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  • Despite winning the Big Ten last year, the Nittany Lions have only the third-best odds to win the conference again this season.
By OddsShark
August 07, 2017

Penn State surprised many by winning the Big Ten last season, taking a tiebreaker over Ohio State in the East Division and then rallying past Wisconsin in the conference title game.

This year, the Nittany Lions are sitting behind both the Buckeyes and the Badgers on the betting board again as the +550 co-third choice (bet $100 to win $550) on the odds to win the Big Ten championship along with Michigan at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Ohio State is listed as the -120 favorite (bet $120 to win $100) with Wisconsin the +375 second choice.

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Penn State brings back two of its top offensive players in quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley, who are also Heisman hopefuls. The Nittany Lions should be very good again offensively, but they will need to play much better defensively after losing to the USC Trojans 52-49 in last year’s Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes still managed to make the College Football Playoff field a year ago, losing to eventual national champion Clemson in the semifinals. This season, quarterback J.T. Barrett returns for his senior year, and he is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate.

Barrett has yet to top the numbers from his freshman campaign when he threw for 2,834 yards with 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Ohio State is second only to Alabama on the odds to win the national championship this season at +600.

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The Badgers blew a 28–7 lead to Penn State in last year’s Big Ten Championship Game in an eventual 38–31 loss, and they are looking for their first league title since 2012. Wisconsin won the first two Big Ten title games and has finished atop its division in four of six years so far. Unfortunately, the Badgers have lost their last two title game appearances.

The Wolverines are another team to watch this season as they attempt to make their first Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is still trying to get past Ohio State in the East Division, finishing in third place last year with a 7–2 record in conference play.

Harbaugh’s teams have also gone 10–3 overall in each of his first two seasons at his alma mater.

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