Gambling chips are seen at the Casino Gran Madrid

Vegas Sportsbook releases college hoops odds

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I don’t gamble all that much, because when I do gamble, I’m normally left without any money rather quickly. When you’re simply giving money to the house time and time again, it’s really easy to make the decision to, you know, stop just giving away those hard-earned greenbacks.

But the good folks over at William Hill Race & Sports Books know a thing or two about gambling, and earlier this week they released odds on who will win the national title. Generally speaking, Vegas is just about as good of an indicator as the preseason top 25 when trying to figure out who the best teams in the country are. And, as you can see, their top three are no surprise.

I’ll post the complete list of the odds at the bottom, but before I do, I’ll give you a couple of picks I like, picks which my gambling record may make you want to avoid.

– Missouri at 30:1 is a steal. I think the Tigers are one of the most complete teams in the country and will end up earning another top two seed. I also think that Syracuse at 20:1 odds is a worthwhile bet, and while I think that Syracuse will end up contending for the Big East title with Louisville, it’s a bit more of a risky bet.

– The top of the ACC is interesting here. Duke and North Carolina are both getting 20:1 odds, while NC State is getting 22:1 odds. A lot of people believe the Wolfpack are the best team in that conference.

– You hear it every year, but Gonzaga is very good this season and, at 60:1 odds, are worth the bet. The same can be said for San Diego State at 50:1.

– Butler, Minnesota, Kansas State and Marquette are all teams that will spend much of the season in and around the top 25 and are getting 100:1 odds on winning the national title.

– I’d stay away from UCLA at 15-1 odds until it’s clear if Shabazz Muhammad will be eligible this year. I also think it’s a risky bet even if he does play.

Indiana: 6-1
Kentucky: 7-1
Louisville: 8-1
Michigan State: 15-1
UCLA: 15-1
Kansas: 15-1
FIELD: 15-1
Ohio State: 18-1
Duke: 20-1
Syracuse: 20-1
Michigan: 20-1
North Carolina: 20-1
NC State: 22-1
Missouri: 30-1
Florida: 30-1
Arizona: 30-1
UNLV: 30-1
Pittsburgh: 45-1
Memphis: 45-1
San Diego State: 50-1
Georgetown: 50-1
Cincinnati: 60-1
Gonzaga: 60-1
Texas: 60-1
Notre Dame: 75-1
Baylor: 75-1
Creighton: 80-1
Vanderbilt: 80-1
Wisconsin: 90-1
Alabama: 90-1
California: 100-1
St. John’s: 100-1
Texas A&M: 100-1
Villanova: 100-1
Butler: 100-1
Minnesota: 100-1
Kansas State: 100-1
Marquette: 100-1
Arkansas: 100-1
Florida State: 100-1
West Virginia: 100-1
Illinois: 100-1
Providence: 100-1
Davidson: 100-1
Ohio: 100-1
Seton Hall: 100-1
Stanford: 100-1
Iowa State: 100-1
BYU: 125-1
Nevada: 300-1

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?