio State was the preseason odds favorite 11 times and won the Big Ten title in four of those seasons.
For 2023, the longest odds at FanDuel among the 14 Big Ten schools belong to Northwestern, at +4200.
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