College Basketball Futures Midseason Movers and Shakers

BY MATT DE SARLE

College Basketball Futures Values Available Midseason

Especially this year, the sports books are currently loaded with people (either in person or online) focused on the NFL Playoffs. This was a historic year where the Super Wildcard Weekend was rolled out for the NFL. It resulted in wall-to-wall football. There were two bonus games this season and fans got their fix. As more casinos slowly welcome more betters to the books for football, the college basketball landscape is quickly coming together. “Bubble teams” are digging bigger holes for themselves. Underdogs for a tournament bid are solidifying their unexpected resumes to get into the dance. And that’s where you can find some amazing values right now while few people are paying attention to these lines.

College basketball betting on a budget

I am your average fan. I own a small business. I am not a high roller throwing around large sums of money at these bets. I am a value player. I enjoy “investing” in the futures preseason and rooting for those teams to make the tournament. By that standard, $100 goes a long way for me. At the start of the season, I broke a hundred bucks into a few teams with a rule of winning at least a thousand dollars. If and when those teams make the tournament, I would re-invest again on their odds to reach a final four. This way, I am set up for the best case scenario (4 of my teams reach the final 4). Also, I can wager a small amount on the worst-case-scenario, and recoup some of my money if I am historically bad.

Watch my picks from early November here on YouTube.

3 midseason college basketball values to invest in

At the start of the season, I took a flyer on Colorado, West Virginia, Houston, Seton Hall, Rutgers and North Texas. Colorado remains the one great value that I see. The Buffs have been spotted in January at anywhere from 75-1 to 175-1. Senior point guard McKinley Wright IV is the most underrated player in America. He should absolutely be on the midseason Wooden Watch for the best player, but is not. Watch how Wright closes games. I love a veteran point guard headed into the tournament with a chip on his shoulder.

The second team I am watching as a possible value is Minnesota. I lament not jumping on them early on. Marcus Carr is one of the country’s best closers. His step back jumper is un-guardable. And in an era where the face of many rosters changes from year to year with one-and-dones, the face of the Gophers has changed with stellar transfer players. Utah transfer Both Gach and Drake big man Liam Robbins are really great compliments to an already talented roster. The Gophers will take their lumps in a historically great Big 10 season. However, I look for them to be a very dangerous value hitting the tournament somewhere in the 25-1 to 40-1 territory. That would break down to a 6-1 or 10-1 futures bet to reach the Final 4. That would be attractive. It would be even more interesting if they end up as a 6 seed, a slot that hasn’t reached the Final 4 since the early 1990s with the Fab Five.

Lastly, a team that I love the value for is UCONN. Barring a total collapse, they have already punched their NCAA Basketball Tournament ticket with the legwork done in (their return to) a mediocre Big East. The Huskies came roaring back from an 18 point deficit at Marquette this winter. They then handled business against Butler and Depaul. The USC win from earlier this season gets better-and-better, as the Trojans are putting together a respectable resume themselves. As of mid-January, UCONN’s only loss was by two points to top 10 team Creighton. Unbelievably, they were spotted at a sports book at 150-1 to win the title.

Movers and shakers in the college basketball futures market

Setting my personal picks aside, there are some interesting lines in the college basketball futures arena. According to Vegas Insider, Drake is 25-1 to win it all. That’s some high level respect for the Missouri Valley Conference team. Let’s see if that’s a misprint. At the same number is Kentucky. The Wildcats are probably the most volatile bet you can make, considering their unreal skid to start the season. A recent performance against the Florida Gators had Kentucky looking like, Kentucky again. They’re 25-1 to win it all as of writing this. Richmond was an early season darling because of its veteran starting 5. They sit at 60-1 if you still like that team after they’ve left the top 25. Oklahoma State has the consensus first overall pick in the NBA draft (Cade Cunningham) and is 100-1. That’s never a bad combo. Gonzaga remains the house favorite at around 3-1 with its challengers like Iowa, Baylor, Villanova, Creighton and Wisconsin all flirting with the single digits (ie 7-1 or 9-1).

Thanks for reading! Learn more about this blog here or join the debate on our Twitter page.

Matty D. of collegebasketballeyetest.com joins The Wallace Way on YouTube.

College Basketball Eye Test Midseason Report 2021

BY MATT DE SARLE

In a “normal year,” this would be the time of the season where college basketball teams are just now getting into conference play. However, there have already been some critical in-conference games that have been played by January 5, 2021. San Francisco already had its crack at blemishing Gonzaga’s perfect record, Texas embarrassed KU in Lawrence, and Northwestern has made itself a tournament team with strong play at the start of the Big 10 schedule.

Here are some of my observations from the last month or so of play.

