Our daily series on college basketball betting continues. See older posts here…Unless you’re a Big 10 junkie (guilty), few games are very intriguing tonight. Par for the Thursday night course, really. So now is as good a time as any to look forward to the national championship game.
Just about every team has played 25 games this season, so there’s a ton of significant data study. At the same time, with about five regular season games, conference tournaments, and, of course, March Madness separating us from the title game, a lot can change.
The current favourites (via Sportsbook.com):
- Duke (4/1)
- Texas (4/1)
- Ohio St. (4/1)
- Kansas (5/1)
- Pittsburgh (10/1)
- Notre Dame (15/1)
- Georgetown (18/1)
- Kentucky (20/1)
Of those Kentucky, Texas, Notre Dame, and Duke aren’t great bets.
- Kentucky has absolutely no experience (313th in the nation) and even their upperclassmen spent last year glued to the pine behind Kentucky’s historic freshman class.
- Texas’ coach Rick Barnes is an excellent recruiter whose teams consistently underperform in the postseason, therefore we’ll pick against him until he proves he can coach in March.
- Notre Dame doesn’t have enough athleticism, and some unsuspecting lower-ranked team can easily knock the Irish out in the tournament – so could just about any team in the Big 12.
- Duke’s record, 24-2, is inflated by a cupcake schedule (67th strongest schedule in the country, and just two games against top-25 RPI teams) and we think they’ll miss Jon Scheyer come the postseason.
The others all look like solid bets given the odds, although our favourite is Pittsburgh. The Sports Page has already devoted some time to pushing their case for a No. 1 ranking, and obviously like the 10/1 odds.
As for the longshots, here are some intriguing ones:
- Purdue (30/1) – Experienced starters, good depth, a matchup nightmare in JuJuan Johnson, and a guard with the ability to takeover games in E’Twuan Moore. The Boilermakers are our next favourite bet.
- Tennessee (40/1) – Coach Bruce Pearl has the Volunteers playing the toughest schedule in college hoops. They’re battle-tested, and overcame adversity going 5-3 during Pearl’s ban.
- Kansas St. (75/1) – The preseason darling has struggled, but star Jacob Pullen has adopted a killer instinct and the Wildcats can be dangerous come tournament time.
- Michigan St. (100/1) – If the Spartans can sneak their way into the tournament – the expanded 37-team field will help – they’ll be dangerous. Many have lost money wagering against Tom Izzo coached teams in the country.
- St. John’s (100/1) – Only Notre Dame, Pitt, and Florida have fared better against RPI top-25 teams than St. John’s. The Storm are also the third-most experienced team in the country, and are accustomed to playing outside their local gym and under the bright lights, as they have all season at MSG.
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