Betting On The 2017 College Basketball Champion

Betting On The 2017 College Basketball Champion

With the annual college basketball Thanksgiving holiday tournaments in the rearview mirror and all the teams having played at least 6 games, it’s time to look at the top 5 teams in the AP rankings and their odds of cutting down the nets in April.

1. Kentucky: +600

John Calipari and Kentucky are an NBA lottery pick factory year after year. Well they are back at it with dynamic Freshman guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox to go along with 6’10 freshman forward Edrice Adebayo. This new crop of one and done players have wasted no time in making Kentucky a contender. They are combining to average 50 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists so far this season and will only get better. Add in Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe and his 18 points a game and you can see why Calipari is always smiling. The +600 that Vegas has them at to cut down the nets sounds too good to be true right? Well hold off on betting on the Wildcats just yet, there are some danger signs. Even though technically they finished as the number 1 recruiting class, this is the first time Caliparri failed to land a top 5 recruit. The top 5 recruits (from arguably the best high school class ever) all went to schools also on this list. The Wildcats also lack the size advantage inside they’ve had the past 5 years. They do have 3 players who are 6’10 but expect only Adebayo to get serious minutes so rebounding will be tougher than in years past. This team also may have struggles hitting the 3 point shot consistently. Monk can hit from anywhere on the court but can anyone else? The major upside that we see on Kentucky is their defense. Their defense is going to be smothering, led by the best defensive backcourt in the country and maybe the best Kentucky has seen. Their defense was on full display as they choked out Michigan St to the tune of 48 points on November 15th. The Wildcats did not play in a holiday tournament but non conference games against UCLA, North Carolina and Louisville should tell us a lot about these freshman. Kentucky will win and cover in a lot of SEC games this season.

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2. Villanova: +1400

Jay Wright and the defending national champ Wildcats have a very good chance to make another long run in the NCAA tournament this year. Despite losing center Daniel Ochefu and team leader Ryan Arcidiacono, this team still has a ton of talent and depth. Their best player from a year ago Josh Hart is back and leading the team again in scoring and he is joined by championship game starters Kris Jenkins and Jalen Brunson. Villanova will play a little differently this season than last season. They go 8 deep and will be looking to run a lot more compared to last year when they had the dominant big man in Ochefu. For what the Wildcats lack in size they more than make up for with their perimeter shooting. This team is lights out from 3 point range and will bury many teams from long range alone. Brunson, Jenkins and Hart will all shoot over 40% from 3 while three other players can hit them on a consistent basis. Our main worry is when the 3 point shot didn’t fall last year in the Elite 8 vs Kansas they just fed the big man down low and used their defense to pull off the upset. Well now Ochefu’s easy buckets, defense and rebounding all belong to the Wizards, so what will Wright come up with if they go cold in a tournament game this year? 

Careful betting on Villanova this season. The public is going to love their ranking and what will be a great record due to inferior Big East teams but it will lead to inflated numbers from Vegas and not as many covers.

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3. North Carolina: +650

Despite losing Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige from last year’s heart breaking loss to Villanova in the championship Roy Williams and the Tar Heels are again a top 5 team and poised to make another run at it. The Tar Heels go a legitimate 10 deep with no players averaging over 30 minutes, 7 players averaging 20 and 3 more players play over 13 minutes a game. Led by last years starters Joel Berry, Justin Jackson and big man Kennedy Meeks this team has everything… Size, speed, athleticism, deep bench, very good defense, 3 point shooting, free throw shooters etc etc. The Tar Heels went to the Maui Invitational as favorites and didn’t disappoint. They beat Chaminade and Oklahoma St by over 35 points before being up on Wisconsin 60-36 before cruising to a 15 point win. In those 3 straight days they showed their depth and ability to play any style. They ran up and down the court in their first 2 games then Wisconsin wanted to make the Heels play an ugly half court game and the Heels obliged, choking the life out of the Wisconsin offense on one end while working inside for easy layups on the other.

Look for this team to cover the spread in a lot of games this season. Also be wary of taking the OVER in their games. Vegas has so far set their totals high and the UNDER has been hitting on a regular basis.

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4. Kansas: +700

Can you say a college basketball blue blood is rebuilding? From the outside looking in that’s what it looks like in Lawrence. What seemed like Perry Ellis’ 10th years of eligibility finally ran out after last season and Wayne Seldon Jr declared for the draft after his junior season (and wasn’t drafted). Kansas returns starters Frank Mason, Landen Lucas and Devonte’ Graham to an 7-8 deep rotation. They are all very good players but not the reason coach Bill Self and Jayhawk fans have title aspirations. Consensus #1 recruit Josh Jackson chose Kansas over Kentucky, Duke and every other school in the country and he is the real deal. The 6’8 freshman swing man can do it all, Shoot from midrange, drive by you for a monster dunk, play in the paint, rebound, and block shots. His 3 point shot hasn’t fallen like Self has hoped and his free throw shooting is awful but he is still a top 3 pick in next spring’s NBA draft. After an opening night loss to a very good Indiana team in overtime the Jayhawks went to Madison Square Garden 4 nights later and knocked off championship favorite Duke, so we know this team won’t back down from adversity or a challenge. Kansas is going to be one of the best defensive teams in the country so that will take them a long way.

Look for a lot of Kansas games to go UNDER the total this season. They won’t run as much as years past and will be lock teams down.

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5. Duke: +550

Remember the days when Coach K didn’t believe in the one and done players and didn’t want to recruit them? Well those days are LONG gone as Duke is firmly in an arms race with Kentucky to see who can get the most talented one and done players every year. The good news is Krzyzewski snagged 3 freshman future lottery picks in Harry Giles, Marques Bolden and Jayson Tatum. All 3 could be one and done and very rich in a few months. The bad news is, they are all injured and have yet to suit up. Even without these freshman stars Duke is one of the best teams in the country and are number one in offensive efficiency. Their 4 guard lineup of Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard and Frank Jackson along with forward Amile Jefferson in the middle can play with any team in the country. As a team they are shooting over 50% from the field and lighting it up from 3. If you send them to the free throw line that also spells trouble as they are shooting over 75% as a team. When the freshman trio are ready to go this team is going to be balanced, deep and SCARY!

So far the books have given Duke sky high totals and so far Duke has gone UNDER. Keep an eye on that. 

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Wild Card. UCLA: +2000

You heard it here first….. WATCH OUT FOR THE BRUINS!! They won’t get much attention on the west coast but this team is truly a contender. They only go 6-7 deep but the players who do see the court are outstanding. They scored the best freshman point guard in Lonzo Ball who will be a superstar, 1st team all american and a top pick in next years draft. This kid is special. He can create his own shot as well as create shots for others, he could average 20 points 10 assists and 5 rebounds this season if he wants to and is an assassin from 3. Speaking of assassin from 3, Bryce Alford and TJ Leaf, two of the best 3 point shooters in the country will be roaming on the perimeter with Ball. This team can put up 100 points on any given night and will do it against a lot of teams. Their defense is going to make or break their season once the tournament starts so they have all season to figure that out. Watch out for the Bruins, at +2000 they may just cut down the nets.

UCLA is going to go OVER the total in a lot of early games this season. As the season goes on and Vegas pushes their numbers up UNDER’s will start cashing more frequently. 

For Up To Date Odds Or To Bet UCLA Click here

 

RideTheHotHand’s picks to tear down the nets April 3rd in Phoenix 

1. North Carolina

2. Duke

3. UCLA

4. Kentucky

5. Villanova

6. Kansas

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