The college basketball season is finally starting to heat up, with only two major-conference schools (Ohio State and Auburn) still being undefeated this season. This is one of the most open years I can remember in the college basketball world, with very few future top 10 picks on elite rosters. We don’t see a team like Kentucky or Duke, who in recent years have been full of top five picks.
These futures are all over the place depending on where you look, so shop around before you place a bet if you plan on doing so soon. I expect these odds to be pretty fluid throughout the season without a clear No. 1, and I don’t think there will be a favorite heading into the NCAA Tournament, unlike most years.
Top of the Board
Before losing on Tuesday night, the Louisville Cardinals were at the top in most spots around 6-1. We have not gotten a lot of odds since Tuesday night’s results, but we can assume that they will still be somewhere between 6 and 8 to 1 to win it all along with the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks are the most likely to be the big-time favorite when the tourney rolls around, in my opinion, but I don’t think that it’s anywhere close to a certainty that that will be the case. Kansas is currently ranked second in the AP poll with a loss, which shows how much the general public currently respects them.
The most interesting team at the top of the board is Ohio State, which was one of my favorite teams to buy low before the season started. The Buckeyes are way ahead of schedule, and they have absolutely destroyed everyone they have played outside of their first game of the season vs. Cincinnati, where both teams looked quite rusty.
I love the overall construction of the team, with a veteran but new point guard along with a top-30 recruit. The Buckeyes also have two shooters on the floor at all times and a legitimate Big Ten and National Player of the Year candidate in Kaleb Wesson on the interior. This team is a perfect mix of a team with vets and young talent, and that is why I loved them at +3000 before the season began.
I understand taking the Buckeyes at 10-1 because their sheer dominance has been pretty undeniable with three 20-point wins against KenPom top 50 teams. Outside of the Buckeyes this season, there are only three other 20-point wins over KenPom top 50 teams.
Maybe this team never slows down, and this ends up being the best number you get all season, so I don’t mind jumping on the Buckeyes if you don’t think this is the end of the climb. They could very well jump to No. 1 before playing Kentucky in 10 days, and a win there would certainly cause a spike in the odds.
I love attacking underperforming talent early in the season, and there are two teams that stick out to me here. I think that Kentucky is still relatively undervalued at 15-1, but I will likely stay away until they face the Buckeyes on Dec. 21. If the Wildcats fall there, the odds will drop a bit, and that is when I want to pounce.
The other team is the 30-1 Memphis Tigers. Memphis is incredibly young and without one of the best players in college basketball for a little while, but it still only has one loss on the season. This is the best recruiting class in the country, and if any team is going to scare people outside of the major schools this year, it will be Memphis because it can match up with any team in the country athletically.