Gonzaga poised to runaway with NCAA Championship

Right now Gonzaga looks like the Dream Team. And I am not exaggerating. Look at the recent games they played against Iowa and Virginia. A 20+ point loss looks respectable from Virginia. (They are like the Croatia in this metaphor). And Iowa was beat wire-to-wire by Gonzaga. Their 11 point loss on paper is different from what we saw on TV. Gonzaga has something they have not had, perhaps ever. Jalen Suggs has the type of swagger of a top 5 NBA pick. He is great. And he knows it. You’d have to think back to Adam Morrison to envision the type of game-changer that Suggs can be. And, Suggs is just a freshman surrounded by all time great Gonzaga players such as Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi. The fact that Gonzaga landed stud transfer Andrew Nembhard is just evidence that the rich get richer. Sure, Baylor could give Gonzaga a great game if/when they play in a NCAA Championship game. I don’t believe that regular season game will be rescheduled, because there is far too much hype to build on for that to be the title game all broadcasts “tease ahead” to. Alas, Gonzaga is laughable at this moment as a 3 1/2 -to- 1 favorite to win the title. Would you take a bet on the USA Dream Team at 3 to 1? Because that’s what we are starting to watch from Gonzaga. Their WAC conference schedule wins may be taken for granted in January and February, but don’t forget what they looked like against Kansas, Iowa, and Virginia when it comes to March.

Midseason departures shake up College Basketball’s Top 10

In my preseason prediction video, I picked West Virginia and Houston among a shortlist of great value bets. Each team has slowly progressed into the top 10. However, each team has also lost a star player here midseason. Houston’s Caleb Mills has stepped away this past week from the team, citing personal reasons. His status for returning is uncertain. Mills was the pre-season pick as player of the year among American Athletic Conference beat writers. However, most recently in the team’s loss against Tulsa, Mills was coming off the bench. The Cougars rebounded well in a win on the road against a feisty SMU squad. However, it will be tough to replace Mills’s ability to create a basket late in games. Houston has no shortage of wing scorers, but Mills is not the type of offensive firepower you want to lose when you have championship aspirations. The hope, of course, is that his personal situation is not too serious and that the team culture can rally in his absence.

West Virginia lost Oscar Tshiebwe and he’s not coming back. The Karl Malone watch list candidate (i.e. best power forward candidate) left the team after a shockingly lower-than-expected productivity in the first half of the season. West Virginia quickly transitioned to a smaller team that put up more three point attempts. As this transition took place in real time, West Virginia lost its first game without Tshiebwe to Oklahoma. On TV there were moments where this game looked like a 3-point-shooting contest. The Mountaineers lost. Afterwards, they played another tough road contest against a soon-to-be-bubble-team: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were leading heavily heading into the 2nd half and throughout the 3rd quarter. Then something clicked. The shots started going in. In March, it will be interesting to see if the perimeter shooters like Sean McNeil, Miles McBride, and Taz Sherman meet the moment. Emmitt Matthews Jr. also had a great game on defense and in transition during this pivotal Oklahoma State win. It will be interesting to see if he becomes an X-Factor for their success.

The Big 10 is the best basketball conference ever

I am not a “hot takes” writer. I don’t like making bold predictions in order to get clicks. But if you watch college basketball, you realize that this Big 10 is the best college basketball conference ever. In a season where conference league play will look more like an intra-team scrimmage (as COVID-19 took away offseason, preseason, and all traditional dress rehearsals), Big 10 teams will hit March Madness as dangerous as ever. Just look at the landscape. Michigan is undefeated and blossoming with young talent and transfers to fill what little gaps remained from 2019-2020. Northwestern is winning big games. Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin came into the season as championship hopefuls and remain that. Rutgers has carried on its success from 2019-2020. The Scarlet Knights have basically the same roster as the one that shocked national onlookers last season. Indiana is playing for a bid. And Michigan State is fighting for its life to stay in the top 25 while (Survivor style) battling its allies in each challenge. The big men remain a mainstay of this conference. Marcus Carr looks like a closer who can win clutch games for a Final 4 team (at Minnesota). I didn’t even mention Purdue, which has two giants who play consecutive sessions at center. The ACC has had some great years with double digit teams making the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. But have we ever seriously had this many legitimate Final 4 contenders from one conference? And the irony is that none of these teams will snag a 1 seed, which is a crime. The conference is canabalizing itself. Joe Lunardi’s bracketology on January 5th shows all four 2 seeds as Big 10 teams!

Joe Lunardi’s bracketology predictions on January 5, 2020 show four Big 10 teams as 2 seeds.
College basketball blogger Matty D. dips into his notebook for a midseason report.

Why Seton Hall Basketball is Still Dangerous

At the time that this blog article is being published, the pirates are pausing basketball play due to COVID-19 concerns. First and foremost, we hope that the student athletes are safe, healthy, as well as coaches and staff.

Sandro Mamukelashvili headlines a returning class for Seton Hall that is way too far overlooked.  If you look back to last season, you’ll remember the game that turned the pirates season around was against then 7th ranked Maryland without Myles Powell and without Sandro, compassionately referred to as “Mamu.” 

Jared Rhoden and Myles Cale stepped up, among a core nucleus of other talented players.  Shavar Reynolds is one of the most fun on-ball defending point guards to watch in college basketball.  They add veteran point guard transfer Bryce Aiken from Harvard and retain 7+ footer Ike Obiagu.  Sophomore Tyrese Samuel from Montreal also showed flashes last year as a somewhat raw but super athletic freshman.  Watch for this nucleus to return with something to prove and a major chip on their shoulder given the low expectations. 

