Best Bets: College basketball futures and win totals you have to bet

Getty Images
0 Comments

College basketball season is just around the corner, which means that time is running out for you to lock in your preseason futures bets.

We’ve looked at the best bets that are available previously in this space. Since then, the odds have changed, meaning that the teams that are worth investing in have changed somewhat as well.

Here are the best national title futures, the best longshots, a couple of worthwhile fades and my favorite win total over/unders.

Odds are via a legal sports book in New Jersey.

BEST FUTURES

MICHIGAN STATE (9-1)

I have Michigan State listed here because of the price. At most books, the Spartans are somewhere in the 5-1 or 6-1 range. Considering the fact that they are the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, it makes sense that they would be priced there. What doesn’t make sense is where they are getting 9-1 odds. That’s the line that is available to me. If you can get Michigan State at 9-1, that’s worth it. If the Spartans are 5-1 or 6-1 where you wager, then I would pass at this point.

KANSAS (11-1)

The Jayhawks are currently priced as the sixth best team in the country. For my money, they are one of the consensus top three teams in the sport, along with Michigan State and Kentucky. They are also a veteran group with an elite point guard in Devon Dotson, plenty of talent on the wings and arguably the most unstoppable force in America in Udoka Azubuike. At 11-1, they are mispriced and worth the investment.

LOUISVILLE (14-1)

It’s as simple as this: Louisville is, for my money, the best team in the ACC. They are currently priced as the third-best team in the ACC and closer to a top ten team in America than a top five team. There are some questions about their point guard play. There are some concerns about their health, with David Johnson and Malik Williams banged up. And yes, Chris Mack is probably the best coach in the America that doesn’t have a Final Four on his resume. But I think you can make the argument that this is the best team he has ever had. No better time than now to get there.

FLORIDA (20-1)

The odds keep creeping down for Florida. I got the Gators at 50-1 before Kerry Blackshear announced that he will be playing his senior season in Gainesville, and then doubled down at 33-1 after he announced. They are now at 20-1, and I think this is still too cheap. This group has elite guard play, a McDonald’s All-Americans (Tre Mann, Scottie Lewis) that will complement the returning studs (Andrew Nembhard, Keyontae Johnson) and a coach that should be able to put all the pieces together. I think they’re clearly a top seven team in the country and right now, they are still not being priced that way.

OREGON (28-1)

Last week, the Ducks were still sitting at 33-1. That number has dropped a bit, but this is still a great price. Admittedly, I’m higher on the Ducks that most. But that’s because their head coach is one of the best in the country at getting new guys to buy into a role and he has an All-American point guard in senior Payton Pritchard leading the way. I think the Ducks should be priced around 18-1.

LONGSHOTS

OHIO STATE (40-1)

I am not as high on the Buckeyes as some people are, but I’m very surprised they are still available at 40-1 in some books. They have an All-American in Kaleb Wesson. They have plenty of talent on the wing, and if D.J. Carton lives up to the hype, they have one of the most exciting young guards in the country at the point. Oh, and should I mention that this Chris Holtmann guy coaching them is pretty good? They’re closer to a top 15 team in America than this, and I think that they should be priced at 25-1.

UTAH STATE (60-1)

I’ve already fired at the Aggies at 100-1 odds, and the number is still dropping. This is a team that is going to run through the Mountain West again this season. They are a pair of potential All-Americans and future NBA players in Neemias Queta and Sam Merrill. Throw in one of the better young coaches in the country in Craig Smith, and there is a lot to like in Logan. They’re still worth the flier.

HOUSTON (66-1)

My book has not yet adjusted to the fact that the Cougars have Quentin Grimes eligible immediately. I still think DeJon Jarreau is going to be their best guard, but adding a former top ten prospect is big. They are the best team in the American, but the payout betting on them is 4X the payout for betting on Memphis.

MARQUETTE (66-1)

The market has overcorrected on Marquette. They are too cheap. The reasoning is too long to type out. Watch this:

FADES

MEMPHIS (16-1)

Confession: I currently hold a ticket for a Memphis national title future.

The price?

50-1.

The current odds are just too expensive for my taste. I’ve made this point ad nauseum during the offseason, but this is a program that is going to end up starting five freshmen with seven freshmen and two sophomores in their ten-man rotation. Their best player – James Wiseman – may or may not have an ankle injury, or a shoulder injury, or something. I just have no interest in this group at 16-1.

DUKE (8-1) and NORTH CAROLINA (9-1)

These are easy fades for me. I certainly understand the upside, but I just think they’re too expensive at this point. My issues with Duke have to do with how the pieces are going to fit together (see the video below) and while I love Cole Anthony, I do think that asking the Tar Heels to win a national title with a completely is a big ask. If they were, say, 25-1, then it would be interesting. But as it currently stand, there are just two teams with lower odds than the Tar Heels: Duke and Kentucky. I cannot justify that cost.

KENTUCKY (8-1)

So Kentucky is not a full fade for me. I think that, come February, this is going to be one of the best teams in college basketball. I also think that, in November, they are going to take some lumps. I see this team having a similar learning curve to last year’s group. If you recall, they got smoked by Duke in the Champions Classic, struggled through a few buy games and then lost to Seton Hall in New York City before turning into the team that they were down the stretch. What I am going to do is wait for this line to drop and, hopefully, snag Kentucky at around 16-1 while eating Thanksgiving dinner.

WIN TOTALS

DUKE: Under 25.5

The ACC is going to be tough at the top this year, Duke has a roster that doesn’t exactly fit together all that well. In the last six years, since Coach K has gone all-in on the one-and-done movement, Duke has had more than 25 regular season wins twice. Once when they won the national title and once when they had Zion.

FLORIDA: Over 23.5

This best is fairly obvious. I love Florida this year. I have two Florida national title future. Of course I’m going to bet them to win 24 regular season games.

KANSAS: Over 24

Kansas is undervalued by the metrics. They are a consensus preseason top three team, and last season was the first time since 2014 that the Jayhawks didn’t win at least 24 regular season games. Since the 2006-07 season, Kansas has only won fewer than 24 fewer season games twice.

OREGON: Over 22

I think the Ducks are the best team in the Pac-12. They should be able to get to 23-8 pretty easily.

TEXAS: Over 18.5

This line is much lower than I expected it to be. I’m bullish on Texas this season. I think Shaka Smart finally has a bit of roster continuity and a team that looks to be older than in the past. They look like a team that will compete for top three in the Big 12, believe it or not. Getting to 19 wins seems very doable.

KENTUCKY: Under 24.5 (+110)

The odds are what makes this bet more attractive. I’m assuming that Kentucky is going to lose to Michigan State on opening night. They then have to play a full SEC schedule (Florida, Auburn and Tennessee twice and at LSU) plus Texas Tech away, Ohio State on a neutral and Louisville at home. That’s a lot of tough games. If they lose seven, you more than double your money.

GONZAGA: Under 27.5

Killian Tillie is banged up, Gonzaga’s starting backcourt is made up of grad transfers (Ryan Woolridge, Admon Gilder) that may or may not be good enough to play for a top ten team, Oumar Ballo has to redshirt and Brock Ravet is taking a leave of absence from the program. In the non-conference, they play at Washington, at Arizona and North Carolina at home plus the Battle 4 Atlantis, and that’s before you consider home-and-homes with a good BYU and a really good St. Mary’s. Four losses means the bet hits.

LOUISVILLE: Over 22.5 (-134)

I think Louisville is a top five team, I think they are the best team in the ACC and if they go 23-8, you win your bet. The odds aren’t ideal, but a win is a win is a win.