Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An early look at 2016-17 college basketball national championship odds

The college basketball season doesn't begin until mid-November, but that doesn't mean it's too early to bet on who might take home the national title next March.  The following futures numbers are all from 2016/17 NCAA basketball betting in William Hill.  Here are the favorites, plus teams I like, don't like, or just find generally noteworthy based on their odds:

Duke, 7/2: The Blue Devils lost the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Brandon Ingram, but they're getting the potential No. 1 selection in the 2017 draft, Harry Giles.  Betting on the favorite is rarely a good idea in college hoops, particularly when the odds aren't that rewarding at 7/2.

Kentucky, 9/1: The Wildcats have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country according to ESPN Insider, just ahead of Duke.  Could an all-freshman starting lineup take them to a title?  My guess is no.

Kansas, 12/1: The Jayhawks round out the trio schools you always expect to see as preseason favorites.  Kansas brings back a large portion of the squad that went to the Elite Eight last March.

Oregon, 14/1:  Oregon?  The Ducks have the fourth-best championship odds in the country?  They won the Pac 12 last season and earned a No. 1 seed in the big dance, and this year they'll return four of five starters.

North Carolina, 16/1: It wouldn't be a college basketball season if the Tar Heels weren't among the top betting choices.

Michigan Sate, 18/1: The Spartans make it five of six teams you could put at the top of this list without even looking at the rosters.  Michigan State also pulled in the third-best freshman class after Duke and Kentucky.

Villanova, 18/1: Repeat champs seems to come along once a decade, dating back to UCLA's domination in the 1970s--North Carolina 1982-83, Duke 1991-92 and Florida 2006-07.  Could it be 'Nova's turn now?

UConn, 50/1: I love Connecticut at 50/1.  Nobody expected the 2014 Shabazz Napier or the 2011 Kemba Walker Huskies to bring home the title.

Gonzaga, 66/1: Kelly Olynyk's alma mater, first put on the map by John Stockton, fell to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen last year.  The Bulldogs lost big man Domantas (son of Arvydas) Sabonis to the NBA.

Butler, 125/1: Brad Stevens coached Butler to back-to-back title games in 2010-11, one of the most amazing stories in sports history.  These Bulldogs played Virginia tough in the second round of the 2016 tourney.

Michigan, 125/1: The Wolverines return seniors Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton to a team that nearly upset Notre Dame, who made the Elite Eight.  With odds on par with mid-major schools like Butler, Michigan is not a bad bet at 125/1.

Monmouth, 1000/1: The Hawks, located in West Long Branch New Jersey, won last year's regular-season title in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.  Monmouth's undergraduate enrollment is roughly 4,400, a fun long shot at 1000/1.  On the other hand...

Rutgers, 1000/1: The state university of New Jersey, enrollment 33,000, plays in the Big 10 conference and has the same title odds as Monmouth.  Yikes.  That's only slightly less pathetic than...

Boston College, 2000/1: The Eagles just made major college sports history by going winless in ACC conference play in both basketball and football in the same year.  There are no teams on the board with longer odds than BC.

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