Did you really need an excuse to listen to Gus Johnson call game highlights?

I mean, look at the first preseason top 25 list from the associated press.  You have to scroll down to the very bottom to see that they only got 2 votes!  I guess two beat reporters have some idea of what’s going on and are actually watching the games.  

The Seton Hall Pirates enter the 2020-2021 season as 100-1 underdogs to win a national championship.

Tweet https://twitter.com/CBBEyeTest to make your predictions known before the action.

5 Best 2019-20 NCAA Basketball Value Bets

College Basketball Futures
Best Values 
BY MATT DE SARLE

Like you, I am always curious to know the future odds for teams winning a national championship.  My curiosity spikes right before the season begins.  That’s when I am convinced that past performance dictates future results.  And, as the disclaimers at the end of financial services commercials say, that cause-effect is never guaranteed.

However, the past performance from these 5 teams has me intrigued.  If you’re reading this blog for the first time, welcome to the College Basketball Eye Test.  As always, I am going to discuss characteristics that I see.  A team’s personality dictates its winning potential.  Yes, KenPom.com is outstanding at tracking metrics.  Here, we track warning signs that are visible.  You can see when a team is selfish, timid, lacking leadership, soft.  On the contrary, it’s so enjoyable to watch a team that navigates adversity well, shows aggression, and doesn’t flinch when pushed.  Here are my five times to consider putting a small wager on for a huge payout.

South Florida Bulls Basketball

5.  Odds 750/1 in Preseason

The Bulls return nearly everyone from the 2018-2019 campaign.  Alexis Yetna was on a lot of people’s radar as a possible breakout star.  But he suffered a season ending injury as this season begun.  As devastating of news as that is, the Bulls still have a lot of potential.  And now they have a cause to rally around, and Yetna is still a young player with a bright future.

This team popped on my radar as it ran Memphis out of its gym last season.  The Bulls got off to a 20 point lead by ripping the ball away, running the fast break, and banging threes with no conscience.  Coach Brian Gregory has an impressive resume that includes leading a competitive George Tech team in the ACC and serving as an assistant to Tom Izzo at Michigan State.  This team has the talent, identity, and leadership necessary to still make the tournament without Yetna.  If they make the tournament and you have a 750-to-1 ticket (a $5 bet would pay $3,750) in your pocket, be sure to hedge your bet by taking its opponent as well.  You will likely have a dangerous team heading into the field of 32.

Ohio State Basketball Future Odds

4.   60/1 in the preseason

Headlined by brothers Kaleb and Andre Wesson, this team is very interesting under the leadership of coach Chris Holtmann.  Holtmann had immediate success at Ohio State, after also ushering a transitional era after Brad Stevens departure from Butler.  There is a solid core here with a lot of guards who will compete for playing time and relevance.  Holtmann should be trusted to pull the strings successfully.  In a conference that hasn’t won a championship since 2000, and that program in Michigan State prepped to get all the attention, Ohio State may just slip under the radar until a Sweet 16 berth.

Wichita State Basketball Future Odds

3.  400/1 in the preseason

Give me Gregg Marshall and 400-to-1 odds any year.

Colorado Buffs Basketball futures

2.  Odds 250/1 in the preseason

Tad Boyle is one of college basketball’s most under-appreciated coaches.  Boyle has made 7 of 8 postseasons in his Colorado tenure.  He has also supported the development of future pros, sending rotation-ready guys like Spencer Dinwiddie into the league.  Last year was the first time in Boyle’s tenure that Colorado did not make the CBI, NIT, or NCAA tournament.  However, a roster laced with underclassmen developed, and you could see it during the PAC-12 tournament.  They advanced to the semifinals and gave #1 seed Washington a run for their money.  Tyler Bey is a Shawn Marion in the making.  The Colorado Buffs can run the floor, clog you up, and play any discipline they want.  They’ve been surging in the PAC-12 while their peers like Arizona, UCLA and USC are amidst major changes (even some identity crisis).  This is a conference where it was recently Utah’s turn for a tournament bid, Arizona State’s turn, and now it’s the Buffs turn.  When the Buffs come to eat in the tourney, they’re arriving hungry.

Seton Hall Basketball Futures Odds

  1.  50/1 in the preseason

Seton Hall might be the sexiest of all sexy picks, so I won’t dwell too much.  The bottom line is that Myles Powell may be the nation’s player of the year.  If he does that, it should be in the fashion of a Jimmer Fredette or a Buddy Hield.  He is a score-first guard but can distribute well.  Sophomore wing Jared Rhoden showed flashes last year as a freshmen.  If he and Myles Cale can be the complimentary swingmen they’re capable of, this roster has no shortage of dogs who can defend and rebound down low.  Head coach Kevin Willard was rumored to take on jobs like UCLA and Virginia Tech this offseason, but doubled down on his pirates by declaring himself disinterested in those (perhaps) higher profile jobs.  Willard will serve a two game suspension to start this season for transfer tampering.  All in all, I am shocked that this team is a nebulous 50-1 wager headed into the season.