College basketball is back and so is another year of competitive Big Ten basketball. While it will be a few weeks before Big Ten teams battle it out against each other, one of the deepest and best conferences in the country will have all of its teams in action against nonconference opponents this week.
Early on in the season, most major conference teams schedule lesser opponents to bolster their records and figure out the nuts and bolts of their roster before they dive into daunting in-conference opponents. Because of that, many of the spreads in the opening games are relatively big.
Let’s take a look at every Big Ten team’s spread in their first game of the season. All lines are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 21 Maryland (-22.5) vs. Quinnipiac
The first monster spread of the day comes from College Park, where the No. 21-ranked Terps are ready to make some noise in the Big Ten. Head coach Mark Turgeon has a deep, experienced and veteran roster this year and they'll look to fine-tune the engine against a weaker, but fast Quinnipiac team in its home opener.
Indiana (-24) vs. Eastern Michigan
Mike Brown’s collegiate head coaching debut shouldn't be too challenging for the Hoosiers, who open as a huge favorite over Eastern Michigan. Indiana’s forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is the focal point of the Indiana offense and is one of the best players in the Big Ten. All eyes will be on him in his season debut and throughout the season.
No. 17 Ohio State (-16.5) vs. Akron
The Buckeyes return a plethora of talent, including star EJ Liddell, and will be a force to be reckoned with in Big Ten play this season. It will be an in-state battle when a scrappy Akron team travels to Columbus to face the Buckeyes.
No. 3 Kansas (-4) vs. Michigan State
Michigan State will have the toughest test of all Big Ten teams in its opening game. The Spartans will face one of the best teams in the country when they play Kansas at Madison Square Garden in the champions classic. The line is lower than some might have expected with Michigan State facing uncertainty entering the year.
Northwestern (-23.5) vs. Eastern Illinois
Northwestern is expected to be at the bottom of the Big Ten this year, but it'll have a chance to bolster its resume with some early-season opponents who are not of the Wildcats caliber. That is evident with the huge line that Northwestern opened this game at as it would be a shocker if the Wildcats do not easily handle Eastern Illinois.
Nebraska (-16) vs. Western Illinois
As another Big Ten team takes on Eastern Illinois, Nebraska will face Western Illinois. The Cornhuskers are another team that isn't expected to do much damage in the Big Ten this season but can open the season with a win at home on Tuesday night.
Minnesota (-9) vs. Kansas City
Kansas City isn't a strong opponent, but if this line says anything, it is probably an indicator of just how much Minnesota will struggle this season. The Golden Gophers experienced a ton of turnover on its roster from last season and has been picked to finish toward the bottom of the conference by just about everybody. They should beat an under-the-radar Kansas City squad, but it might be a greater challenge than they would like.