The college basketball season is finally upon us, even if it seems like every day has been the same since March. Either way, you can still bet on sports. There is no greater rush than cashing a futures bet at the end of a long season, whether it be football, baseball, or hoops. With NCAA basketball about to get underway, there are still plenty of lines with value on them.
Michigan to Win Big Ten (+1100)
The Wolverines lose center Jon Teske and floor general, Zavier Simpson. In college hoops, point guards are the most vital position, even if they do not necessarily stuff the stat sheet. Everyone remembers Aaron Craft on Ohio State for 15 years. Well, overcoming the hole Simpson leaves in this lineup is the largest obstacle for Michigan. Luckily, they have three four-star recruits coming into the fold.
Both Hunter Dickinson and Zeb Jackson could fill the slots of Teske and Simpson, respectively. With their leading scorer in 2019-2020 coming back in Isaiah Livers and Eli Brooks most likely splitting time at point guard, Michigan has the weapons to make a run at the Big Ten title. Yes, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan State all look like top-15 teams this season, but if Michigan figures out its issues early on, they have a fair shot at cashing this.
Stanford to Make Final Four (+1150)
Stanford ranks 11th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com, going into the 2020-21 season. They also added the nation’s sixth-ranked recruit in Ziaire Williams. Their top scorer and rebounder, Oscar da Silva, along with their assist leader Daejon Davis lead the team as seniors. Spencer Jones hit 43.1% of his three-pointers in 2019-20.
This team really only lacks a true center, but going with a Virginia or Texas Tech-like model, their defense should be able to hold their ground. If they can manage their way through the Pac 12 to grab a reasonable seed for the NCAA Tournament, the right path could lead them to a Final Four birth. Getting this over +1000 is a good bet, so take it.
Richmond to Win the National Championship (+3500)
Richmond is not really a classic mid-major. They only finished behind the juggernaut Dayton Flyers last season in the Atlantic 10. This team went 24-7 last season and did not lose any vital contributors. They add Connor Crabtree from Tulane for some guard depth, but the story lies in all of their leading scorers returning.
Jacob Gilyard is the anchor to this offense, leading the team with 5.7 assists per game last season, but Blake Francis, Nick Sherod, and Grant Golden are the main scorers. Getting them over 30/1 is a gift, so this is a strong bet. If they win the A-10, there is a good chance of a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. Keep an eye on the Spiders if you have not already.
West Virginia to Win the National Championship (+2500)
The Mountaineers were 21-10 last year, but the story is always the defensive efficiency with their intensity-riddled full-court press. They rank seventh in that category, according to KenPom.com, and even rank 13th in offensive efficiency. This is where the change in tide comes. Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver are monsters in the post and Jordan McCabe and Miles McBride will anchor the backcourt.
Now, three-point shooting is definitely the largest hurdle for West Virginia, but Bob Huggins and company have dealt with similar situations before. Gaining four-star forward Isaiah Cottrell is just an added bonus. If Emmitt Matthews, Jr. and Miles McBride can handle the long-distance scoring opportunities from the wing positions, this team could crack the top five by the end of the year. If you like college hoops and do not tune into Mountaineer basketball, you are missing out on an action-filled adventure. Oh, and be sure to bet them to win the title.
College basketball starts on Wednesday, November 25th, so it is a bit later than usual because of COVID-19. More than likely, people will be at home, so why not bet on some games and bask in the chaos of college hoops? COVID-19 robbed everyone of March Madness last season, so do not take this season for granted!