With the college football start date sneaking up in August, it's time to start looking ahead to the 2021 season.
BettingOdds.ag has officially released the conference championship odds for each of the NCAA's Power-Five football conferences. On Tuesday afternoon, SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic took to Twitter to share these figures -- including the odds for the 2021 Big Ten season.
Coming as no surprise, the Ohio State Buckeyes hold a strong first-place lead with 2/3 odds to claim their fifth straight Big Ten title.
From there on, the disparity between teams begins to narrow. Wisconsin comes in at No. 2 with 8/1 odds followed by Michigan and Penn State tied at 17/2. Indiana and 2020 Big Ten championship runners-up Northwestern (both top-25 team this past season) share 12/1 odds heading into this year.
Coming off an outstanding 2020 campaign that finished with a national championship loss to Alabama, the Buckeyes are primed for yet another dominant Big Ten season in 2021. Despite losing a solid chunk of talent to the NFL Draft this offseason (including superstar QB Justin Fields), the program has a wealth of solid recruits joining the roster in their place. With five 5-star and 13 4-star recruits incoming, Ohio State has the No. 2 class in the nation (behind only Alabama).
Though Wisconsin had a relatively disappointing 4-3 season in 2020, that could change this year behind the play of rising-star QB Graham Mertz. Last season, the Badgers' success was fairly contingent on the freshman signal caller's performance. With a year of play now under his belt, Mertz should be able to lead the program to some more consistent success through his sophomore year.
Following uncharacteristically poor seasons for both Michigan and Penn State, both programs find themselves back up near the top of championship odds. The Nittany Lions will look to continue their momentum off four straight wins to close out the 2020 season and the Wolverines will try to bounce back under the continued leadership of Jim Harbuagh.
After going 2-6 in 2020, the Illinois Fighting Illini hold the lowest odds to win the Big Ten at 100/1.