- College basketball season tips off Tuesday night.
- Seven teams are getting significant action in National Championship futures betting.
- The two favorites, Duke and Kentucky, play on opening night.
The best matchups in college football come around sparingly and almost always make you wait a month or more into the season to arise.
College hoops has blue blood rivalries seemingly nightly, with none bigger than preseason favorites Duke and Kentucky meeting Tuesday night.
The season gets off to a bang with the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Kansas and Michigan State are the opener with the Blue Devils and Cats meeting in the nightcap.
College basketball is a lot of fun to bet for several reasons. It is impossible for online sports betting sites to know over 350 teams comprehensively, so there is often value available when betting games. With so many teams, there is rarely an enormous favorite to win the title.
Furthermore, you can get some value on teams with a proven track record, and if you like betting futures, one fairly inexpensive wager now can provide entertainment and a team to root for over the next four or five months.
Before we look at the preseason odds, let’s not forget the past. Note, Villanova, who has won the title two of the last three seasons and are currently 12/1.
Recent National Champions
That’s the past, what about the present and future. There are some tempting odds for recent champs, and several other juicy values.
All odds are available from SportsBetting.ag.
NCAA Basketball Championship Odds
|Team||Odds to Win the 2019 Final Four|
The Favorites: Duke and Kentucky
How’s this for a change of pace: Kentucky’s best player may be a veteran, while Duke must win with one-and-dones?
Big Blue lost three starters from a mediocre squad that went just 10-8 in the SEC and was eliminated in the Sweet 16 last year.
John Calipari reloaded, but not in his normal manner.
Sure, freshman Immanuel Quickley and Keldon Johnson will be impact performers, but returners Quade Green and PJ Washington are equally as important, and grad transfer Reid Travis could be the wildcard. Travis was an All Pac-12 performer at Stanford, and could have opted for the NBA instead of Lexington.
On the flip side, Coach K is all in on rookies.
Five starters, including lottery picks Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr, are gone, but four high profile freshman seem primed to start alongside junior Marques Bolden.
In a different era, a team would be happy to have signed any one of Tre Jones, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, or Zion Williamson. Now all are Dukies, and Krzyzewski certainly has the talent to win a sixth NCAA Title.
Where Does the Value Lie?
There are good reasons to like Duke and Kentucky. Both have extreme talent and coaches who have consistently won.
Other favorites like Gonzaga, who returns a ton from a team that won 32 games and adds a key transfer, and Nevada, filled with veterans after a Sweet 16 run, are viable.
However, if you want value, nobody provides more than Virginia.
Here’s why UVA is 18/1:
- First, they suffered the worst upset in NCAA Tournament history, becoming the first team to lose to a number 16 seed last year,
- and second, they play a style that goes against the modern day high-flying, shoot threes, and outscore your opponent philosophy.
However, Tony Bennett’s Cavs have finished in the Top 10 of RPI in four of the last five years, won the ACC, the nation’s best conference, by four games last year, and arguably return their three best players.
Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins are significant losses, but UVA was the best team in the country last year, and if it weren’t for the UMBC debacle, they’d be preseason number 1 this season too. To get nearly 20/1 is a very good value.